A cold beer or a glass of wine can help with unwinding after a long and stressful week. And while we have all heard about sharing common interests, having a mutual respect for one another, and so much more are the keys to a successful and fulfilling relationship, but have you ever thought about sharing a drink together as being one of the keys?

Studies, including a recent one, as published in the Journals of Gerontology, point to findings that couple who drink together are generally happier together. The study involved older participants, all who have been married for over 33 on average, with heavy drinkers being deliberately left out of the research.

The research questions centered on the quality of marriage and the correlation between drinking and the quality of marriage.

The findings show that couples that drink together are happier compared to couples where only one partner drinks. These findings were found to be especially true for couples who have similar or near-similar drinking habits. These couples look at drinking as a bonding activity, much like talking long walks together along sandy beaches or attending a class together for a new hobby.

According to the research, how much drinking is involved is just as important. The men generally drank more than their wives, and a general sense of dissatisfaction was recorded in marriages where the wife drank more. It’s also important to note that partners tend to influence and mirror each other’s’ drinking habits when they spend a lot of time together. That is to say that if you drink a lot more than your partner, your partner may be able to match your bottle count over, say, a weekend spent indoors with plenty of booze to go around, or even after retirement.

As with everything else, moderation is key. Drink too much, and you are faced with a host of other problems, especially if either or both of you are the type who get loud and unruly when buzzed. Couples who drink responsibly together look at this time as a time to have fun together, bond and enjoy each other’s company.

A word of caution from the study’s author is that you shouldn’t take the research findings to mean that you should start drinking more or change your drinking habits in hopes of an improved relationship. According to the study, couples where both partners were nondrinkers, are just as happy and satisfied in their relationship as those who drink together. The how, where and when you drink together matters the most. Let’s be honest, getting hammered every night will do more damage than good for your relationship. That cannot compare with breaking out that bottle of wine you got as an anniversary gift and sharing with your partner on a relaxed evening at home, curled up on the couch together as you take a nostalgic walk down memory lane.

Drinking, or not drinking affects the quality of a relationship. According to the research, it all depends on whether both partners are on the same boat.