Does Your Spouse Criticize Your Drinking?
Interesting results from a study that followed 634 couples through the first nine years of their marriage: a big difference in how much they drink greatly increased their chances of divorce. About half of the couples with one heavy drinker and one who is not a heavy drinker divorced within nine years of their wedding day. Those who were more alike in their drinking had around a 30% divorce rate, whether they both drank heavily or not.
The definition of heavy drinker was a bit different than used in other research. They counted anyone who drank to intoxication or drank six or more drinks at a time as a heavy drinker. This is usually referred to as binge drinking.
According to the CDC, 90% of those who drink excessively binge drink, and one in six American adults binge drinks about four times a month. Binge drinking is more common among those with household incomes greater than $75,000 a year.
The takeaway here: even though it's common and you probably know many who binge drink, too, if you are a binge drinker and your spouse is not, your marriage is under a lot more stress than others. Your chances of failure in your first nine years increase by two-thirds.
(By the way, because of the greatly increased risk of alcohol dependence and other health issues, I don't suggest you encourage your spouse to join you in binge drinking as the solution.)
The study was done by the Kenneth Leonard, PhD, director of the University at Buffalo Research Institute on Addictions, with Gregory Homish, PhD, and Philip Smith, PhD, of the university's Department of Community Health and Health Behavior. They controlled for other contributors to divorce likelihood, including depression and drug use. The study will be published in the December issue of Psychology of Addictive Behaviors.