Getting together with your best friend is the secret to relationship happiness. This is according to a study conducted by researchers from the Vancouver School of Economics based in Canada.
The British Household Panel Survey (in which 30,000 people were studied between 1991 and 2009), and the United Kingdom’s Annual Population 2011 to 2013 Survey (which involved more than 328,000 people) provided the data.
From the findings, those who were best friends with their partners were found to have the largest well-being benefits from marriage and cohabitation.
Well-being benefits of friendship
The study discovered that the well-being benefits of marriage are, on average, about twice as high for those whose spouses are also their best friends. “Even years later, married best friends are still more satisfied,” said the study’s co-author John Helliwell of the Vancouver School of Economics. “The well-being benefits of marriage are much greater for those who also regard their spouse as their best friend. These benefits are on average about twice as large for people whose spouse is also their best friend.” The study further found out that while the partner’s well-being benefits are greatest immediately after marriage, the benefits of marriage will tend to persist in the long-term.
Also, lovers who are cohabiting with their best friends were found to enjoy nearly all the well-being benefits that married best-friend couples enjoyed. “Friendship explained why people who are unmarried but living as a couple enjoy most of the well-being benefits of marriage, especially if their partner is also their best friend,” the study reported. Additionally, the happiness that is associated with marriage was found to flow largely through social channels. The researchers observed that this is one of the reasons why the benefits of marriage do not change as time goes, and why one’s partner can often be referred to as a super best-friend.
Marriage was quoted as most important during the middle-middle age when people of every marital status experience a dip in personal well-being. “Marriage may help ease the causes of a mid-life crisis, and the benefits of marriage are unlikely to be short-lived,” said Helliwell. This study was published in the Journal of Happiness Studies.