IF YOU’RE TERRIFIED of becoming the bickering, disgruntled couple you see barely talking to one another in restaurant booths and whisper-yelling their grievances in department stores, you’re in luck. Researchers have delved into all the small and large ways happy, long-term couples stay happy through the years.
In fact, the lifestyle tweaks on the following slides are, for the most part, things we think you’ll actually enjoy making.
1. Booze together
Couples who drink together are less irritated by one another and choose to stay together, according to research published in The Journals of Gerontology. Charming, right? In the study, researchers surveyed 2,767 older married couples around the age of 50. Participants were asked how often they drink in a week, and how much they drink each time they crack open a cold one or pop a bottle. Turns out the quantity and frequency didn’t really matter. So long as couples are drinking together—even as little as one drink a year!—were more apt to say they had great marital quality. We’ll cheers to that.
2. Say thank you—often
Want to feel less stressed and more appreciated in your relationship? Then heed to all the wise men and women in the world who know when to say “thank you.” That simple gesture said regularly (and sincerely!) can keep you and your lady happy in the long run, according to research from the University of Georgia. In fact, how often you express gratitude to each other can even determine how long you’ll stay together.
In the study, researchers surveyed 468 married men and women and found spouses who felt treasured were more respectful toward one and better able to move past relationship difficulties—especially amid trying times (read: money issues). The reason? It helped them avoid feelings of anger, unhappiness, and withdrawal that usually culminate in a breakup.
3. Weekly sex
Sex isn’t everything. But it can boost your happiness (and keep you healthy), according to research from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology—especially if you do it once a week.
Researchers surveyed more than 30,000 Americans over the span of 40 years. Though researchers are unsure whether having sex up to once a week makes couples happier, or if being in a happy relationship causes people to have more frequent sex, the takeaway is the same: have at it. One thing to keep in mind—you’re trying to keep that intimate connection with your partner, not laying on the peer pressure every other night.
And note that if you’re single, you might be satisfied by a hook-up but there’s no benefit when it comes to contentment within yourself and between you and your partner. It might have something to do with the context in which sex occurs and how comfortable you are with one another.