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article imageMarry your best friend for the happiest marriage, new study says

By Sravanth Verma     Jan 21, 2015 in Lifestyle
According to new research, couples who were also best friends experienced the most happiness in life, while married people were in general happier than unmarried ones.
Researchers from the National Bureau of Economic Research in Canada, used data taken from the United Kingdom's Annual Population Survey, the British Household Panel Survey and the Gallup World Poll, and found that marriage was especially important during middle age, when a dip in happiness can be offset by having a long-term, stable relationship.
"There's a lot of stress going on in middle age," said Shawn Grover, co-author of the study and a researcher at the Department of Finance, Canada. "Having someone to talk that out with and having someone to support you in those difficult times can help explain why it's a bit harder for people without a partner."
Couples tended to experience the first two years of marriage as the happiest, though the happiness levels still stayed above those of single individuals even after this "honeymoon" phase.
Researchers also found that couples who saw each other as best friends tended to experience well-being the most. According to the study, they experienced twice as much well-being as other couples.
However, Dr. Bella DePaulo, author of the book Singled Out, points to the fact that many such studies do not account for those who get divorced because they hated their marriage. "Plus, the people who got married chose to marry," DePaulo said. "For people like me who are single at heart, getting married may not have the same implications as it does for the kinds of people who want to marry and choose to do so."
Significantly, the current study also controlled for the possibility that those were happy after tying the knot would have been just s happy even if they were single. It's sample of married people also included those who were divorced, widowed and separated.
Long-term partners in live-in relationships were also found to be on average, three-quarters as happy as married couples. "We do think it's more about that social relationship than the legal status," Grover said. "Marriage, in a sense, is a super friendship."
“What immediately intrigued me about the results was to rethink marriage as a whole,” said Mr. Helliwell, co-author of the study. “Maybe what is really important is friendship, and to never forget that in the push and pull of daily life.”
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