Bad Influence? Marriage Decreases Drinking In Men — And Increases Alcohol Consumption In Women

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woman alcoholNew research is out about alcohol consumption for married couples and it has some interesting findings. Mostly, that men quit drinking as much once they settle down and tie the knot, while the reverse happens for women. While the fact that married men drink much less than their single or divorced peers wasn’t particularly surprising, researchers were a little shocked that women increased their alcohol consumption after saying, “I do.”

As The Telegraph reports,

The reason, the researchers conclude, is that while women can help keep their husbands’ drinking habits under control, men are simply a bad influence on their wives.

I kind of wish that I was writing this piece on a Sunday. Why? Because on a Sunday in the fall, there’s a very good chance that my husband and I would be sitting around with a nice pale ale and a football game. Not that alcohol consumption is a joking matter, but I feel like it would give me better perspective. Alas, it’s Saturday and the beer is waiting patiently in the fridge for tomorrow.

Looking at this research and how it mirrors my own life is interesting. I wouldn’t say so much that the amount of alcohol I actually consume has changed a whole lot since marriage, aside from trying to get pregnant which comes with its ow fun rules. It’s really just the occasions and circumstances under which I drink that change.

As a single woman, I would get together with friends, go out to bars or parties, and there would often be alcohol involved. On those occasions, I was more likely to drink a handful of drinks. But it was always seen as a celebration or a special event. As a single woman, I very rarely kept alcohol in the house.

Now that I’m married, I do think my pattern of drinking has changed. My husband and I don’t spend nearly the amount of time going out and hitting the town. We don’t have the hectic social life that we once did. Or I suppose, we’re just as busy, but the events have changed. We’re more likely to keep alcohol in the house and have a beer or a glass of wine when we’re relaxing. For us, that’s Sunday afternoons.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that your lifestyle often changes when you get married. And alcohol consumption is easily something that changes with lifestyle. It seems odd to say, “Married women drink more,” as if that is some type of indictment against marriage. I don’t think it means that marriage is creating a lot of alcohol problems. It seems insincere to say that “Husbands are a bad influence on their wives,” as if enjoying a glass of wine with your husband is a huge problem.

For married couples, the lifestyle is different. In my house, that does mean that I often have a beer on Sundays. I probably wouldn’t have done so when I was single. Is my husband a bad influence? I don’t think so.

(Photo: Everett Collection/Shutterstock)