It seems it’s not enough in this world to just be happy with Netflix, routinely clean sheets and debatably handsy yoga teachers.
Apparently, there is a greater threshold for happiness only attainable for people who own shared silverware (that they didn’t pay for themselves) and bad memories of a party in Vegas (that the groom certainly had to pay for).
According to researchers John F. Helliwell and Shawn Grover, married people are happier than you and it’s probably because they are together and you are still single.
Using the Gallup World Poll and other U.K. studies, Helliwell and Grover determined there is a causal relationship between marriage and well-being.
Specifically, after pre-marital levels of happiness are controlled for, those who tie the knot are more satisfied with their lives than the solo-dolos out there.
Hmm, perhaps your nagging Grandma is onto something…
You know those couples who claim that they are “each other’s armor” during really vulnerable times like third-wheel dinners? Sometimes we want to punch those people, but it turns out they are actually speaking the truth.
The researchers found that getting hitched has a protective effect during a couple’s 40s and 50s when life satisfaction tends to decrease (don’t worry, it picks up again), aka the mid-life crisis.
While you’re busy hitting the local Y singles benefit and calling yourself “A Samantha,” married people help ease each other’s dip in happiness. This also means that the benefits of marriage extend throughout our lives.
Before you go thinking, Woop-dee-f*cking-doo, married people win at life again, exactly how Disney planned it, beware there is a caveat: the two people not only have to be married, but they also have to be friends (which doesn’t seem easy after banging the same person for 20 years).
Meaning, if you’re 45 and considering “Gone Girl-ing” your husband, you probably aren’t any happier than your single pals.
In the same study, the happiest of married couples were found to be people who married their best friends.
Furthermore, the researchers concluded that friendship between the spouses helps explain this causal relationships between nuptials and well-being.
Remember when people teased you that you should marry your best friend? Yeah, you should probably make that call now. And apologize for telling everyone to go f*ck themselves. Turns out, they had your best interests at heart.
Using the British Household Panel Survey, Helliwell and Grover also discovered that, for spouses who claim that their partners are their best friends, the well-being effects of marriage are doubled, even when the researchers controlled for factors like age, gender, income, health and premarital life satisfaction.
It just goes to show, you should have hooked up with them back in college when you had the chance.
Don’t FOMO too soon, there’s hope for your single self yet. The researchers additionally found that this increase in happiness also occurs for those who are living together but not married.
You don’t need a piece of paper or a fancy diamond ring to live happily ever after; you need love in your heart and true companionship. At the end of the day, sex is easy to fake, but friendship isn’t.
What’s more? You shouldn’t go searching for your soulmate. Despite what 1,000 Thought Catalog posts tell you, recent research from Spike W.S. Lee and Norbert Schwarz discovered that framing your relationship in terms of “finding a soulmate” or someone who is “destined” for you is actually really detrimental to your couple satisfaction.
When things get rocky and life’s inevitable obstacles occur, you set yourself up for disappointment as “reality falls short of the fantasy.” Any conflict that arises doesn’t fit the “destiny” mold and subsequently makes you question if this person is really your “soulmate.”
Instead, it’s more beneficial to view your lover as a “partner on your journey,” which sets the more realistic expectation that there will be ups and downs and change in your life together.
When conflict arises, you’re better at accepting this is part of relationships and growing together.
You won’t be so quick to call it quits when you quibble over “Real Housewives” versus "Sports Center" if you view your partner as a person, not a fateful cosmic force.
In the end, regardless if you call yourselves soulmates, lovers, partners, co-captains, spouses, hubbies, BAE, wifeys or The One, what really counts and matters most is that you two are best friends -- and will remain that way forever.