If you need an excuse to stop off at the pub on your way home tonight, rest assured you might have science on your side.

A recent study found that older, married couples who have the same drinking habits tend to be happier than when only one partner drinks.

The researchers analysed responses from almost 5,000 married people over the age of 50, after asking them about their drinking habits and the quality of their marriage – which, on average, was 33 years’ old.

They found that the amount a couple drank was less relevant to their relationship satisfaction than whether their drinking habits were similar to each other’s. And the longer a couple had been together, the more important drinking compatibility was.

(Related: Men Who Date Younger Women Live Longer)

We should also state, if only for fairness, that researchers found the same was true for abstinence. Couples who refused the booze together were just as happy as those who drank regularly.

In the study, published in the Journals of Gerontology B: Psychological Sciences, the researchers suggest this could be because couples who do more activities together have a more equal marriage.

In more than half of the couples, both partners drank. Husbands were more likely to drink than their wives, but wives had more of a drinking problem if only one spouse drank.

Next date night: sorted.