Good news for people who are in love with their best friend.
Two researchers at the University of British Columbia's Vancouver School of Economics conducted a study to see if married couples have a higher level of life satisfaction than unmarried couples. Their study indicated that there was even a factor that put some married couples ahead of others: friendship.
The findings, also published in the National Bureau of Economic Research, concluded that not only do married people have higher life satisfaction than unmarried people, but married couples who consider their partner to be their best friend have an even greater life satisfaction over the years than couples who don't consider themselves best friends.
Researchers Shawn Grover and John F. Helliwell collected data from the United Kingdom's Annual Population Survey from May 2011 to April 2013, measuring peoples' life satisfaction and overall well-being.
Their numbers showed that married best friends have a higher level of life satisfaction than those who are married and don't consider their partners to be their best friends — even when controlling age, gender, income and health.
"Those whose spouse or partner also considered their best friend get almost twice as much additional life satisfaction from marriage or cohabition as others do."
Grover and Helliwell suggested two reasons for this outcome: The first is that because of divorce, people see marriage as something that's adaptable, whereas people view friendships as something concrete. The second comes from the idea that people become friends because they share core values, and people who are both in love and share the same values have an even stronger bond.
These results were then turned into graphs which showed unmarried couples living together who considered themselves best friends as the next happiest group, followed by married couples who don't consider themselves to be best friends and finally single people as having the lowest level of life satisfaction.
Though women were slightly more satisfied living as married best friends than as unmarried best friends, both genders benefit from a marriage that's also a friendship.
Gives a whole new meaning to the term "lovers and friends," doesn't it?