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I’m about as evangelical as you’ll get when it comes to the virtues of marriage. Of course, that comes with a certain bias: I am a dating coach who has used my own advice and is now just about the happiest married guy on the planet. Of course I’m going to wish for everybody to drink my Kool-Aid, because it’s so darned tasty.

I can cite statistics that remind you that married people are the happiest people in the world, and those statistics are true. It doesn’t mean, however, that marriage is what caused their happiness.

This Business Insider article digs deeper.

Sure, you may have heard that married people report being happier overall over their lifetimes  than single folks, or that people tend to say they’re more “satisfied” with life just after their weddings.

A recent bright spot in the research suggests that it isn’t marriage that’s the key to happiness, but the quality of the relationship itself.

But is it actually the act of marriage that’s causing those benefits?

Probably not.

Which makes sense. I recall reading somewhere that 2/3’s of marriages aren’t happy marriages. So if that’s the case, then clearly, putting a ring on one’s finger doesn’t magically sprinkle fairy dust on your life. There’s more to it – and it’s quite simple:

A recent bright spot in the research suggests that it isn’t marriage that’s the key to happiness, but the quality of the relationship itself.

A 2014 working paper from the National Bureau of Economics Research found that if the person you call your partner (or significant other, or whatever) is also the person you see as your best friend, you don’t actually need to be married to reap the benefits of a long-term relationship. And it’s this factor, rather than getting married (or not) that appears to matter the most for happiness.

Amen. I’ve been called “conservative” on here (Ha ha ha!!) simply because I am an advocate for marriage. But the truth is, I don’t give a shit if you’re married. I just want you to be happy and feel secure in a relationship with your best friend.

Your thoughts – on marriage, living together, best friends, and the like – are greatly appreciated below.