Psychologists have long known that generally people are happier and more satisfied when they’re married, and according to two international studies this is especially true during times of stress. And it’s even truer for those couples who feel that they’re each other’s best friend. In recent decades, men and women are less locked into the old roles of men as provider and woman as homemaker. Now there’s much greater equality and shared responsibilities for work and home, and spouses are more companions and confidants than in the past. Especially during midlife, when happiness levels drop due to financial and child-rearing stresses, having a marital friendships makes the satisfaction drop off much less. The key is to find and create supportive, long term relationships, though as we all know, that’s easier said than done.

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