Married couples tend to be happier than singletons, but the reason for this is hard to pinpoint. Sure, studies have tried to figure out why marriage causes happiness, suggesting that everything from a decreased age gap to an expensive wedding can affect whether or not your union will be a happy one, but a recent report has gotten a bit simpler with its analysis of wedded bliss. It seems all you need to do to ensure a lifetime of happiness is marry your best friend. Unfortunately, like all things in life, this is easier said than done.

Wedded Bliss

According to a recent report, it’s not that happy people get married, but rather that marriage makes people happy. The report says that although single people may seem to be having all the fun when times are good, when times are stressful, the companionship of a spouse (whom you actually like) is critical to an individual’s happiness.

“Using new data from the United Kingdom's Annual Population Survey, we find that the married have a less deep U-shape in life satisfaction across age groups than do the unmarried, indicating that marriage may help ease the causes of the mid-life dip in life satisfaction and that the benefits of marriage are unlikely to be short-lived,” the report read, citing friendship as the reason.

Others agree with this conclusion, with Shawn Grover, one of the researchers who worked on the report, stating, “Marriage may be most important when there is that stress in life and when things are going wrong,” The New York Times reported. It seems that being married to a stable and comforting companion makes hard times seem less stressful.

Unfortunately, statistics cite that those who are perhaps in most need of a stable marriage are the least likely to have one. Highly educated top earners are more likely to have a stable marriage than those who may struggle financially.

But What About The 50 Percent Divorce Rate?

I’m sure everyone can name a marriage that's gone terribly wrong, and it’s close to impossible to meet someone nowadays who doesn’t know a couple who has gotten divorced. Despite the bad rep that marriage has, divorce rates are actually lower today than they’ve been in the past 40 years. As reported by the New York Times, if divorce rates continue at the current pace, nearly two-thirds of marriages will never end in divorce. That's a far cry from the 50 percent of divorce rates we're accustomed to hearing about. There are many reasons for the declining rate in divorces, including more gender equality and better birth-control, but the underlying reason that couples are staying together for the long run seems to be that they're, well, happy. Or at least, happy enough.

A lot of people may say their spouse is their best friend, but how many of these are actually telling the truth? According to the Times article, women are less likely to regard their spouse as their best friend. However, women who are lucky enough to have married their BFF are found to benefit more than men who do the same.

The choice of whether to marry or not is a personal one. However, according to this most recent collection of data, fear of being unhappy shouldn’t be holding you back from saying “I do.”