New York, NY-Some marriages just aren’t meant to last, it’s a sad fact. Researchers have spent a great deal of time and energy trying to figure out why close to half of all marriages fail, and the latest research emerging from Norway focuses on the drinking habits of a married couple and the effects it has on the marriage.

Norwegian researchers found after evaluation 20,000 couples that heavy drinking or incompatible drinking impacted a couple’s decision to split. The findings were released online in journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research What was most intriguing about their finding was that marriages where the woman is the heavy drinker had the highest rate of divorce at 26.8 percent, according to the Huffington Post.

This finding was of great interest to the Institute’s director Ellinor F. Major, “The risk of divorce is estimated to be tripled when the husband’s level of drinking is low and the wife’s drinking was heavy, compared with couples who drink lightly.”

One researcher, Fartein Ask Torvik, had some idea of why this may be true. First of all heavy drinking has a tendency to be more impaired by drinking. And,  “A wife’s heavy drinking probably also interferes more with general family life — that is, the caring role of the mother, upbringing of children, etc.,” Torvi added. “Perhaps the husband is more apt to the leave the spouse than is the wife when major problems occur.”

On the other hand, couples who drank at roughly the same rate had the best chance of having a long- lasting marriage, especially those who were light drinkers. Researchers found that only 5.8 percent of marriages with light drinkers ended in divorce.

Marriages where both partners drank together had a higher rate, 17.2 percent, than light drinkers.

Researchers also discovered that marriages where the man is the heavy drinker also had more longevity, apparently women are more forgiving. These marriages had a 13.1 percent rate of failure.

“Essentially, the more people drink, the higher the risk of divorce,” Torvik said, “In addition, the risk of divorce is lower if the spouses drink approximately the same amount of alcohol. This is not only true for those who drink excessively—there is also a reduced risk of divorce if the couple abstains from alcohol entirely.”

Alcoholism is a prevalent issue among Western cultures and obviously puts a strain on all types of relationships. And the breakup of a marriage can drive people to drink. A study from August of last year showed that men are more likely to turn to heavy or binge drinking. The researchers in that study concluded that marriage tempered a man’s drinking while single men had less control over their behaviors.

But that study found that divorced women drank less than their single counterparts.

There are many factors that contribute to a divorce but this study showed that drinking had a great influence on our relationship, probably more than people realize.