Having a happy life partner may extend your life, a study published in the journal Psychological Science, which examined data on US couples aged over 50, claims. The findings indicated that people who had a happy partner at the beginning of the study were expected to not die over the next eight years compared with those that had less happy partners, despite household income or baseline health.

The results show a spouse’s life satisfaction had more effect on a participant’s mortality than their own life satisfaction.

[Evicted from their house, this couple walked 630 miles — and found home]

This is because life satisfaction has links with behaviours that affect health, such as diet and exercise. People who have a happy, active spouse, for instance, are likely to have an active lifestyle and the opposite is also expected to be true, says Olga Stavrova, a researcher at Tilburg University, Netherlands.