The happiest couples — married or not — often times share one key characteristic! Find out what that one characteristic is….

The bulk of Sociological research on this topic actually suggests that it isn’t marriage that’s the key to lasting happiness, but something far more basic. In a recent study of thousands of couples on marriage and happiness, a University economist and the co-author of the UN World Happiness Report, found evidence suggesting that the most important factor for a lasting, happy relationship was whether or not you see your romantic partner as your closest friend.

It all comes down to finding a romantic partner who also happens to be the person you’d call your best friend.

The study showed that after accounting for couples’ age, gender, income, and health conditions, they found that couples who were best friends and lived together were just as happy as couples who were best friends and married.

In other words, marriage didn’t appear to matter much at all.

Researchers also found that couples who lived together but were not married had higher self-esteem and were happier overall than their married counterparts.

Initially,researchers had concluded that marriage made people happier. But taking a closer look at the facts, the opposite seemed to be the case.

What is really important [in a relationship] is friendship, and to never forget that in the hustle and bustle of our every day life.