Over the years, researchers have found more than a few health benefits associated with a supportive marriage, from a longer life to a lower risk of heart attacks. When it comes to weight, however, married couples have appeared to be at a disadvantage. Some research has suggested that getting married may make people gain weight, and one study of newlyweds even found a connection between marital satisfaction and packing on the pounds.
A new study, however, has good news for the happily coupled. It found that the better and more supportive a person’s marriage, the less likely he or she is to gain weight and become obese in middle age. The findings were published recently in the journal Health Psychology.
“This study suggests a supportive marital relationship is associated with healthier body weight in midlife,” said study co-author Ying Chen, a postdoctoral fellow in the department of epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, in an email to TIME. “It adds to the evidence that a positive social relationship is a health asset.”