You’ve made Sugar Land your home for the last 20 years. You got married here, you started a family here and you work here. The city has treated you well, and you couldn’t ask for more.
But then one day, a new opportunity comes knocking on your door. Your boss offers you a sizeable promotion-which would move your job to the Houston office. If you take it, you could be spending an extra 90 minutes behind the wheel each day.
While weighing the pros and cons of whether to accept the offer, you probably think about how much earlier you’d have to wake up for work and how much later you’d get home. You might evaluate the added transportation costs. You may wonder whether the added income is worth the trade-off in free time. One thing you may not consider, however, is how this decision could affect your marriage.
Researchers recently conducted a study evaluating the link between commute time and marital success. It found that with increased commute time, marriages tend to become less viable.
The study’s findings revealed that increased commute time has a discernable impact on personal happiness. Commuters who travel at least one hour each way needed to earn an average of 40 percent more in order to maintain the same level of happiness as a similar job without the commute.
When your daily drive to and from work makes you irritable, stressed and less satisfied with your life overall, you’re not bringing the best version of yourself home each evening. This can naturally lead to marital turmoil. The study found that commuters who travel at least 45 minutes in each direction are 40 percent more likely to separate from their spouses.
Tips to keep your marriage strong
If you don’t have the luxury of turning down a job because of its long commute, there are strategies you can employ to make your time in the car more enjoyable. Use your alone time as an opportunity to listen to your favorite music-maybe a band that your spouse or kids can’t abide. You can also keep yourself entertained with an interesting podcast or audiobook.
In addition, if public transportation is an option for getting to work, this could offer you real emotional benefits. You can sit back and relax on your ride to work-allowing you to avoid the stress of the road and instead read a newspaper or take a nap.
Of course, a long commute doesn’t automatically mean the end of your marriage. However, it can put added strain on the relationship. Having a smart strategy to optimize your commute time and increase your own happiness can positively serve everyone in your family.