You’ve had the same job for the last decade. You’ve received slight promotions over the years, but there’s been no real opportunity for growth. However, you’ve just been offered a new position at a company 30 miles away. The pay is higher than at your current job, but the commute is significantly worse. You’re torn about what to do.
While the prospect of sitting in traffic doesn’t appeal to most of us, we probably don’t consider all of the implications of accepting a job with a long commute. Specifically, we don’t think about how a long commute could influence our marriage.
I recent study examined the relationship between commute duration and marital stability. The results are two-fold. Firstly, researchers discovered that longer commute times led to a lower level of happiness in life. Sitting in traffic for long periods raised the stress level of participants and made them more irritable in the rest of their lives. Participants who commuted at least an hour each way needed to earn 40 percent more than non-commuters in order to attain the same level of wellbeing.
Secondly, the study found that this lowered level of happiness suffered by long commuters resulted in a higher rate of divorce. When commute times exceeded 45 minutes, couples were 40 percent more likely to separate.
If you have a long commute to work, the results of this study may be concerning. However, there are methods of making your commute less stressful—which can in turn benefit your marriage. Look for ways to make your time in the car enjoyable. Make a driving playlist of your favorite songs. Listen to an entertaining audiobook or podcast. If you have hands-free phone technology in your car, call your spouse or kids while you’re driving, and use the time to catch up. The more content you are behind the wheel, the more positive energy you’ll have for your loved ones when you get home.