Marriage and Family Therapist
Cyndi Sarnoff-Ross is a licensed psychotherapist with almost twenty years of clinical experience in the fields of clinical psychology and organizational management. She has worked extensively with a wide variety of…
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Marital Satisfaction: Commute to Work in the Same Direction
Posted in Healthy Relatio... by Cyndi Sarnoff-Ross on Dec 06, 2012
Some studies seem incredibly silly and leave me wondering if researchers were at a loss for what to do with grant money. But, as a social scientist myself, I can’t help but to be intrigued by even the most random studies when they involve human behavior. Invariably, even if I start off skeptical, I usually end up learning some interesting, and at times, even valuable information.

An example of this is the recent study done that surveyed couples both in the US and in Hong Kong to determine if commuting in the same direction had any connection to marital satisfaction. It turns out it does! Those surveyed were asked to describe their commute in distance, direction and time it took to travel. They were also asked questions that would determine marital satisfaction. Apparently those who commute in the same direction, and with other similar factors such as distance and time, were more happily married than those going in different directions.

Thankfully, the researchers recognized that while the results of the data were in fact statistically significant, the subject matter was of very small consequence to the overall happiness of a marriage. What it did highlight is the already understood notion that similarity in general encourages attraction. People have been shown to be drawn to each other over seemingly insignificant similarities such as being from the same state or having the same name. This is another example of the often-misguided belief that opposites attract. They can of course be attracted to one another but the parts of them that are different are not typically responsible for that attraction. I have seen this to be true time again in my practice. It is more often than not the commonalities that bind people to each other and the differences that divide them.

The researchers also allow for the possibility that commuting in the same direction allows couples to meet for dinner or connect after work more easily than if they were further apart and this fact would definitely contribute to marital happiness. Mutually agreed upon goals are an essential component of satisfaction and longevity in relationships and this study expresses both literally and metaphorically the advantages of couples heading in the same general direction.

By no means should any couple that happens to be driving in diametrically opposite directions during their commute have a moment of concern over the results of this study. It is simply a reminder to couples to be ever vigilant about finding activities and experiences that unite you and to do so on a regular basis.

- Cyndi

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My wife and I worked in the same area and carpooling made good sense. It also gave us more "Us" time to share and I believe that is what the study found, also.
By OldManBear  Dec 07, 2012
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