I read with intrigue an article about the effects of commuting on a relationship. It was particularly interesting to me as a person who takes a one hour train ride twice a day. According to the article, all it takes is a simple 45 minute commute to work to lead to a possible split between the couple. In my experience, however, this has not been the case. Here are some reasons why.
On the way to work every morning, I typically read the news. Generally speaking I pick up the free daily newspaper from a gentleman who has a station close to the subway entrance. I also have, at the moment, a subscription to the New York Times which allows me to get the daily paper on my iPad. After I finish reading the news, I am hopefully sitting and take a few minutes to write in my paper journal. I think that this daily writing exercise helps me work through the various things that are going on in my life. If there is time by the time I get to the York Street stop, I will watch part of an episode of my favorite British soap opera, EastEnders.
On my way back home, I do things a little bit differently. Sometimes I will write an article for the Boles Blogs Network during the commute. Other times the articles are a little too complicated to write in the comfort of a subway ride home. I will sometimes look at the monthly plan that I make for the blogs to see where I am and what needs researching, etc. Here too I will sometimes watch either a full episode of EastEnders or a part of an episode.
In any case, the commute both ways is tremendously productive and it leads to harmony in my home. Just being able to write in the journal helps the relationship because I am able to think things through more clearly and communicate what I am thinking with my wife. She also enjoys hearing me read the entries to her every Shabbos — it’s a way for her to get to know me a little better through my own words.
Moreover, since the birth of our son Chaim it has been increasingly important that I make time available and that is more easily done because of the commute home. Getting writing done on the train means that it does not need to be done at home which leads to me being able to spend more time with my son, which makes for a happier relationship all around.
That’s a strange study, Gordon. It seems to bend on the idea that a 45-minute commute makes a man grumpy and he won’t want to help around the house once he arrives home and that makes his wife angry. I think more study is needed!
If anything I’m less grumpy from getting things done during my commute and more wanting to help!
I wonder if there’s a difference in the mode of transportation? Driving a car in Los Angeles for an hour in heavy traffic would be a more negative experience — and not let you get things done — than riding in a train for the same amount of time.
This is indubitably so. Moreover, just driving in itself can be a maddening experience.