Sunday’s edition of London’s Daily Mail has a really interesting article that caught my eye. I’m always looking for new research and new studies being done on what makes marriages happier, healthier, stronger and more exciting. This article really got my curiosity going because of the title “For a good marriage, travel the same way to work: Shared commute creates feeling of shared goals in life.”
According to author Robin Yapp, a new study in Hong Kong reveals that couples who commute to work together or even travel separately in the same direction are happier than couples who travel to work in opposite directions.
At first, I’d thought that the premise of the article was that spending time together during a shared commute was what made these married couples happier, which would seem logical.
But apparently it isn’t the time together that does it, although that certainly helps.
Couples’ marital satisfaction can depend on whether they commute to work in the same or different directions,’ said lead researcher Irene Huang, from the Chinese University of Hong Kong.’ Physically moving in a particular goal-relevant direction (e.g. commuting to work) might become associated with more general goal-related concepts.”
Sharing goals and plans is certainly one of the important things that bind a couple together, but isn’t it interesting that something as small as commuting in the same direction (not just on the same train or bus) can have a positive effect?
According to Yapp,
The study, published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, involved two surveys of married working adults, with participants asked how happy they were with their marriage and how satisfied they were with their spouse on a scale of one to nine.”
The first study included 280 American couples and the second study involved 139 couples in Hong Kong. The results of both studies showed a clear correlation between marital satisfaction and traveling in the same direction to get to work. Interestingly, it didn’t matter how long the couples had been married, whether they had children or anything else. It also didn’t matter if they left at the same time for work.
Here’s another interesting point.
Another study paired up 80 strangers and found that the pairs rated each other more positively if they walked in the same direction to carry out a task given them during the study.
What this tells me is that moving in the same direction, towards a common goal, can be just as effective figuratively as it is literally. Even if you aren’t both working on a goal or are working on it separately, it still makes you happier as a couple. I don’t know about you, but I find that fascinating!