Chances of divorce and infidelity can happen when one or both spouses are commuting long distances. Based on a 10 year study in Sweden, couples that have commutes 45 minutes or more have an increased chance of divorce by 40%. Not only are there these statics, but there are an overwhelming amount of infographs on Pinterest and headlines on popular sites that read “Couples with Long Commutes are More Likely to Divorce ” and “The Rise of the Super Commuter and the Fall of the Marriage”. It’s enough to make any commuting couple, with a healthy or strained marriage, fear for their relationship.
We’ve been in a celebration mood for the last couple months, partly because of my husband’s successful completion of his MBA and partially because he had a job as soon as the diploma was in hand. However, a reality has recently set in on the arrival of his dream job. He commutes an hour to work and an hour back home. Sometimes more depending on traffic. Plus business trips. Uh oh. More than 45 minutes. We’re starting to feel the stresses of a commuter marriage.
We decided to be proactive about one of the big elephants in the room when it comes to commuter marriages and that’s purity — seen and unforeseen. We’re big fans of the book, “His Needs, Her Needs: Building an Affair-Proof Marriage“. So when it comes to infidelity in marriage, we take every preventative measure very seriously. More times than not, the one thing marriages don’t come back from are affairs. Here’s how we’re taking action and being preventative in our commuting marriage:
1. Call on the way home.
Use your commuting time on the way home to spend time with your spouse. Call and talk about your day and topics that are on your mind. It’s a good way to have good conversation before getting into the throws of chores, making dinner, and putting the kids to bed when getting home. It’s also a great use of investing time into your marriage and keeps your marriage accountable while traveling.
2. Talk about it.
Schedule a time to sit down and seriously talk about purity. It’s important to communicate expectations as soon as possible because it can make the difference between a war torn marriage or a happy one. Also when approaching the conversation, make sure no one is accusing anyone of anything. This should be a safe and respectful conversation.
3. Be open and honest about EVERYTHING.
Yes, I mean everything. Did you or your partner text someone of same sexual orientation that’s not family? Tell each other. Did you have a long phone call or deep conversation with someone of the same sexual orientation? Tell each other. Did you see pornographic images on Twitter or Instagram by accident? Tell each other. I know it sounds like paranoia or control, but infidelity can sneak in when you put your guard down. Accountability is a powerful tool and in addition to that, talking about it will build trust and respect in your marriage.
4. Time equals intimacy.
Even if you’re not attracted to a coworker or boss, that doesn’t mean that the temptation will never be there. With enough time, intimacy can be cultivated. Be careful and very aware of who you are spending time with. Keep in mind that time with someone other than your spouse is not just being physically there , but it can also be classified as texting or calling.
5. Keep the romance alive!
No matter how busy you get, schedule a date night once a week. We’re obviously big proponents of that. Send flirtatious texts and hide flirty notes in lunches, cars, medicine cabinets, etc. Have sex often and don’t hold out on your partner.
6. Know each others schedules.
This is simple to apply and can help keep accountability in your marriage. Communicate work hours and after work activities to each other. Have a complex schedule? Create a Google Calendar of your schedule and share it with each other. Running late or stuck in traffic? Text or call to let your spouse know. Have a schedule change? Read the next point!
Have a change in plans? Call your spouse and ask. Want to get an impromptu beer with your work buds? Call your spouse and ask. Staying late? Call your spouse and ask. This might seem overly communicative or feel like you’re wearing a ball and chain, but it is a great way to build trust with your partner and keep yourself accountable.
8. Don’t stress.
With bumper to bumper traffic, frustrations in marriage, and time lost due to hours on the road, long commutes are stressful. If you’re the commuter, be active in finding ways to de-stress. Go on spa dates with your spouse or go on a long walk together when you get home. The latter is our favorite to do, due to the endorphins and good conversation that naturally happen.
If you’re supporting a commuter in your marriage, be proactive in being the stress reducer. I’m currently so close to work that I can bike. Because I have added time to my day due to not losing it to commuting, I have taken some tasks off of my husbands plate. I take that time that he’s not home to complete those tasks so he can gain a little time back in his day.
There’s a revolving theme in a successful commuter relationship and that would be learning how to stay accountable with each other. Are you in a commuter marriage? What’s the hardest part for you and your spouse? What do you do to make commuting easier in your marriage?