If your relationship is not going in the right direction, perhaps it's because you're not commuting in the right direction.
A new study by Hong Kong researchers who conducted surveys in the U.S. and Hong Kong found that couples' marital satisfaction is greater when they travel to work in the same direction, no matter what time the partners leave for work.
A couple of Chicago couples told RedEye they go out of their way to change their commute so they can have more time with their spouses because they like having someone to talk to on the train. Also, events during their shared commute give them something extra to chat about at home.
Mollie Rosario of Lakeview said she and her husband Nelson both take slightly slower and less direct routes so they can ride together to and from work. They both get on at the Belmont Brown Line stop and ride together for about 30 minutes to separate stops in the Loop.
Rosario, who has been married nearly two years, said her commute gives her quality time with her husband, who is in law school.
"It's kind of our time to be together and talk without the television and cell phones on," said Rosario, 29. "It's much more comfortable to sit next to someone you know."
Though she admits she sometimes would like to work the sudoku without distraction, Rosario said she finds that the QT she spends people-watching on the train with her husband generates conversation between them later.
Ziena Miller of Andersonville said the Red Line commute she shares with husband also provides them something to talk about. Also, she said their coordinated schedule "keeps me on track and on time."
"It's definitely nice to have the quality time with him," Miller, 30, says of her husband of more than three years. "I would say we are very happy."
Joel Lozada, 28, says he's not as lucky. He and his wife both take the No. 65-Grand bus—in opposite directions. Lozada takes the bus to downtown while his wife takes it to Harlem.
Lozada said his wife can be a bit jealous of his commute, and she occasionally requests they spend time downtown after work. But Lozada said he doesn't like to go to downtown after hours since he's spent the work day there.
He said now more than ever, he wishes he could commute with his wife since she is in the early stages of pregnancy.
"[I want to travel] with her in her direction toward her job just to make sure she's OK," said Lozada, of Logan Square. "I think, yeah, having that conversation before work just to talk about their day, I think overall would make couples a lot happier."
For her part, Rosario said she is "very happy" in her relationship. But she is concerned about what will happen in the summer, when her husband takes a job four days a week in Libertyville, which means they won't be commuting together.
"I was like, 'What is this going to do to us?,'" Rosario said.
But she said her husband then vowed to make the ultimate Chicago sacrifice--he would accompany her on her commute on Fridays even though he doesn't have to work. Together they will ride to the Loop, just to keep in the Loop.
Red on the sked
The CTA last week released its timetable for temporary station closures of seven northern Red Line stations that will be modernized. Granville, slated to close May 11, is up first. Closures aren't expected to last longer than six weeks. Morse, Thorndale, Argyle, Berwyn, Lawrence and Jarvis also will close. How will this affect your commute? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your full name, age and neighborhood.
A weekly dispatch from a CTA station of note
This week: Monroe Red Line
At this subway stop, the lights at the end of the tunnel shine the brightest. Though there are several light fixtures along the platform, they don't provide ample illumination. As a result, the Loop stop has a dark feel. One Monroe stop rider tweeted Thursday "Why is the Monroe Redline stop so dark? Needs better lighting...and a bath." The CTA sent its station upkeep teams, the "Renew Crews," recently to the Monroe stop, where they cleaned and relamped light fixtures throughout the mezzanines and on the platform, according to the CTA Web site. But on Friday, while storms pounded Chicago, it felt more ominous underground at the Monroe stop than on the streets.
Next up: Grand Red Line.