What G.P.S. Can Do for Your Marriage


Many improvements in technology shift the production possibility frontier outward. Many of these increase human happiness, and a few do this by increasing marital harmony (Viagra?).

One piece of technology my wife and I just acquired does all of these while saving that most precious of all things — time.

Our car’s G.P.S. device — Gertrude, as we call ours — led us from a rural road in Portugal back to our condominium with no hassle, no spousal arguments about which road to take, and no wasted time driving around trying to find the correct route.

I wonder how many other devices do as much to improve married life?


My wife and I dislike using the GPS unit we were given for Christmas because it cuts down on the time spent looking at the map together and talking about which way to go. Half the fun of driving together is figuring out where to go!

Eirik Bakke

The dishwasher would be my guess


Mine makes married life POSSIBLE. My wife, who is an extremely intelligent, savvy, self-sufficient woman, is so directionally challenged that it borders on a disability. Without a GPS, I fear she would one day fail to find her way home to me and the cats. Before she had a GPS, she would call me from the road to get directions. Needless to say, this was hazardous for her and frustrating for us both. Now the GPS just handles it. The same GPS remembered where I parked my car in Cologne, Germany (because it knew where I switched it to pedestrian mode) and navigated me back to it. Fabulous!

Aaron S

Duct tape. Old-school technology, but the very threat of its use allows me to drive unimpeded along rural backroads and byways, instead of taking the straight-line approach of the interstates preferred by my wife.

Dual A/C controls. I like it cool. My wife likes it warm. Not perfect, but better than just the one control before.

Noise-cancellation headphones. Do I even need to explain their wonderful value?

DVD players. My wife can now ride along watching her favorite shows or movies, while I drive along with my own glorious thoughts. Oh, and ear buds...this allows me to crank up Journey while my wife cranks up CSI.

Cell phones! I can talk to people who actually want to talk to me, instead of talking to my wife, which will always degenerate into an argument.

NEEDED MEDICATIONS: Some pill that will make it either easy for me or for my wife to take a long trip together and still enjoy being married to each other! HA!



Our marriage saver was the cell phone. Before that, we would have arguments over what it meant to meet at the bottom of the metro station. (I was waiting for her on the lowest level, she waited for me on the highest level.) After we got our cell phones, these arguments disappeared.

Kim Siever

When we are on a trip, my wife navigates and I drive. We always get to where we're going without arguments.


A GPS would have been nice to have when I was in California last week on a gravel road that, according to Google Maps, was supposed to be paved and was not supposed to lead to a dead end, when I experienced just such a spousal argument. Of course, it wouldn't have done much good if the GPS was using the Google Maps database.


A TV remote once upon a time resolved the age-old question of who gets up to change the channel, saving lots of relationships.


Does anyone else name their GPS? We named ours Gabby, and my parents named theirs Darla. It would be interesting to see how naming the device affects adoption rates and the overall user experience.

Leland Witter

Mine is named Gladys - full name is Gladys P. Snodgrass (G.P.S).

Not that it completely eliminates nagging though - every time I decide to take a bit of a different route, Gladys says "recalculating" in a somewhat exasperated tone!


Mine already has names. Her American English-speaking character is named Jill, and her Dutch-speaking name is Clare. She is also sometimes a dude and speaks German, Russian, Czech, and pretty much dozens of languages. She's way smarter than me.


My first GPS was Shirley, until someone broke into my car and stole her. Now Rosie gets me where I need to go.


A good, big duvet is the very first condition for a succesful marriage. Really indispensable. Without it even the most perfect couple wouldn't be together for more than 3 months.


But think of the unintended consequences! Soon, comedians and comedy writers will not be able to plausibly use "men will never admit they are lost and ask for directions" as the basis for a joke anymore! Plus, they're already losing "what's the deal with airplane food" as more and more airlines remove it. Now they'll have to come up with new jokes to reuse over and over!!


Our GPS is a lifesaver, too. And paired with Urban Spoon, a nice, free app for the iPhone, makes married life even better. When traveling in an unfamiliar city, we locate a top-rated restaurant with Urban Spoon, dial in the address, and drive directly to the restaurant excited and calm. Now I just need to figure out how to pair Urban Spoon with our Prius' nav system!


-separate bathroom sinks


We were given a unit by our parents, and then told (by parents) to bring it on our latest trip.

They argued incessantly anyways over instructions when we got lost (mostly about map reading), and screamed at the GPS to shut up, as one parental unit kept insisting the GPS was wrong.

So I disagree that the GPS improved our family's life.


Multiple computers at home.




GPS has occasionally steered us wrong, but it can never compete with the amount of times my husband used to miss exits on the highway, and then refuse to stop and ask for directions when he inevitably got lost. Sometimes there is nothing more beautiful than the sound of Robert (our GPS' name) telling us he's "Recalculating..." So many arguments have been avoided, and so many trips have been made more pleasant - thank you, Garmin!