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?

Lis Riba

We tried a GPS for a few weeks, but gave it up.

The GPS led to 3-way arguments, with its suggestions usually the worst. [We're in the Boston area, where any given Point A and Point B has zillions of possible routes.

Main Street may have been technically shorter, but was busier and had more stoplights than the back roads paralleling it. Times I tried following its exact directions, often left me waiting to make left turns onto much busier roads, while my preferred route took the straightaway.

When a friend's car was broken into and she reported her beloved GPS stolen, we gladly offered her ours and have rarely regretted its absence.


My in-laws named their GPS GyPSie. My son thought that was great, so when we got ours, we had to name it as well. On our first long trip to spring training, we came up with GePSon (pronounced Jepson). We've only used it in family trips twice and both nearly caused an argument because I insisted that we should follow its route to a friend's house across town, when she was convinced that her way was faster. The second and only other time, it took us the shortest route home, which happened to be a congested, stop and go route that made her quite infuriated with both me (for following GePSon's directions) and the device itself. For our spring training trip, and a subsequent trip to NYC, it was invaluable. But marriage saving? Not yet...

Justin James

My aunt & uncle named theirs "Maggie" (it's a Magellan unit). I recently took a trip to San Diego. Thanks to the rental car's GPS unit, I was within 10 feet of ending up on a one-way trip to Mexico (it would have ahd me miss the last exit before customs). Then it put me in a VERY bad neighborhood trying to get back onto the highway. After that, it wanted me to go two ways on a highway that didn't exist, at the same time. And finally, when I pulled over to get my bearings, we watched at the map jumped about a 1/4 mile. At the same time, it allowed us to explore the city like we might not have done without it.




GPS is not always good for married bliss. It can be used to discover infidelity by tracking a spouse's movements.

One could argue that it doesn't decrease bliss, just discovers the absense of bliss.


Max Kaehn

TiVo. My wife and I had a disagreement over what to do when you get home halfway through a show you're taping: do you start watching in the middle and then go back and watch the first half (her choice) or do something else until you can watch the show from the start (mine)? With a digital video recorder, we can start watching when a show is halfway recorded.

This also worked for my parents, who each had shows they liked to watch and would wind up with a collection of video tapes where one had watched their set of shows but the other hadn't watched the rest. With random access, this source of domestic tension vanished.


I'm totally with comment #2, he dishwasher is a wonderful thing.

And comfy seats in front of fitting rooms are helpful too.


What if both spouses (spece? spice?) decide to use it as a tracking device to see where the car has gone? "What were you doing at X when you told me you were at Y? Why did you erase the travel log? WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN YOU @%@%^@#@#@$!?!?!?!?


The name of our GPS assistant is Ioana (as Joanna), because this is the name of Romanian female speaker when you select it on the iGO system :) we frequently talk to Ioana as it/she is a real person

Larry McKinnon

Separate Televisions at home. I watch my junk, she will watch hers. Now we only watch what each of us knows the other will enjoy together, otherwise, i go to my office and watch what i want, she will watch what she wants. Of course, when we were first married, we only had 2 channels so the problem crept up on us over the years.

Jerry Stephens

The GPS would take all the fun out of getting lost while driving around. But, then, I'm the guy who got lost driving through a small village near Cadiz, Spain. One road in and, apparently, one road out. The only problem was maneuvering around the plaza which separated the one road in and the one road out. That trick probably has been good for my marriage. My wife keeps me very humble by reminding me of the one road in and one road out.


Our first GPS was Xena (Yes, named after the warrior princess).
Our latest one is Gina (we couldn't bring ourselves to call her Xena as well - it felt too disrespectful to the original Xena).


Ours is called "Kitty".

"Talking car with an opinion", but female. Get it?


GPS has given me lousy and just plain wrong directions several times. I'd rather have a good road map any day of the week!


Does everyone name their GPS? Ours is Sylvia

Jim B

I have to second the DVR (our is direct tv) as a marital aid. With the two tuner option, she can watch her reality shows (that I can't stand) in real time and I record mine for later viewing at my leisure. Wonderfull device! Also great if you like obscure sci-fi shows that air air irregulary at 3am sometimes. I love being able to watch the old Outer Limits.

Robot Mistake

There is a darkside to marriage and GPS.

Have you ever ignored the GPS when your wife is in the car? It took over a month for us to adjust to this strange situation.

You leave an location and select home on the GPS. The device does very nice job navigating though the neighborhood and on to major road.

At this point you are directionally gifted enough to find the rest of the way home. So you stop paying attention to the GPS. The GPS still however thinks it knows the best way home. So as you enter your neighborhood the Robot tells you to turn, but you know better, and all of a sudden your significant other, who could really careless about the route home, being questioning and interrogating you on the route you have chosen to ignore.

Advice: Do not answer "because I have a brain and I don't have to do what robots tell me".

GPSs work so well because people love folling rules.

Is there an economic situtation that explains this?


Brian Kirk

the clapper :)


Our GPS (or SatNav as they call them in the UK) is named Pam. As in map backwards. Best investment we ever made.

Now if we only had a common way of learning how to use new technology. I like to tinker and learn and then do for myslef -- of for her. She wants to be shown vs. letting me type ahead.


That's funny, I named my GPS Gertrude too...and I thought I was being original! I did it because the one with the English accent sounds like a Gertrude.


the DVR has saved many marriages. tivo,replaytv or mythtv have all allowed me more time and keeps my wife and i happy as we no longer argue about what to watch and when.