This is not a post about algebra (yet). It is about marriage, even if you find both equally unappealing. It is dedicated to the math- and algebra-phobic and all of those who never thought they would use math ever again once they got out of high school and college.
John McDevitt (of The Aware Writer) brought something interesting to the table yesterday.
Expectation “2. anticipating with confidence of fulfillment” — WordNet.”
The irony this is the second definition is not lost on your author, nor is its parallel to marriage.
The first definition of “expectation” is belief about (or mental picture of) the future. Many marriages begin with the first definition. After seeing other married couples and listening to parental, academic, psychological and religious influencers about what marriage is (and is not), we build our first expectation of what marriage is.
As we walk back down the aisle as husband and wife, we embody the second definition: anticipating with confidence of fulfillment. In its shiny infancy, marriage is a treasure trove waiting to be delved into with abandon to find gems and precious things with both hands.
After time wears away the novelty of marriage, we tremble at the third expectation: the feeling that something is about to happen. For some, this is a wondrous time, like the birth of a child or an anniversary filled with celebration. For others, it is a dreadful time, like the discovery of betrayal or impending divorce.
Some couples never reach the fourth definition: the sum of the values of a random variable divided by the number of values. These are the ones whose life is never mathematically sound: The drama outweighs the logical order of events.
In between the four definitions lies the simple human desire for the Fourth. In our heart of hearts, we want our relationship to be average (the mathematical expectation), in balance, complete. Where we flunk math, we flunk marriage. We build our equations around Mate. Mate, on the other hand, does not always perform mathematical duties.
Mate is not always 0.50 of the marriage. This is not about laying blame. We are also not always 0.50 of the marriage. In this simple fact, we lose sight of Second. We know which will fail and gauge the likelihood of success (statistics) from the moment a question or requests slips off the tongue.
You + Mate + Reasonable Expectations + Communication + Acceptance + Compromise + Teamwork = Healthy Marriage
If you do not know what one of the addends are, simply ask.
Which math best represents your marriage/relationship?