Marriage Mathematics

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 marriage announcement of Napoleon I, Emper...

Image via Wikipedia


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.

Happy and Sad face are together.

Image via Wikipedia


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.

Cake fractions


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.

The geometry of the Great Circle.

Image via Wikipedia


Learning to juxtapose yourself and mate into a healthy shape is very simple. Did you prepare before marriage? No? Are you being open now? Still no? Time for some basic mathematics.

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?

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  1. Angela Young

     /  November 26, 2011

    Nice! You are very wise:)

  2. Thank you, Angie! After I got the inbox full of “WTF do you mean a business?!” yesterday, I just thought I would stick my tongue out a little further. Everyone, apparently, hates math 🙂

  3. Wow, geometry involved in marriage, and here i was having problems just staying with one girl for over a year at a time – the “wonder lust” kept a calling, i guess i failed at marriage math! Did great it trig and calculus, but not this one!
    Great article, makes you think, what if…

  4. Thanks for stopping by, Marc! Math challenged, eh? Never fear, practice makes perfect 😉

  5. James Parsons

     /  November 26, 2011

    Communication,and Teamwork. And being more open with each other.With these three in place the rest should hopefully fall in place.Grandmother used to say “practice what you preach”. Nice job Red.

  6. awarewriter

     /  November 26, 2011

    The expectation that never works is the expectation that it’s your mate’s job to make you happy. n X 0 = 0. End of story.


  7. Hey Red, Can my marriage be a fraction with decimals? I’m not smart enough for that kind of math. Maybe you can help. Grant

  8. When I took lifespan psych, the best years in marriage came 20-30 years later…once the kids were out of the house! It makes me so sad when marriages don’t make it or when they end right before that.

    I like that definition! Expectations can affect a situation dramatically, for better or for worse.

    • Interesting to hear you say that. So many think the toddler years trump all. I doubt I will ever see an empty nest…safety in numbers, eh? Glad you stopped by to comment. Pull up a rocker and have a cup of coffee while you are here! Red.

  9. It really surprised me when the professor said that, but when I think about a lot of older couples, it kinda makes sense! A full house is loads of fun, too! I surely miss my little siblings being little.

    Me too! I found you on Miss Demure Restraint’s award post. Congrats!!

    • Why, thank you! *curtsies sweetly* I still have little ones at home (6 & 7), but have grandchildren, too. Hence, the doubt it will ever really be empty…ever.

      Have the dime tour. The Green Room is where you NEED to leave a link to your blog. The Coffee Shoppe features my authors and musicians who happen through my world and stay. And before too long, I will add a trophy room. It seems I got the VBA from more than one blogger! So very nice to meet you, Red.

  10. Bear

     /  November 27, 2011

    All well all good One question for you RED are You ready? The math works for me in this problem! Bear


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