Everyone wants to know exactly how it is to keep love alive forever. You can’t walk into a grocery store without being bombarded by women’s magazines with endless bits of advice on how to keep your marriage together, your relationship spicy, and just be able to stand the test of time. I mean, is that too much to ask for? According to a 2014 TED Talk, a mathematical equation can reveal whether your relationship will last.
During her 2014 TED Talk, mathematician and author of the new book, The Mathematics of Love, Hannah Fry explained that happily ever after comes down to how positive and negative a couple is with each other. In her new book, she notes the research of psychologist John Gottman, who studied hundreds of couples and their relationships with their partners, especially in how they responded to each other. What was found is that couples can be divided into two groups: low-risk and high risk. Couples who are low-risk are able to have more positive interaction with each other, whereas high-risk couples have the exact opposite. Happy couples see issues within the relationship as unusual, while negative couples don’t see issues as anything out of the ordinary.
So Gottman got together with mathematician James Murray to come up with an equation that would predict whether a couple was going to spiral into negative territory or flourish in a positive territory. Here are three of their mathematical findings that will keep your relationship in the positive, giving it a chance to make it.
1. Exclude The First 37 Percent Of Those You Meet As Marriage Material
If you start dating at 15 and plan to be married by 35, the idea is that the first couple people you meet, 37 percent to be exact, are not going to work out. Instead, you want to date the next person who comes along who’s “better than everybody you’ve seen before.” This technique, according to Fry, is mathematically proven to be the "best possible way of maximizing your chances of finding the perfect partner." So, ditch that high school love. Now.
2. Be Aware The Influence You And Your Partner Have On Each Other
Once you’re settled on a partner, it's time to enact the mathematical equation. Although the "H" stands for husband and "W" stands for wife, Fry says it can be used for same-sex couples as well. The equation, if used correctly, will reveal the positive or negative outcome of a relationship.
3. Positive Must Be Met With Positive
Basically, all positivity must be met with positivity. While negativity is sometimes unavoidable, Fry explains that relationships that work out the best and stay together the longest are ones in which there is a low threshold for negativity. In relationships with a high threshold for negativity, one partner is willing to put up with the shit from the other partner for a ridiculous amount of time before ripping into them.
But those with low thresholds for negativity never reach the point of a blow-out. They're more likely to talk things through, allow each other to complain, and have more of a give and take in the dialogue. They're more likely to fix issues, instead of letting them stew.
Takeaway? According to Fry, "Mathematics leaves us with a positive message for our relationships." While she admits that these techniques aren't relentlessly 100 percent in their success rates, they do bring relationships closer to success than they may have been otherwise. The equation teaches us that we're on the same team, moving toward a common goal.
Check out the Ted Talk below: