Saturday, June 09, 2012

The Mathematics of Marriage

I am about to get married in about 6 months. And that set me thinking. Is marriage the right step to take in life.. in anyone’s life.

Now, there is no right / fixed answer to such questions. This isn’t a science.

However, mathematics is a precise science, and probably it can help us understand marriage better. So, here goes…
Let us assume that the probability of any individual being happy (or sad) is 0.5 – agreed. So, putting it in a formula format, we are saying that P(h) = P(s) = 0.5. Seems ok till now.

Now, if that individual is married, his / her happiness depends on the happiness of his / her spouse, whose probability of being happy or sad is again 0.5. Thus, the probability of any person being happy post marriage is an event dependent upon the happiness of the spouse, hence P(h) = 0.5 x 0.5 = 0.25 !!!!

This means, any person is half as happy post marriage as he / she was when single ! Thus, marriage can never be a positive step. This set me thinking.. this cannot be a right conclusion across all marriages, there has to be a corollary. And, well, there is !
Anyways, to understand the above further, let me illustrate the different outcomes in a table

Like we concluded above, for a couple to be happy – both the partners individually must be happy, hence only a 0.25 probability.
Here we are assuming that if one of the partners is sad, then he / she would make the other sad too. Maybe the couple isn’t a right fit for each other in this case.

However, there are cases where the happiness of one partner overrides the sadness of the other and the couple ends up happier if one of the partners is happy. In this case, the probability of the couple being happy shoots up to 0.75 (outcomes 2 and 3 above will change to “happy” outcomes for the couple). This, I would attribute to a concept called “true love”.

Hence, here are 3 conclusions that one can make

1. If you are with the right partner, then the chances of you being happy are thrice as much – 0.75 vs. 0.25

2. If you are with the wrong partner, you are better off being indifferent to their feelings. Thus, your happiness / sadness would NOT depend upon their happiness / sadness, bringing up the probability of your happiness back to 0.5, instead of 0.25

3. Even in case of perfect marriages / right partners, the probability of happiness is only 0.75. Thus, there will always be some sad times.

Well, for all those getting married and wondering about the future (iincluding me), here’s wishing them all the best. Hoping for a 0.75 probability !!!

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