Z + Y = Love?

Spanish mathematician, Dr. Jose-Manuel Rey
Spanish mathematician, Dr. Jose-Manuel Rey
Dr. Wilson Renfroe
Dr. Wilson Renfroe

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - By Taylor Hemness - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - As much as we may hate to admit it, we use mathematics dozens of times a day, for any number of different things. But, what if you could use it to determine how successful your marriage will be? There is a new mathematical model that is supposed to do just that.

Is it really possible to measure love with a math problem?

A new "formula" might just guide you through a successful marriage. The model was created by Spanish mathematician, Jose-Manuel Rey, and is meant to determine how effort, or lack thereof, in a relationship, is directly proportionate to the outcome of that relationship.

"It's something you have to work at," said Audrey Howell, who's been married for 38 years. "It doesn't just fall into place. You may think it's going to when you first meet, but after a while, you've gotta work on it."

The model works by looking for the perfect meeting of effort, and feeling - also known as the "Sentimental Equilibrium."

Eli Crow, an assistant principal at Robert E. Lee, and former math teacher, explained it this way. "If I'm entering that relationship, and I'm not willing to put any more effort in later, than the amount I'm putting in now, it's probably not going to be successful," he said.

At the beginning of the relationship, a couple's feelings for each other are presumably high, so the effort does not need to be, but if your effort suffers as time goes on, your marriage may be in trouble.

Dr. Rey told KLTV 7 that the model proves to people that are about to engage in a long-term relationship that they should be prepared to put effort into the relationship, but more effort than they would expect.

Dr. Wilson Renfroe of Tyler has been doing couples counseling for 20 years, and agrees with the concept that effort is a critical ingredient.

"There's an old adage, that it takes two to make a marriage work, but only one to mess it up," Renfroe said. "One thing that a counselor or a therapist can't give a couple is motivation."

Renfroe says there are definitely things about a relationship that can be measured, but does not think those tangible things are what is important.

"How many times did you do the dishes and make the bed?" Renfroe said. "You can count that stuff. It's measurable, but that's not really where it is. Where it is, is a matter of the heart. What is my heart giving to you?"

But when it comes to math being able to predict matters of the heart, it may just depend on which side of the couple you are talking to.

"It makes great sense," said Emory Howell, married for 38 years. "Math can chart anything the human race can come up with."

"I don't think women think that way," wife Audrey said. "We're more emotional, and I think that emotion plays more into it."

Dr. Rey also told KLTV 7 that the predictions of his model haven't been tested, but it's consistent with data that's accepted by psychologists and marriage therapists.

He also said his motivation for the model was purely scientific.

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