The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Opinion

June 1, 2013

June bustin’ out all over

ENID, Okla. — Editor’s note: This column was first published June 4, 2004.

It’s June, and we all know what that means.

No, not the Chicago Cubs annual June Swoon, though Lord knows in years past the Cubbies diving toward the cellar has proven as predictable as the swallows returning to Capistrano.

June is the month for weddings. Every weekend in June churches are filled with the sounds of weddings — the music, the pontificating of the preacher, the soft weeping of the mothers of the bride and groom, the louder weeping of the bride’s father, just after he is presented the bill for the whole affair.

But far too many marriages, somewhere around half, end in divorce. The reasons for this are many. Mathematics may be one.

No, really. A researcher in Great Britain has developed a mathematical formula for the perfect marriage.

That formula is M=Y+(1/e{x-y}), which makes as much sense to me as the Latin phrase “non calor sed umor est qui nobis incommodat.”

Basically the formula developed by Dennis Lindley, a professor at London’s University College, means the ideal ages for a couple to marry are 32 for men and 27 for women.

He says his formula is so accurate it will save marriages and reduce the divorce rate. Yeah, right.

The problem with many marriages is not math but five pitfalls that threaten every couple’s wedded bliss, particularly in the early years.

That, at least, is the conclusion of the Web site, WebMD, which sums up the five major pitfalls in the phrases: 1. My family does it this way; 2. Marriage will make me happy; 3. My partner will change once we’re married; 4. Talking about issues like his rowdy friends, her credit card debt, when to have kids and who should clean the toilet, will take the bloom off romance; and 5. We should avoid conflict at all costs.

So don’t expect your marriage to be exactly like that of your parents, don’t go into marriage thinking you’ll suddenly go from miserable to blissful after saying “I do,” don’t expect your partner to change or talk about everything (even who will clean the toilet) and fight when you feel like it.

But if you’re a married guy over 40, worry.

A recent study by AARP shows two-thirds of divorces after age 40 are initiated by the wives.

The survey found women older than 40 seemed more conscious of problems in their marriages, while men were more likely to be clueless.

Twenty-six percent of the men surveyed said they “never saw it coming,” compared to 14 percent of women.

Heck, it even happened to Ken, Barbie’s main squeeze. Earlier this year, after 43 years of whatever you call what happens between two anatomically incorrect dolls, Barbie told Ken their love had turned to plastic, which, come to think of it, makes perfect sense.

She dumped Ken for some foreigner, Blaine, a boogie boarder from Australia.

She has a deeper tan now and has begun wearing surf shorts, a bikini top and metal hoop earrings. The tramp.

Barbie and Ken should have taken advantage of EHarmony.com, a Web site that has patented a matchmaking formula.

EHarmony users answer more than 430 questions like “Do you smoke?” and “How often do you feel depressed?” They then are ranked in 29 categories, including “sexual passion,” “mood management” and “spirituality.”

If the numbers match up, bingo, a perfect relationship.

If only that would work. There is no formula or computer program that can ensure a happy marriage.

The happiest marriages are those in which each spouse puts the other first, themselves second.

Married couples also can’t take anything (especially themselves) too seriously. Laughter, even in the face of difficult circumstances, will serve you well through the years.

By the way, the phrase “non calor sed umor est qui nobis incommodat,” means “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.”

Truer words were never spoken.

Mullin is senior writer of the News & Eagle. Email him at jmullin@enidnews.com.

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