Do the Math


I’m sure you’ve heard the expression, “You do the math.” I’ve said it to people to get them to understand something that’s very simple once they “do the math.” It got me thinking about college entrance exams like the SAT or ACT. Because she is brilliant at it, my wife loved the math section. I did not. I specifically remember the questions that involved traveling trains. If X train is traveling at such and such a speed in such and such direction and Y train is going in the other direction at such and such a speed, with a particular level of friction, how long would it be before the two of them meet?

I always wanted to answer “none of the above” with a little side note that said, “It won’t happen because if they did meet, everyone would die.” That wasn’t one of the options. Although that’s kind of silly and funny, it reminded me of the state of so many marriages today. Couples seem to be coming at each other with incredible tension and friction. If X doesn’t put on the brakes and if Y doesn’t slow down, there’s going to be a catastrophe of epic proportions. All around neighborhoods and all across our nation, the conditions are right for a disaster. Not an economic or climate disaster, but a marriage disaster.

What can be done to prevent this type of calamity or upheaval? I think couples need to stop coming at each other at ridiculous speeds, with mounting friction. They need to just learn to sit down and talk to each other. They need to stop filling their lives with so much stuff. She’s busy volunteering with the kid’s school, working full- or part-time, getting together with friends, or volunteering as coach of one of her children’s ball teams. He’s stressed with work, attending business functions, volunteering as a coach, and trying to get in a few rounds of golf.

It’s not that anyone is necessarily doing anything wrong. It’s the type of dilemma couples face with marriage. Going to work, volunteering, and staying in touch with friends is important to the success of a good marriage and family. But spending too much time in all of those areas and neglecting alone time with your spouse is not good. That’s when tempers start to flare. It makes sense, because it’s easy to come up short on patience or simply not have time to care or worry about things when you’re already feeling overwhelmed.

The solution is to slow down and evaluate your marriage. You probably take time to evaluate your career, where you want to eat, shop, attend church, and even what you want to watch on television. Doesn’t it seem important to also evaluate your marriage? Think about what is good and where you need to improve. Determine your priorities and adjust to ensure your marriage is protected.