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Theory predicts if you'll get divorced – and it's '90 per cent accurate'

Couple arguing
Theory predicts if you039ll get divorced and it039s 03990

Last Updated on August 7, 2021 by MyGh.Online

Researchers have created a maths equation that can accurately guess whether you and your loved one will get a divorce, after studying many arguments between couples.

Every couple argues over things, it can be trivial like leaving the toilet seat up, or the matter can be more serious. But researchers can now judge whether or not this argument will cause a break up using a maths equation that they claim is 90 per cent accurate.

It was created from a study by psychological researcher John Gottman and professor of mathematics James Murray, who filmed couples in long-term relationships who were arguing.

They designated a score to study everything that was happening in the argument, including tracking their heart rates, blood pressures, facial expressions and skin conductance.



Couple arguing
The equation focuses on reactions, comments made, and the general mood of your partner

It wasn’t just the physical bits they focused on though, they also paid attention to whether certain couples used humour, whether they were being open, or if they were being pretentious and aggressive.

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Next, they decoded what was happening in the argument, which meant they were then able to predict whether a couple would get divorced. So, it’s all really about how you argue, and what you say in an argument, that will decide your chances of longer term happiness.

So, get your pen and paper out, because here’s the equation:

Wt+1= w + RwWt+ IHM (Ht)

Yeah, bit confusing isn’t it? This may just look like a bunch of random numbers and letters, but we’ll break it down for you, because it’s actually pretty clever.

  • The Wt+1 stands for the positivity or negativity of the wife’s next comment in the argument
  • The w after the = stands for the wife’s general mood
  • You then add that to the ‘RwWt’ which basically stands for the wife’s mood with the husband
  • Next, you add IHM, which stands for the husband’s influence
  • (Ht) at the end of the equation means you need to include the husband’s most recent action too
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Putting thoughts and feelings into numbers can be hard, which is why James Murray and John Gottman came up with a coding system which is oddly named “SPAFF” – it stands for SPecific AFFect Coding System, albeit sounds a little rude.

Using this system will put everything you’ve said in your argument, categorised into codes. So ‘defensiveness’ will be a negative code, but ‘affection’ or ‘humour’ will be a positive code – it’s as simple as that.



Defensiveness is seen as a negative in this equation, but humour is a good sign
Defensiveness is seen as a negative in this equation, but humour is a good sign

According to the coding system by Coan and Gottman in 1995, each reaction in the argument is worth a number of points. So for joy it’s +4, humour it’s +4 and interest it’s +2. If you’re being a bit of a negative Nancy, prepare to lose points, with -4 for contempt and -3 for disgust – we’re not surprised.

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You’re probably thinking, ‘but how does this work out if I’m going to get a divorce or not?’ Well, the coding system and the equation generally tie in together.

According to mathematician Hannah Fry this all depends on the last part of the equation, which is the husband’s influence and the husband’s reaction.

It’s all about positive and negative reactions that are put into a fancy graph, and if it reaches a certain threshold, it could be the end.

Surprisingly, the graph found that couples with a very low negativity threshold were actually the least successful, which suggests that a squabble now and then is needed. The couples that were more successful, were the ones that spoke up immediately about any issues.

The moral of the story is, speak up quickly if you fancy a nag at your loved one, oh, and take a calculator on dates as well. Obviously.


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