Family and Relationship

The Secret Equation Behind All Successful long lasting Relationships.

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By Sarah Ott and Robert Redman

After a break-up– a bad one –I began to think about the “Why’s”.
Why did this relationship end? Why didn’t it work?

It’s a refrain I have heard countless times from countless friends, men and women. One, a man, needed consoling about the imminent end of his 20-year marriage. I had heard about his troubles with his wife for almost the entire 20 years. I saw it coming– why didn’t he? And why idn’t I see it coming in my own relationship?

So, for the first time in my life, I stopped asking the same kinds of people the same questions. This time, after about a year had gone by,  asked the one person who knew why our relationship had ended. I asked HIM.  So, HE, and I have joined together to write this article.

Why do some relationships thrive and others fail, despite both people loving each other, both people wanting it to work.  What’s the secret?

When we peeled off the outer layers of the relationship we had  and the some 125 relationships we knew about personally between us, we discovered a few astoundingly simple rules. Equations, really.

1. The Listening Equation. 
A friend once asked me “How long can I expect my husband to listen to me while I am talking?”. I was doing the dishes at the time, and I remember stopping what I was doing, and getting so rapt in the question that I accidentally dropped the plate.

You see, the friend who was asking this question is a major league talker.  I am the listener with her usually. She barely takes a breath.
When I finally get to talk, I can tell she is not listening. She’s just waiting for her next available opportunity to jump in. You know the type.

Not that I don’t adore her. It’s just that she has never learned to listen. So, when I heard her ask me the very question I had been long wondering about her, I lost my composure and dropped a plate. Truth does that sometimes.

Robert has had the same experience, only in reverse. He is also a talker (I guess I have a lot of those in my life). But his problem is that he ends up frustrated with most people he meets. They are not “involved” he finds himself saying a lot. They are not the kind of people who take the initiative to start a topic, keep him entertained with it. He often feels like he is obliged to be “on”. Obliged, because the other person is too passive.

You see where we’re going with this. It’s about a balance between the giving and the receiving in communication. The talking and the active listening. The starting of conversations and the receiving of information.  There is an equation going on.

We think this is the equation. If you  are a talker, you should expect to listen twice as long as you talk.  Why twice as long? Because talkers naturally underestimate how long they talk. They usually talk twice as long as they think they do.

So, let’s say you are a talker. You guess you’ve been talking about 5 minutes. You should then “yield the floor”, so to speak, to your partner for 10 minutes.

And while they are talking, you should look at them and pay attention.
Make mental notes of what they are saying, not what you are planning to say.   Why is all this important to relationship issues like not-enough-sex, read on

2.  The Sex Equation.  The most frequent conversation Robert or I have with friends goes something like this:

“I don’t know what to do. I have been with this (man or woman) for 3 years and it’s not going anywhere. I mean, not that it’s about the sex, but that’s not great either. I mean, when we first got  together, she(he) wanted me all the time. Now, I always have to make the moves. She’s not interested. I love her, I really do. But we have sex maybe once a month. Now, it’s once in six months. I can’t do without sex. I’m not a monk.   The worse thing is, when we talk about it, it gets hot for a while, then when she knows I’m not leaving, she starts the old shut-down again. I can’t take it.”

So, the sex is out of balance. One wants it more. One feels neglected by the other. The Other has lost interest in sex.

Does that mean you should stay in the relationship and give it time? Or does that mean you should cut your losses and not invest another 3 months, 3 years, 20 years in the other.

The key to that answer lies in a test. The Minimum Maximum Test or the Mini-Max, for short.

Let’s say you need o have sex at least twice a month. That’s your bottom line. Anything less and you are climbing the walls.  Let’s say your maximum is 3 times a week, that’s 12 times a month on average.

Now, for your partner. Let’s say his (her) minimum is 8. He needs it at least  twice a week.  Anything less and he feels severely neglected.
Let’s say his maximum is everyday, 30 times a month.

Now, let’s compare you two. Your minimum is 2 and his minimum is 8.
So you two will have sex at least twice a month but if it’s only twice, you will be happy and he will be miserable. So, let’s look at your respective maximums. Your maximum is 12.  Aha, your maximum satisfies his minimum, so there’s enough overlap.

The result. You will be compatible as long as you have sex at least 8 times a month (his minimum) but not more than 12 times a month (your maximum).

Here’s the equation. Decide who likes sex more. Let’s call that partner Lusty. Let’s call the other partner Bashful.

Bashful’s Maximum must be a bigger number than Lusty’s Minimum for them to be compatible.

That’s the Mini-Max sex equation.  Try it out with your partner. Each of you should write down your Minimum and your Maximum. Then decide who is Lusty and who is Bashful. Then compare the numbers and see if your numbers satisfy the Mini-Max equation.  Remember, Bashful’s
maximum must be bigger than Lusty’s minimum.

The next equation is something most people never think about but it is vitally important.

3.  The Weight Relationship.  Okay, you know all the right things to hink and say. Weight doesn’t matter. Looks are superficial. A person
whose feelings would change for you based on looks is not worth your time. Right.

Now, here’s the truth. Weight matters. Fat matters. A good friend confided in me once about his wife of then 4 years (they are now divorced): “She’s gotten fat. I know that makes me sound Neanderthal. But she doesn’t look like herself anymore”.

I’ve heard countless variations on this from many friends. When your partner gets fat and out-of-shape, it’s likely your sexual interest waned. Humans tend to look longer at things they find attractive.
Humans tend to listen longer to people they find attractive. Humans tend to pay more attention to attractive people and find them more engaging. None of that changes when you get “coupled” or married.

When your partner gets lumpy, you don’t stop loving them. But you may fall “out of love” with them.  Why? Because being “in love” involves magic, a set of ideals or close-to-ideals that your amour brings to you. If beauty is one of these, then she or he has to stay attractive to sustain the “in love” feeling.

When the pounds start to pile on, you don’t even fall out of love immediately. But we think that what starts to  happen is that you start to make withdrawals from the Love Bank.

How many withdrawals are made with each pound?

We think that for every 10% of your body weight you gain, your partner has to withdraw twice as much –20%– of the capital you have in your Love Bank.

That’s the equation. 2 for 1. Gain 10%, 20% of the capital in the Love Bank is gone. Gain 20%, 40% of the Love Bank is gone.

So,let’s say that when you began dating you weighed 130 pounds. But you’ve been married for a awhile and put on about 40 pounds. You’ve probably lost about 30% of the capital in your Love Bank.

What’s the danger point. When does your Love Bank become overdrawn?

From experience, we think that point is at 50%.  That’s when the dissatisfaction gets so great to your partner that they will stop thinking about you in the same way sexually.  In fact, they may have lost all interest in you sexually.  They may find it harder to get interested. You will find that the amount of sex drops to the point where you begin wondering “what’s wrong?”

In our hypothetical example where you began dating when you weighed 130. The Love Bank gets overdrawn at 195.  But the interest probably started waning at 145-150. Get the point.

Sex starts between the ears long before it happens between the sheets. With your ears and your eyes.

3.  The Values Relationship.  Enough about the outside. Now for the inside.

Values are internal rules. If you are a country, then values are your laws.  There are minor laws, which if broken only amount to a
misdemeanor. And there are major laws. If these are broken, the relationship risks the Death Penalty.

Just as every country has different laws, every person has different values.  Your values could include for example, Fidelity, Living an Adventurous Life of Travel, Getting Rich, Belief in God, Doing No Harm to Animals or Children, Intellect.  Your partner’s values could include Fidelity, Staying Physically Fit, Building a Large Family, Doing No Harm to Children, Being Seen as a Successful, With-it Guy.

Here’s the equation. Your top 3 values –we call these your Core Values– must overlap with your partner’s top 3 values to have a meaningful relationship. Your top 5 Values must overlap to have an enduring relationship.

So, take a test with your partner.  Each of you should write down your top 10 values, the rank them from 1 to 10.  Next, compare lists. Do your top 3 values overlap? Your top 5?

Now, let’s put it all together. Here are the 4 Secret Equations of All Successful Relationships.

The Ear Equation. Listen twice as much as you talk. And when you listen, listen intently. Make notes of what your partner is saying as they are talking, and don’t just pretend to listen when you are really just impatiently waiting on the next turn to flap your lips.

The Sex Equation.  How many times a month must you have sex at a minimum?  At a maximum?  Find out your partner’s minimum. It must be more than your minimum and less than your maximum. If you must have sex more than 2 times but  10 times would be too much, then you are compatible with anyone whose minimum is between 2 and 10.  It doesn’t matter if his maximum –his dream– would be to have sex 30 times a month. It’s his minimum that counts.   If his minimum is 10, then voila!, Eureka!, there’s an overlap, since your maximum is 10.

You’d be a little tired of it but still tolerable and he’s be getting just barely enough but happy.

The Weight Equation. For every 10% weight that is gained, 20% gets withdrawn from the Love Bank.  At 50%, the lights go out, sexual interest dies for most people, and the relationship will not be far behind.  Watch the pounds, people.

The Values Equation. 
Your top 3 values must overlap to have a meaningful relationship. Your top 5 must overlap to have an enduring relationship. visit:


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