Asymptotes get in my way


I know we have a lot of polyamorous people on this network, and people who are not interested in long term relationships, but that’s not me. I’m a devotedly monogamous kind of guy, and today is our 36th wedding anniversary, so I had to do some math. (Isn’t that everyone’s response to important dates?)

Percent of my life spent married to one person: 61%

Whoa. That’s disappointing. That number is just not big enough. So I had to fudge it a bit. We started seriously dating in 1976, so…

Percent of my life spent romantically involved with that person: 68%

That didn’t help much. Only 2/3 of my life? She’s so much more.

But hey, I met her for the first time in third grade, so maybe I can nudge it up further.

Percent of my life knowing that person: 86%

That really feels like cheating. She was just that other kid in class who was better at math than I was, so that shouldn’t count.

I know 100% is mathematically impossible because there were those 8 empty years where I didn’t even know she existed, but I have to strive for a percentage that approximates her importance. At least 99%. I estimate that in order to reach the point where I have spent 99% of my life married to Mary, all I have to do is live to be 2300 years old. And she has to live that long too, or there’s no point.

We can do that. Easy.

Then maybe we can aim for 99.9%.


  1. brett says

    Congratulations! That’s something I want to aspire to.

    Stylish wedding photo as well. Love the pocket watch.

  2. says

    Aaw, congratulations you two. We just had our 37th anniversary on the 11th, but we don’t celebrate. There’s a reason. (I didn’t say it was a good reason.)

  3. Raucous Indignation says

    That’s very sweet and congratulations to you both, but I am never, ever, ever getting married again.

    Never ever.

  4. opposablethumbs says

    Congratulations and wishing you many many happy anniversaries more!

    Now what am I supposed to do with whatever it is you just got in my eyes, dammit?!

  5. Athywren - not the moon you're looking for says

    Sir, I wish to complain – this post made my vision go blurry and now my face hurts! :3
    Happy anniversary.

  6. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    This might just be the most romantic and sweet post I’ve read in a long time. Happy anniversary and congratulations to both of you!

  7. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    Nice try, PZ, but that’s [i]clearly[/i] one of the guys from Steely Dan.

    Happy anniversary. :)

  8. Brother Ogvorbis, Fully Defenestrated Emperor of Steam, Fire and Absurdity says

    I am now 50. In May, Wife and I will celebrate our 27th anniversary. So I am at about 54%. Though I met her 3 years before we married, so that puts me at around 60%.

    And, apparently, the proper gift for the 27th anniversary is a new furnace.

  9. says

    Congrats PZ. I’m still seven years from being able to claim 50% in my marriage, but i look forward to the trip there.

  10. wzrd1 says

    Only 34 years here, married at age 20 and the only time away was military related or preparing ahead for relocation.
    As for the math, I’m mathematically challenged. If I take off my shoes, I can count to 20, but the last time I counted to 21, I was arrested.

    I’d say that communication and candor were the key for us, full, honest communication.
    Or perhaps, she just has low expectations of me. ;)

  11. peterchapman says

    Photo is in need of a digital makeover. Creases and lines over ‘The Goddess”?

  12. says


    And, apparently, the proper gift for the 27th anniversary is a new furnace.

    Yes. Yes, it is. The proper gift for a 37th is “get new wood stove installed downstairs”. That’s on the highest authority.

  13. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The Redhead and I will celebrate our 43rd anniversary in June, which is about 65% together. Add the time from when we started dating until marriage, 75%.
    It appears the anniversary present will be upgraded electrical service to the house and a new furnace with AC.

  14. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Dang, forgot to properly congratulate PZ and Mary on their anniversary. Conga-rats, and hope you have many more anniversaries ahead.

  15. Jake Harban says

    I’m not the marrying sort, but happy anniversary anyway and may you have 2300 more just like it.

  16. says

    And she has to live that long too, or there’s no point.

    Taxidermy has come a long way, you know. Just saying.

  17. petesh says

    In the picture, Mary looks charming and happy, while PZ seems a bit wary, as though someone was about to repossess the suit. Glad things are working out so far …

    My Uncle Eric regularly used to introduce my aunt as “My first wife, Prudence.” Pissed her off till the day he died. PZ, you could try that if you want to feel the full force of a cast-iron frying pan.

  18. Lofty says

    Well I made half my life married to one wonderful person the other day although it’s her second marriage. These “percentidge” things are a bit too modern for me, simple fractions were good enough for my ancestors and they’re good enough for me.

    Oh and this being Down Under, it was a warm day so no need for a furnace. White wine in the sun was appropriate though.

  19. Sili says

    In some way I’m envious, but on the whole it’s prolly not the life for me. And I don’t want to see the year 6000 anyway.

    Congrats to both of you. (Or comiserations since Mary blogs so irregularly.)

    May you and yours be always happy.

  20. congenital cynic says

    I too was definitely cut out of the monogamy cloth (though the “checking out prospects” period was not all bad). Just took me rather a long time to find the right woman. We are just coming up on 23 years together now, but I’m not at all concerned with asymptotes (I was in university when she started grade school). But still plenty interested in the first syllable. I still wake up every morning thinking, “wow, how lucky was I to get to be with her”.

  21. kayden says

    Congrats on 36 years of wedded bliss! And wishing you and your wife many many more.

  22. Tethys says

    Happy anniversary and congratulations PZ and Mary. That entire met in 3rd grade thing is just too sweet. I hope Mary found your tale just as romantic and awwww inducing as I did.

    Then I looked up asymptote on wiki, and tried to read it. Now I suspect PZ of sneakily ninja teaching advanced calculus, because I get the joke in #1. The actual math is still meaningless, but there was a link to hyperbolides and a asymptotic cones that I followed, and seeing the actual function expressed in string made it click. “Ah, so hyperbolic planes and shapes like crochet work, and cones like staircases.” I suppose its handy for charting trajectories too?

  23. chris61 says

    All you folks got married very young! Coming up on 33 and that’s only a little over 50%.

  24. militantagnostic says


    I estimate that in order to reach the point where I have spent 99% of my life married to Mary, all I have to do is live to be 2300 years old. And she has to live that long too, or there’s no point.

    There’s always Alcor ;)

  25. Siobhan says

    *puts tongue in cheek*

    Boo, get a dungeon!

    *takes tongue out of cheek*

    But seriously, y’all are cute as fuck.

  26. Jado says

    Not to put too fine a point on it, but at what age did you first start to feel like you? I mean for a long time you were a kid, then a teenager, then gradually you started to feel like you.

    That’s the starting point for your life. All the rest is the prep work for your life. So start to count from there.

    I think you might find you are a lot closer to 100% than you thought…

  27. AlexanderZ says

    Is that a clock on a chain that you’re wearing? Very formal :)