Resolving Conflict with Relationship Math

Each day I work with wonderful couples; courageous women and men, all striving to be their best selves. They all struggle with a mathematical equation we should have been taught at school. When you learn it, your relationship can thrive!

The Critical Math Equation They Didn’t Teach You at School!

Love is easy, right?

Yeah … tell that to the couple who have just had another raging argument!

If that sounds familiar, please don’t despair. Some simple math that you weren’t taught at school can help you understand and address your relationship struggles.

Each of us has many parts.

At our core is our authentic self we are born with—the beautiful, calm, kind, caring, confident, trusting SELF.

When you and your partner’s authentic SELVES pitch up at the same time your greatest hopes come true. Life is good, and you enjoy a loving and fulfilling relationship.

But we have other parts too. They originated in times of stress and distress, often when we were children. Their job is to help us survive. We don’t like these parts … they can be downright nasty, they tend to get us in trouble and are highly active in relationship disputes.

These other parts are seriously committed to protecting you. They are selfishly dedicated to YOU!

The problem is that only one of your parts can be leading at any one time.

When your authentic SELF leads, life is very good! When one of your other parts is in control, you’re not necessarily the nicest person to be around. I’m sure that you know very well what that looks and feels like!?

Now, here is the mathematics that will upgrade your relationships and your life!!

Imagine that you have only two parts … your authentic SELF, and one other that we’ll call your “not-so-good part“. Imagine that your partner also has two parts, one authentic and one not-so-good.

The unmoderated probability of your and your partner’s authentic SELVES both leading at the same time is 1 in 4.

More accurately, there are four possible combinations when you are together. There’s a 1 in 4 chance of both your authentic SELVES pitching up; a 1 in 4 chance that your authentic SELF pitches up and your partner’s not-so-good part; a 1 in 4 chance of your not-so-good part pitching up to meet your partner’s authentic SELF; and a 1 in 4 chance of both of your not-so-good parts pitching up. You are probably painfully familiar with this last scenario … it is generally a very bad day!

I know this math may seem complicated. What it really means is that it is likely that you will have a partial, or complete mismatch on 3 out of 4 days, or in 3 of 4 conversations!

Actually, this simple equation grossly underestimates the problem. In my experience, most of us have at least 4 other parts.

In this more realistic case, you will have a partial, or complete mismatch on almost every day in an average month! That’s only one or two good days a month!

It’s no wonder relationships are SO DIFFICULT!!

But there is good news …

With courage, patience, skilled insight and training, we can increase the likelihood of pitching up with our authentic SELF in control. I call this Personal Mastery … when our authentic SELF is the leader of our parts. Others have called this “flow”; the state in which life moves forward effortlessly.

When you work with a coach trained in this specific methodology, you will learn to identify and understand your parts. You will learn about the situations where your not-so-good parts take over, and you will learn and practice keeping your authentic SELF in the lead.

Then, you will stand a much better chance of achieving harmonious, productive relationships.

I hope that you will complain to your high school teachers for omitting this vital equation from your curriculum. I hope that you will have the courage to explore your inner world, either alone, or with your life partner. I hope that you will experiment with this Marriage Math!

This is the pathway to a balanced and integrated life, with loving and rewarding partnerships.

Have fun,


Dr. Roddy Carter, MD, has over 30 years of experience working across a range of medical disciplines and corporate settings. 

At the height of his successful career, Roddy experienced his own health and happiness crisis. During this profoundly transformative time, he began applying his deep knowledge of performance neuroscience to his everyday life. He discovered that, in moments of trauma, the brain develops intricate psycho-protective adaptations to ensure our short-term survival; however, these adaptations often impose substantial residual limitations, create distress, and prevent us from reaching our full innate potential. 

Today, Roddy is an author and executive coach dedicated to helping others unlock their full potential by applying compassionate neuroscience and sharing his unique approach to Personal Mastery™. 

To learn more about Roddy and his coaching services, and to follow his blog, visit You can find his books, BodyWHealth and Sunset Lessons, on Amazon.