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Marriage Calculator

When BarnacleJive Software asked me to review Marriage Calculator my first instinct was to respond with the letters L-O-L, but then I figured it would be a good excuse to call my recently-married friend in New York and grill him about marital details that are none of my damn business. I called him alright, but calculating his marriage didn’t even come close to yielding anything juicy and, quite frankly, it was pretty boring.

Marriage Calculator is supposed to compare your circumstances versus statistical data from the U.S. census, the Center for Disease Control (CDC), and studies conducted by universities. It does that… I think… but even after the recent v1.1 update it feels like a pretty shallow evaluation on the scientific scale and a huge snoozefest on the entertainment scale.

These are the factors taken into consideration by Marriage Calculator:

  • State where the marriage takes place (probably assuming you live there, too)
  • Age of each spouse
  • Living arrangement: apart, shacking up, or married
  • How long you’ve known each other
  • Loose estimate of your communication skills on a scale of 1-5
  • Education level
  • Children from previous marriages
  • “Have own children before marriage” (referring to out-of-wedlock bastards, I guess?)
  • Economic class
  • Marital history: never before, married once, widowed, or multiple
  • Religious beliefs
  • Race

Um, this is all great, but I have a big suggestion for BarnacleJive:

MAKE THIS TEST FUN!!!!

Right now it’s about as exciting as filling out a DMV form, and I think most would agree that the iPhone will never be a credible source for a truly meaningful evaluation of a relationship… at least not for people possessing half a brain or more. Marriage Calculator currently provides results based on a 12-point evaluation, but even if it becomes a 100-point evaluation it’s still coming from your damn phone!

I kind of like the idea here, but I think the execution is far too serious and it’s also very limited considering the $1.99 price tag. I can see that Marriage Calculator wants to rise above all those juvenile “love calculators” and provide real info, but I’m not convinced that a market exists for “real” relationship info that’s as sterile as an operating room and generated by a mobile device.

If redeveloping this product were up to me, I’d be looking to strike a balance between fun questions and real data, and I’d also give serious thought to including several “evaluations” in one app to justify the price. After rephrasing the marriage evaluation, I’d throw in a Will-You-Get-An-STD evaluation that uses FUN questions about sexual habits to generate a somewhat realistic assessment based on CDC data. Then I’d write a How-Soon-Will-You-Croak quiz, a Should-You-Be-on-Welfare quiz, and a How-Big-of-a-Slut-Are-You quiz, among others… all phrased in funny ways and based on real data so that I could laugh at my friends with authority at how much they suck. Then I’d pay $1.99! Maybe even more?

For what it’s worth, Marriage Calculator does offer a “lite” version that only asks for state, age, living arrangement, race, and class… not sure how much you can (or want to) glean from that, but it’s free to try.





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