Would You Ever Sign A Relationship Contract?
Written by: Yeu-Gynn Yeung
Four years ago, my then-boyfriend and I signed a relationship contract. We’d been dating for about a year and it was time to take a more serious view of our relationship. Unlike Sheldon and Amy’s intimidating relationship agreement from The Big Bang Theory, ours was shorter than you’d expect, with only five clauses, which are paraphrased here:
1) Both parties are mutually exclusive to each other in this steady emotional, physical, spiritual and mental relationship. No third party shall interfere in the said relationship.
2) Both parties must communicate any unspoken issues on the same day, and not hold any ill feelings towards each other to avoid future arguments or resentment.
3) In this context, a ‘steady relationship’ means that both parties will aim for marriage in the near future – which is within four to five years.
4) Both parties will fulfill each other’s emotional, physical, spiritual and mental needs.
5) Both parties will re-read this document together annually, on their anniversary, to refresh their memory of love and commitment towards each other.
We did eventually marry within the said timeframe so I guess the contract worked!
What is a relationship contract?
This contract is a consensual written and signed agreement between two individuals in a relationship. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been dating, because you can draft a relationship contract at any time, especially when you begin to feel like things are getting pretty serious. It’s pretty easy to draft – just gather all your needs and wants from your relationship into a document or write it down, together with your partner, of course. Then, review the finalized contract together before setting a date to sign it, preferably with a witness to make it more official.
A relationship contract communicates both partners’ needs
Here’s the thing about relationships – it’s a beautiful process where two people fall deeply in love with each other, but it can also be a battleground rife with miscommunication. Drafting a relationship contract would at least get both you and your partner’s needs communicated in writing. Most relationship contracts would address what needs to be negotiated in a relationship. It really depends on you and your partner. It could be short contract with a few clauses, or a contract with 10 pages detailing the smallest stuff, like who walks the dog in the evenings. Relationships are conditional in a way, and you’re just making the conditions more explicit with the contract.
A relationship contract helps you make better decisions
If you and your partner are geared towards spending a significant portion of your futures together, consider the life-changing decisions in between, such as marriage, moving in together, having children, or even migrating to a different country. A relationship contract helps you to get to know your partner and their intentions better. When terms and conditions are explicitly stated, you’ll know your partner’s expectations in a relationship, plus their goals and visions for the future. This knowledge helps you and your partner to react accordingly when it’s time to make bigger. A relationship contract helps you feel safe and comfortable with your partner, especially when you know what to expect of each other. You’ll make decisions as a team, and in a relationship, it takes two to tango.
A relationship contract may help you solve conflicts
One of the biggest issues in a relationship is not what is said, but what is not being said. Omission from one partner only causes resentment towards the other. The latter individual may not even know that their partner harbours feelings of resentment. A relationship contract with a clause that encourages effective communication may help you and your partner to solve conflicts before they even happen. This only works if both parties are keen on communicating. Look at it this way – you’ll spend less time arguing and more time cuddling. It’s a win-win!
It’s not a marriage contract, but it’s a commitment nonetheless.
A relationship contract is between you and your partner, although some couples would go as far as to have their document finalized by a lawyer. If you’re not keen on marriage just yet (or like, ever) a relationship contract could be a physical symbol of commitment between you and your partner until the time is right to tie the knot. Let’s be honest, this could be the future of committed relationships for those who are not keen on marriage due to personal reasons. This contract is good for individuals seeking a long-term relationship with each other because it outlines the events that may happen in the future.
A relationship contract may not work for all couples. No two couples are the same, and every relationship has a different wavelength. After all, you can agree to any terms and sign any contract together, but it’s so much more important for you and your partner to be deeply in love and passionate about your relationship. Ultimately, you choose to fall and stay in love with each other every day, and a contract is a physical document that helps you keep your promises. Would you sign a relationship contract with your partner? Let us know!