I’ve long believed that marriages and relationships should have reviews; something along the lines of annual reviews at a job. I think that annual reviews would be too much and everyone would grow weary of them. However, I think a review every few years would make people try harder and really focus on their relationships.
I look at this way… In our fast paced world, relationships often get pushed off to the side (I’m pretty horrible in this regard). If marriages or committed relationships started off with a contract of sorts (not unlike a prenuptial agreement) where everything was clearly spelled out, repercussions were also clearly spelled out and relationships came up for renewal every 7 years or so, I think things would be better. Not saying relationships would be easier to get into or out of, but it would make people think harder and focus. Divorce would be the same, but you can opt out and not renew a contract after one expires. If a contract wasn’t renewed, then a divorce or a breakup would occur.
I envision the contract something like this:
• XX agrees to wash the dishes daily.
• XX agrees to go on a minimum of __ vacations annually (budget allowing).
• XX agrees to take the garbage out.
• XX agrees to give back rubs __ times per month.
• XX agrees to cook dinner __ times per week. XX agrees to cook dinner __ times per week.
• XX agrees to not complain about XX going out to watch ball games __ times per month. If XX goes out more than __ times per month, then XX will take XX out to dinner to account for the additional ball games.
• XX agrees not to complain about XX going out for girls’ nights __ times per month. If XX goes out more than __ times per month, then XX will not complain when XX goes out with the guys __ times.
• XX agrees to purchase flowers __ times per year unrelated to anniversaries, birthdays and other holidays.
• XX agrees to attempt to learn about sports.
• XX agrees to x number of movie/cuddle nights.
• Both XX and XX agree to take good physical care of themselves and do their best not to gain more than __ pounds. This is not a reflection on physical attraction, but on health. If either person gains weight, no derogatory comments will be made, only support in regard to getting back to health.
• Both XX and XX agree not to make purchases of more than $___ without consulting the other person. Budgeting decisions need to be make calmly and as a team.
• Both XX and XX agree to not hide money from one another.
• If either XX or XX is hit on by another person, they can talk about the situation with the other without fear of reprimand. Neither may act on any desires outside of the relationship. If either person acts on a desire with someone outside of the relationship, the relationship contract is immediately null and void.
• Both XX and XX agree to focus on giving one another compliments – at least one daily.
• Both XX and XX agree to say, “I love you,” as often as possible.
Of course, these are just ideas and a starting point, but should bring the focus back into the relationship.
The contract would also force people to talk about things. If times have become difficult, it may be a little easier to say, “Remember? Here, look! Page 2, paragraph 3, line 7. You agreed to do XYZ.”
We all forget things, wouldn’t it be great to have a signed document to refer back to? And even better to say, “Your performance is slacking, respectfully speaking, of course. I’m putting you on probation according to Items 3, 9, 11, 12, 15, 18, 27, and 33. If you don’t pick things up, I’m not sure I’m going to renew your contract. I think we both have a lot of thinking to do. It’s been a good 6-1/2 year run, but I’m not sure it’s working.”
Or for those more positive people — “You have been fantastic these past 6-1/2 years! Your performance has been exceptional! Particularly in regard to Lines 4, 7, 10, 14, 17, 20, 21 and 24. I propose we have a 10 year contract rather than 7. What do you say?”