Should You and Your Partner Make a Relationship Contract?

Should You and Your Partner Make a Relationship Contract?

Written by Edith Sánchez

Last update: 14 October, 2022

It’s very romantic to talk about couples and their sweet words and romantic gestures. These are some of the most beautiful aspects of relationships. But over time, partners tend to cut back on all these romantic gestures. If this happens, perhaps a relationship contract might help.

When couples have to deal with the routines of everyday life, there are many expectations that they need to readjust. Although their love is still alive, day to day life is full of small difficulties that they have to deal with. If they don’t do so, problems may arise.

“A great marriage is not when the ‘perfect couple’ comes together. It is when an imperfect couple learns to enjoy their differences.”

-Dave Meurer-

Living together strengthens the romantic bond but, at the same time, it can create situations that can damage it. In short, both partners have different pasts, different customs, and different ways of acting. Thus, adapting isn’t always easy.

At the same time, as the days, weeks, and years go by, love also changes. As a result, there are times when it seems that it’s no longer alive. Additionally, crises appear and with them the question of whether it’s really worth moving forward. Relationships are always built on an implicit contract. But is it a good idea to make an explicit relationship contract? One that protects the bond from the erosion of those crises?

The relationship contract and implicit agreements in a couple’s relationship

Every couple needs agreements in order to live together peacefully. Usually, they arise spontaneously and in no particular order. As different situations arise, the couple makes partial agreements and each side decides whether or not to follow them.

A relationship contract has many benefits.

Most agreements are implicit. However, they’re not always reasonable. Many times, one of the partners yields to the other’s demands. In particular, they do so because they don’t want to start a fight or consider it a lost cause. Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean that they feel comfortable with the situation.

Living together causes tension. However, this tension can become critical if one of the partners refuses to fulfill their role. Not only in those small deeds such as daily tasks, but also in more profound aspects. For example, fidelity, attention, and consideration towards the other person, as well as being emotionally available.

In many areas, they’re also implicitly broken. Consequently, arguments break out about whether the agreements existed or not or that the offender didn’t understand said agreements. Couples shouldn’t just base their relationship contract on i mplicit agreements.

Explicit agreements

Some couples have decided to change these implicit rules and write things down on a relationship contract. The things they write down go far beyond agreeing on who takes the dog for a walk or who cleans the bathroom on weekends. Namely, they cover more profound subjects. For example, what sanctions apply in case of infidelity or what will happen if there’s emotional abandonment.

The New York Times recently published the testimony of a couple who made a guidebook. This guidebook was a relationship contract that contained a set of rules to guide them. They ranged from task and time distribution to money issues. Likewise, they also set rules in case of illnesses and even how to talk about sensitive issues. The couple said that this guidebook has yielded amazing results.

Sometimes it's a good idea to keep explicit agreements in a relationship contract.

Would it be worthwhile for every couple to draw up a contract that reflects their own code of conduct? Or is it a way of reducing spontaneity instead of a realistic means of dealing with the fact that love also implies decisions and will?

The discredited middle ground

For some people, perhaps those types of relationship rules are completely viable options. However, for other people, it’s possible that an agreement of this kind would be hard to accept. But there’s no denying that it could work.

Living with another person is definitely much easier when the rules of the game are clear for all parties. In particular, this avoids unnecessary conflicts and allows for a more civilized way of dealing with responsibilities and duties. In that sense, a relationship contract that a couple agrees on can help the relationship flourish and make living together much easier.

The needs of both partners are take into account in a relationship contract.

Despite this, there’s more at play in relationships than just agreements. Many subconscious feelings, emotions, and expectations also come into play. Above all, the love between a couple can never be reduced to just simple rules.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.