Do you remember that scene from The Big Bang Theory when Sheldon and Amy signed a relationship agreement? If you do, you’re not alone. The episode sparked a debate about the practicality and feasibility of relationship agreements. While some people see them as unromantic, others see them as a way to set clear expectations, avoid misunderstandings, and strengthen the bond between partners. So, what are relationship agreements, and why are they trending?
Relationship agreements, also known as love contracts, may sound like something out of a corporate HR manual, but they’re anything but. They’re a written contract that outlines the terms and conditions of a romantic relationship, designed to help couples build a stronger, happier, and more fulfilling partnership.
Love contracts can cover a wide range of topics, from communication and intimacy to finances, household chores and pet care. Some agreements are very detailed and specific (Sheldon and Amy’s was 31 pages,) while others are more general and flexible. The primary purpose of these agreements is to avoid misunderstandings, prevent conflicts, and set clear expectations for both partners.
While not a new concept, relationship agreements are starting to trend. With the rise of social media, dating apps, and online resources, more couples are discovering the benefits of these agreements and tailoring them to suit their unique needs and preferences. Some even use templates or apps to create and update their agreements.
One significant advantage of relationship agreements is their flexibility. Couples can customize their agreements to fit their unique needs and values. For instance, if one partner has a different cultural or religious background, the agreement can address how to integrate both traditions. If one partner values alone time, the agreement can include a clause that allows for solo vacations or hobbies. If one partner is allergic to cats, the agreement can specify that the other partner should not adopt a cat without consulting them first.
Of course, relationship agreements are not a one-size-fits-all solution and may not be suitable for everyone. Some couples may find them too restrictive, impersonal, or legalistic. Others may feel uncomfortable or intimidated by the idea of a contract. It’s important to approach relationship agreements with an open mind, a collaborative attitude, and a sense of humour.
Before they start, couples should first discuss the purpose and scope of the agreement, including any non-negotiables or deal-breakers. Next, they should set a positive and respectful tone by using “I” statements instead of “you” statements and avoiding criticism or blame. Additionally, couples should be honest and transparent with each other, sharing their feelings, thoughts, and preferences openly. Finally, couples should be flexible and open to change, as agreements can be updated, changed, or terminated if necessary.
So, whether you’re a newlywed or a long-term partner, a monogamous or a polyamorous couple, or a same-sex or opposite-sex pair, you can benefit from a relationship agreement that reflects your values, goals and aspirations.
Love by the contract might not be for everyone, but for those who choose it, it can be the best contract they’ll ever sign.
A quick guide to create your love contract
Here’s a fun and quirky guide to creating a relationship agreement:
Step 1: Grab some popcorn and put on your favorite rom-com movie. You’ll need some inspiration and a good laugh before diving into the serious stuff.
Step 2: Brainstorm with your partner about what topics you want to cover in the agreement. Will it be about communication, intimacy, money, or chores? Make a list of the most important things you want to agree on.
Step 3: Create a fun name for your agreement, such as “The Love Manifesto,” “The Couple’s Constitution,” or “The Relationship Roadmap.” You can also make a cool logo or design to make it official.
Step 4: Use positive and clear language in the agreement. Instead of saying “You’re not allowed to do this,” try “Let’s agree to do this instead.” Use “we” and “us” instead of “you” and “me” to emphasize teamwork and collaboration.
Step 5: Don’t forget to include some fun and romantic clauses in the agreement. For example, you can include a monthly date night, a surprise gift once a year, or a weekend getaway every six months. The agreement shouldn’t be all about rules and obligations.
Step 6: Review and revise the agreement regularly. Relationships change, and so do your needs and preferences. Don’t be afraid to update the agreement as needed and discuss any concerns or ideas with your partner.
Step 7: Sign the agreement and celebrate with a toast or a high-five. You did it! You created a fun, quirky, and practical way to strengthen your relationship and show your love and commitment to each other.
Remember, a relationship agreement doesn’t have to be boring or formal. You can make it as fun, quirky, and creative as you want. Just be sure to communicate clearly, listen actively, and respect each other’s feelings and needs. Happy contract writing!