Before professional singles sign on the dotted line....
With the decline in marriage as reported by The Atlantic rates, it seems that a new form of making vows is growing in popularity. It's called a love contract, and professional singles entering into new relationships are starting to write up formal agreements outlining the expectations each partner has for the relationship. In these love contracts, couples make promises for how they will treat each other, when they will have date night, and even when or how often they will have sex. Some love contracts even require that one partner lose weight or go to the gym regularly. Though lovers may personally choose to abide by these contracts, they are in no way legally binding.
These contracts might be successful for those that feel they need to have more control in their relationships. They can also act as a form of negotiation or compromise when both parties are willing to sign the contract with the same intentions. Perhaps these contracts can help eliminate unforeseen disagreements, as one partner can merely point out to the other, "But honey, it says in the contract…"
On the other hand, these contracts can also be quite limiting for relationships. For starters, they are not legally binding, so either partner could break the contract with no formal consequences. In most states, it is not legal for one person to control the conduct of another in such a way. In reality, these contracts give people a false sense of control that isn't congruent with actual reality.
To ask a person to make such promises for the future can be detrimental for a relationship. Life is constantly changing. People are constantly growing and evolving. What you want today may not be what you want ten years from now. Creating a love contract can set too high of expectations for your relationship, and may not leave room for each partner to grow separately, nor for the relationship to grow and evolve naturally over time. This can affect the relationship sexually as well. Sex is not something that one wants to do out of obligation. Taking the spontaneity out of the bedroom may take away the excitement and enjoyment of it.
Rather than sign a love contract, it may be more practical and considerate to go into a relationship with a sense of openness and trust. Allowing each person to be themselves and act as they wish, without feeling confined to structured rules and regulations. Professional singles appreciate their freedom and are often more likely to do something when they are told they cannot. If simple marriage vows such as, I promise to be with you for better for worse, in sickness and in health are not holding commitments, it is pretty unrealistic to expect someone to commit to such specific commands as to how much weight one should lose or how much time a couple might spend alone together. A true long-lasting and loving relationship comes from accepting your partner as he or she is and supporting his or her freedom to make his or her own choices.
Do love contracts defeat the purpose of marriage? Let us know what you think about our blog post by sending a message to It's Just Lunch on Facebook.