As Mandy and Mark sit across from each other, they review their relationship and the changes they would like to make. This is not uncommon for couples – in fact, evaluating where you are in your relationship is a great way of improving and making any necessary changes. However, not many couples have a ‘four-page, single-spaced document’ signed by both parties, valid for 12 months.
But Mark and Mandy do.
Composing a relationship contract probably sounds unromantic and suspiciously controlling, but is it the trick to keeping a relationship alive?
The contract begins similarly to the start of a wedding ceremony.
“It begins with our reasons for being together. The terms range from the familiar, we will take care of each other when one of us is sick to the fanciful, if we’re both sick, it’s all up to the dog,” Mandy recalls.
The contract is split into categories which cover everything from the eventual big milestones in their relationships such as a marriage, which they mutually agreed was an ‘ongoing topic of conversation’, to smaller decisions such as who will walk the dog every morning. This contract offers a transparency that some couples may find uncomfortable.
“We wanted to take nothing for granted, which has meant having the kinds of conversations I previously avoided…For example, we wrote that we agree to be monogamous because, right now, monogamy suits us,” Mandy said.
Even though the contract sounds like a timetable for grown-ups, it manages to explore the small things both parties want to see in their relationship.
“It was important to me to eat breakfast together because this was something my family did growing up, so we put that in writing,” said Mandy.
The notion of the relationship contract is often met with controversy and uncertainty. But are we making a misjudgement?
Sure, committing to do things a certain way in your relationship for 12 months may be extreme, but it also presents an opportunity for couples to learn more about each other.
Mandy has certainly benefitted from the contract.
“It’s amazing how empowering this can feel: to name your desires or insecurities, however small, and make space for them.”
It seems the relationship contract can give couples the ability to plan and have an honest conversation about what they want from each other. Yes, perhaps scheduling every little detail is not the wisest option, especially as life is one big, unpredictable ride! But on the other hand, the contract can introduce an interesting dynamic into a couple’s relationship.
Either way, the relationship contract will continue to mystify many with its modern but somehow extreme approach to love.
To read the full article about Mandy’s story click here.
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