Our Marriage Contract
I am entering into this contract with full understanding of the exciting risks involved and a willingness to give up unrealistic myths, no matter how cherished:
I understand that nothing is forever; that there are no absolute guarantees, and that NOW is the only real forever.
I understand that “…and they lived happily ever after” exists only in fairy tales. When there are problems, I will not just wait for time to take care of them or for problems to work themselves out eventually. I will be aware of problems and take action to solve them without procrastinating.
I understand that my fulfillment as a person does not ultimately depend upon you or upon any person and even though I commit myself to be with you, I accept my ultimate aloneness and responsibility for myself. I cannot make you happy or unhappy, but I can make myself happy. I will set my own standards and ultimately depend upon myself for approval. I give up the myth that there is a “one and only” who will make me happy.
I understand that freedom defined as no commitments or responsibilities is a myth. When I make commitments to do what I want to do, then I am being free. Freedom to me comes from within — not from you or circumstances around me. There is no freedom without responsibility. By being responsible, I will be free. I cannot own another human being nor can I be owned as a possession of another. Our contract is good only if we achieve maximum individual freedom with the security of predictability.
I understand that there is no absolute equality of standards and characteristics in people who are separate and different; there is equality of rights between people. I give up the myth that our relationship cannot have different standards. We are separate people with our own standards and they must never be fused into one. I will feel pride in myself and my differences from you without competing in an “I win, you lose” sense. I will feel pride in you and your differences from me.
I understand that emotional vulnerability is sometimes a myth. No one can take away my power, which is my capacity to achieve my wishes; no one can control me or make me do anything. Power defined as the capacity of others to manipulate or influence me to do their bidding against my will is a myth.
I understand that there will be pain as well as joy, and I accept the risk of a brief period of grief when we part. I know that I must ultimately give up everyone I love unless I die first.
I will love, honor, respect, but not obey or subjugate myself to you until either of us changes his mind and maintains a change of attitude for a period of one year or until the termination date of the contract.
I will stay with you during bad times as well as good. I will be by your side with caring, kindness, compassion, understanding, consideration and warmth during sickness and disaster as well as during health and periods free of disaster. I will not be counted on for caring and compassion at repeated times of contrived illness or disaster. While I will be strong with you when you feel weak, I expect you likewise to be strong with me when I feel weak.
I will accept you as you are, not attack you or diminish you publicly or privately, or push you to change those things that I do not like about you. I understand the difference between a role (like husband and wife) and a person. I will not diminish you by thinking of you as “the wife” or “the husband”. I will cherish you as a unique person.
I will consistently remember those qualities and traits that are beautiful about you and consistently communicate my love by recognizing your inner beauty and your outer physical beauty through words and action. I will give you from my inner joy, not from duty, in the NOW without feeling that “I have to” or “you owe me”.
I will keep my mind healthy, attractive and lovable. I will expect the same of you and support you fully with my responsiveness and encouragement. Don’t expect me to accept you as you are when you fail to maintain mental attractiveness and fail to take care of your mind. I will expect you to value your mind.
I will keep my body healthy, attractive and lovable. This will be evinced by my grooming, clothing, weight and exercise. I will expect the same of you and support you fully with my responsiveness and encouragement. Don’t expect me to accept you as you are when you fail to maintain physical attractiveness and fail to take care of your body. I will expect you to value your body.
I will ask clearly for whatever I wish from you without feeling that I’m begging, without feeling that I shouldn’t have to ask and without assuming that you can read my mind. I will put myself first. By keeping myself full, satisfied and not hungry, I will have an abundance of joy, love and caring to give to you.
I will not attempt to control or be controlled by money. I will own my separate money and property and enjoy sharing ownership with you of our common money and property. Since you and I are not children, the concepts of giving and accepting an “allowance”, checking up on the other’s money spending and asking permission of the other to spend money are not relevant to our relationship. I will share an equal responsibility with you in understanding and planning our mutual finances.
Whenever we are confronted with a problem, I will resolve my feelings first, and then, with a cool mind, rationally solve any mutual problems with you. I will never consider ending any of our commitments while angry or upset. I understand that you and I in our humanness will make mistakes. I will not expect either of us to be perfect.
I will be reliable so that we will maintain a basis for trust between us. I won’t say that I will do anything unless I truly want to and unless I actually will. While I reserve the right to have private areas of my life that I will not share with you, I will not lie to you either by word or action or by failure to share relevant information that affects our relationship.
I will not give come-on signals to others for sexual relations when I see that you feel threatened. I will count on you to recognize and admire me for my sexuality and attractiveness as a man or woman. I will respond with genuine reassurance when you feel fear of abandonment.
I will respect, accept and appreciate your saying NO. I understand that only by our mutual acceptance of NO will we both be able to say YES and mean it fully. Furthermore, I understand that by our acceptance of NO we enhance each other’s capacity to experience more fully our individuality and separateness within our relationship. While I accept our momentary human response of frustration with disappointment, I will not act rejected, will not sulk or continue to be hurt or angry; nor will I attempt to control your expression of your individuality in any way.
I will accept your bad feelings of anger, sadness, helplessness, and fear as well as your joy. I will listen to your expressions of frustration without taking your feelings as a personal attack and without trying to control your expressions of feeling in any way. We will have good quarrels in which we both win whenever I experience bad feelings that may interfere with our closeness and love. No matter how angry or upset I get, I will never threaten to or actually harm you physically; I will never threaten to or actually harm myself; I will never threaten to or actually abandon you, “drop out” or “go crazy”.
While I will not accept responsibility for your feelings or behavior, I will accept my responsibility to myself for whatever I do with you. I will respond to you with reasonable consideration to cherish and invite you to feel protection from undue pain. I will never ridicule you, tease you or use vengefully what you have trusted me to know about you.
I will leave the past behind. While I will learn from the past, I will not live in it. I will henceforth resolve all bad feelings about our past mistakes and never bring them up to you. I will experience being with you NOW while sharing hopes, dreams and plans for the future.
Since I understand that we cannot be everything to each other, I will respect and value the importance of your having separate play and work activities with separate friends and co-workers. I will respect your confidences and never share with another those things that you share with me privately without obtaining your agreement in advance. I will keep this commitment even should we part.
I will place high priority on our fun together. I understand that for us to want to stay together and be free of boredom, we must share enthusiasm and responsiveness. While I accept my right to withdrawal time and separateness within our relationship and our home, I will not unexpectedly switch on you and withdraw following an explicit or implied promise to share myself with you. I will not take you for granted.
I will value and protect our sexual expression of sharing fun and love. I will not use sex to express anything but love. I will experience closeness and love with you as a person prior to sexual union. I will place high value on our sexual love, and will be open to you sexually. If at times I may not wish to be open, I will not pick a fight, but I will tell you clearly with kindness and consideration.
I will make time consistently available for BEING together for communication, work, fun and love. I will give our time the highest priority. Although my work and our children are important, you are more important; and what I give to myself WITH you is more important.
I will place the highest priority on my loyalty to you. It will be above any other commitments. No matter what demands or enticements confront me, monetary or otherwise, I will not change our location or residence without considering your feelings and ideas and without your full agreement. Nor do I commit myself just to follow wherever you go.
I will share in the parenting experience of providing care, authority and opportunity for our little ones to grow and achieve their own wishes, hopes and dreams. I will leave the question of future children open, and I will discuss and consider your feelings and ideas prior to making a mutually planned decision about children.
This is a living document; I will renegotiate all or any parts of this contract upon serious proposal from you. Lastly, I will commit myself to continuing the work and the acquisition of skill and wisdom involved in keeping our relationship exciting, dynamic and changing to accommodate our personal growth, changes and development throughout the years of our togetherness.