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The (Open) Marriage Contract


an open marriage contract
If you design your marriage as a business, what does the contract look like?

And just for the record: As of this writing, we haven't actually gotten around to filing the papers that will make our company legal. And yet the idea itself has already proven to be profitable, at least in the realm of friendly conversation; everyone we've spoken to about our company seems fascinated, if also a little confused: So… instead of getting married, you're starting a business? Oh-kay.

But I won't kid myself. I imagine that at some point in the near future, I'll explain our alternative marriage arrangement to someone who will laugh and look down on us. Someone who will assume that because we're refusing to become members of the status quo marriage culture, we must be dreamers, and therefore foolish and destined to fail. And when that happens, I'll tell that person the very same thing Carrie told me when I asked her to explain, in the simplest way possible, what this crazy idea meant to her.

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"The mission of the company," she said, "is our success as a couple. So we took something that commonly breaks up marriages—which is finances and money—and we basically turned it into a little project. It's fun!"

Imagine that! A marriage and a business, and both of them fun. I think we might just be onto something.

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Dan Eldridge is a Lonely Planet guidebook writer, the author of Moon Handbooks Pittsburgh (Avalon Travel), and the publisher of Young Pioneers, a magazine about creative entrepreneurs. He lives in Philadelphia, and his website is

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