It may not sound sexy but a love contract may be the perfect way to get clear on expectations.
Do you have a love contract for your relationship?
Many may poo-poo the idea of a relationship contract. After all, the idea was made famous in the "scandalous" erotic novel series "50 Shades of Grey." The wealthy Christian Grey presents his paramour Anna with a formal document with binding terms of agreement, pun intended. Sure. it's easy to dismiss anything coming from a popular book as trendy.
However, it's important to note that anyone in a relationship already has a relationship contract. That's right. There is a sacred contract already in existence between you and anyone you love. Every relationship has terms of agreement.
Why a contract?
When you stand before a judge or religious person in a wedding ceremony and pledge to love, honor and cherish, that is a contract. You are entering into a contract when you say, "You are my girlfriend or boyfriend." What that contract entails is up to you as a couple. Most relationships that end do not work because one partner has broken or betrayed the contract in words or deed.
Communication and clarity are the keys to a healthy relationship. Hiding things, lying or evading the truth are rocks on the path to a bumpy foundation. A written love contract is a clear way upfront to know what each party expects from the other. Withholding information is lying.
So you've decided to act as adults and create a written contract for your relationship? Good! Now what?
Grab a bottle of wine and your favorite meal to decide what's important to you as a couple. This is not the time to pretend or placate the other person. Be upfront about what your needs and concerns are. A good contract is made with full disclosure.
What to include?
Make sure that you are honest about your wants and expectations. Be prepared to compromise. You are not presenting a list of mandates to an employee. You are creating a sacred document. If you change your mind about something, that's okay too. Just let your partner know.
There is nothing too trivial to include in a relationship contract. If you go bonkers when the dishes are dirty or the toilet seat is up, include a provision about that. If you need your partner to cook for you so that you feel loved, include that. If your partner has parents that may show up unannounced, include a proviso about that. This exercise should also prove a reminder for you both not to sweat the small stuff.
There are several key areas that every love contract must include. Shared and individual goals, expectations, living situation, finances and sexuality must be discussed. You can also add sections for socializing, holidays and family obligations. You don't want to wait until you get hitched to learn that your hubbie's godchildren spend every vacation with him or that your in-laws expect you at church with them weekly..
The real deal...
You are not legislating your love. You are legislating the ways that you will behave as a twosome. A relationship exists in the space between you both. There is nothing romantic about "winging it." You deserve a loving partner whose perfectly weird ways match yours. The relationship contract will help you to create a guide for the areas where you may not match.