Love contracts are different than pre- and post-nuptial agreements. Instead of a contract about money, the focus is on lifestyle. For example, before Priscilla Chan would move to California to be with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, her now-husband, she insisted that he sign a love contract. Her terms: Zuckerberg would have to spend at least one night a week and 100 minutes of quality time with her — away from Facebook headquarters and his apartment.
Of course, Chan and Zuckerberg aren’t the only famous couple with specific relationship agreements. The most common is fidelity clauses. Or rather, infidelity clauses, like Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake and Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones have; in both cases, the wives stand to get big bucks if their husbands cheat.
My husband and I have what we jokingly call The Stupidity Agreement — ie. don’t do anything stupid, and I won’t leave him. The woman is always right, right? All kidding aside, we’ve never had to enforce it in our 12 years of marriage.
As big fans of “The Big Bang Theory,” we laugh over Sheldon and Amy’s relationship agreement. It outlines details of their relationship including the frequency of date night, when hand holding is allowed, and how to celebrate anniversaries. When I researched the specifics of their contract, I learned that many celebrities have similar agreements. This got me thinking. Would a love contract make my marriage stronger?
After some prodding (and ensuring he wouldn’t get sent to the doghouse), my husband could only come up with at least four solid hours of quality couple time a week — without his phone. As for me, I wouldn’t mind a weekly date night at hip, new DC restaurants. Not as dramatic as Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake infidelity clause, but I’m not Jessica Biel. Though I wouldn’t mind having Justin as my husband for one day. But I digress…
I don’t see my husband and I calling our lawyer to whip up a formal agreement, but I like the idea of non-negotiable lifestyle requirements in a marriage. Marriages require work on both sides to stay healthy and passionate. This becomes harder after having kids.
However, a couple should want to stay faithful or have a weekly date night in order to keep the flames alive — and a binding contract shouldn’t be necessary to make those things happen. Taking marriage vows is essentially a promise to monogamy, right? Or maybe I’m too old-fashioned.
If a contract required me to have sex with my husband once a week, our fun romp in the sheets will become a chore. Especially if there were financial repercussions to breaking our love contract. If sex ever becomes a chore in our marriage, it’s a sign that we’re not doing well. I don’t think I need a contract to remind me that intimacy is important in our relationship.
My husband and I don’t plan on instituting a formal relationship contract anytime soon. We don’t have a lot of money and assets on the line like celebrities do. We do, however, have a healthy respect and love for one another.
And our stupidity agreement.
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