Having a relationship contract, also referred to as a relationship agreement, is advisable for all couples, and it doesn’t matter if you’re married or not. This agreement is also either unwritten or written and helps make the romantic relationship not involve impulse and guesswork. And while this spontaneity is what makes a relationship exciting and fun, having a relationship contract is also necessary for it to flourish even further.
If you don’t see the need for the relationship contract, look no further. This guide is an in-depth look at what the relationship contract entails, and without further ado, here’s an overview of everything you need to know.
What Is a Relationship Contract?
The relationship contract is a written and legal document that states the duties and rights of each party in the relationship. It does this by clearly explaining what the different parties owe each other once they accept the terms. The purpose of this document is to guide the couple on how to manage things during and after their relationship.
Several essential details ought to be included in the relationship contract, and these are;
- Payment of consumer bills
- Debt payments
- Individual expectations
The relationship contract is enforceable by law should any couple fail to fulfill or adhere to the duties as laid out in the contract’s terms and conditions. Having this agreement also helps you know what type of relationship the persons in the relationship are hoping to have and be more aware of the other person’s interests. In addition, the relationship contract helps plan how the couple’s wealth would be managed should one pass away.
Relationship Contract Examples and Templates
Benefits of a Relationship Contract
With the relationship contract in place, you enjoy a myriad of benefits. Here’s a deeper look at some of the benefits you’ll enjoy by having a written relationship contract;
Holding open communication among any couple is essential for the relationship to be successful. After all, no relationship can survive if the partners don’t communicate with each other. With a relationship agreement in place, you and your partner will be in a position to make better decisions as your desires and ideas are put down on paper. And with your aspiration known to your partner, your relationship becomes a lot stronger as you know each other’s long-term plans.
For any romantic relationship to thrive, honesty and openness are critical among both partners. The relationship agreement promotes this as it’s written with both the parties having an idea about it. This allows you and your partner to know what exactly matters the most in your relationship.
With everything that matters most to both partners already on the table, confrontations in the future are avoided altogether. This helps avoid frustrations, constant fighting, and you won’t, later on, develop resentment for your partner.
Transparency And Alignment Of Your Intentions
Having clarity on matters such as money, sex, religion, and children, while often very conflicting, is essential if your relationship will stand the test of time. Writing down the relationship contract helps promote this by helping you and your partner align your mutual desires. This way, no party in the relationship feels they’re being taken for granted, and their needs are being ignored.
The best way of avoiding such scenarios is by engaging your partner in an honest conversation and drafting a relationship contract. This helps prevent avoidable insecurities and misunderstandings that may happen later in the future.
Helps You Know Your Partner’s Needs
You need to know your partner’s emotional, physical, sexual, and spiritual needs if you want your relationship to be strong. There’s no better way of learning about this than by writing down a relationship contract. This will help you know how you can work as a couple to achieve these needs together.
Arriving Vs. Sliding
Making relationship decisions such as whether to get married or if to move in can often overwhelming. This can if you both don’t arrive at such a decision mutually, and one party feels compelled into it rather than willing. With a relationship contract in place, you’ll be able to know whether you’re sliding into an important relationship milestone because it’s the next logical step or a decision you feel it’s the right time to make.
Before Signing a Relationship Contract
The goal of the relationship contract is to state the limitations or guidelines of the relationship because each party has its wealth or assets. Because of this, there’s a need to have a social practitioner such as a lawyer when signing this contract. But before it gets to signing the relationship contract, several things need to be done, including;
- Arriving at a decision, you want a relationship contract. As you do this, make sure to take your time and get it at the most appropriate time while being honest about the contract’s seriousness.
- You and your partner should write down your wishes separately to prevent the contract from being one-sided and only indicating one person’s wishes. Before you sign this relationship contract, take your time to identify what will be included and what shouldn’t. You should check out a relationship contract template to have a rough idea of the things to be include.
- Not including consequences if an individual violates the contract and should instead raise this issue politely; after all, human is to error.
- Relationship contracts aim to help avoid possible conflicts arising from responsibilities and division of house chores. Therefore, you need to detail the challenging duties as this contract’s primary purpose is to resolve different types of disagreements and avoid them from happening again. While this might be hectic and tiresome, it will undoubtedly make your relationship fun and easier in the future.
- An expiration date should be included, and once it reaches, each party can choose what other procedures should be added to the relationship. Because of this, it’s recommended that you formulate a relationship contract while your relationship is still at its early stages.
What to Include
You can include many details in the relationship contract, and they usually differ from one couple to another. This is because your relationship usually depends on past events and your future goals. With that said, here are some essential details that should always be included in your relationship contract;
- Finance and Property Details: The contract should clearly state all the properties that belonged to each spouse before the relationship.
- Dispute Resolution. The relationship agreement should explain an agreed-upon dispute resolution method. While couples have opted to use the court system to resolve their issues in recent years, it would be best to use a different route like mediation or arbitration if mediation doesn’t seem to bear any fruits.
The contract should also include other ways such as organizing date nights, sharing house chores, not having any secrets, knowing how to manage your time together and when with friends, and how you’ll share your families during the holidays.
- Expenses. How the expenses should be handled in the relationship also needs to be indicated. Such costs may include laundry, daily utilities, food, transport, and many others.
- Separation or Death. It’s also essential to have a short description of the action to be taken in the event of separation or death. In the event of separation, you may decide to share the property either as per each person’s contributions or equally from the time you’ve been together. If one partner dies, the wealth should remain within the control of the living partner.
How to Write
When writing the relationship contract, here are some of the things you should observe;
- Be trustworthy and honest, as this is a vital ingredient for any relationship to succeed. It’s also important to listen to your partner’s desires and thoughts as the contract is meant for you two.
- Each of you should write down your wishes separately. You also need to have a clear grasp of the things you want for your relationship and share this with your loved one. Know the things that might bring about undermining in your relationship.
- Take time to go through the relationship contract carefully, and this makes it a living document. Any changes you constantly add over time with your partner will benefit you and your partner.
- Use this contract as a way of communicating politely and effectively with your partner. This is vital as mistakes are part of a relationship, but they shouldn’t be restricting elements in your relationship.
- You shouldn’t be overly concerned with the consequences. The relationship contract isn’t meant to force the other party into submission.
Consequences of Breaking Your Relationship Contract
The relationship contract shouldn’t be a set of guidelines and intentions which should be followed at all times. Greater emphasis needs to be placed on specific issues to ensure your relationship does succeed. However, this might not be possible in your daily lives as it may not be realistically possible.
If both of you are involuntarily breaking your relationship contract, remind each other lovingly of the violation. After that, do your best to try and abide by the relationship agreement moving forward.
Every couple should consider having a relationship contract as it discusses crucial details, which many often overlook yet essential to strengthening the relationship. This post has highlighted everything you should know about writing the relationship contract.