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I came across a thought-provoking article in China Daily the other day.  Everyone knows what a pre-nuptial agreement is, but in China, many couples are taking it one step further, going so far as to create an actual marriage contract, such as who does what chores, who takes care of the money, etc.  Of course I can't say for sure, but I would feel safe to say that it's probably the women that are initiating these contracts, and while some couples may need them for their own happiness and sanity, any marriage where you have to do something because of contractual obligation rather than love doesn't sound like fun to me.

A significant portion of these contracts deal with the man's behavior outside the home.  Sadly, China's culture does not take a harsh view towards cheating and extramarital affairs, and anyone in China knows that there are ample opportunities for sneaking around, and because of this, Chinese women feel very insecure about their relationships.  Naturally, Chinese women often need more than just a promise of fidelity to set their minds at ease.  However, I don't think a contract such as the one mentioned in the China Daily article is a good idea.

So I decided to draft my own marriage contract.  Of course my wife and I don't have a contract; this contract is just what I think a good marriage should be based around.  My marriage is not perfect by any means, but I believe that my wife and I understand the responsibilities and obligations that we have to each other and to the marriage, and I can honestly say that I feel our relationship is very strong.  My wife sometimes feels a little uneasy with my job as university teacher surrounded by hormonal students, some of whom have made very unsubtle advances towards me, but I always assure her that I love her sincerely and meant it when I said the part in the wedding vows about "forsaking all others."

So here's the contract.  It's not meant to be a serious contract, but I think it covers all the bases and leaves the most important things to the couple's discretion, since love, patience, and understanding are the foundations of a strong marriage, not the threat of penalties and fines.

Marriage Contract
In addition to the traditional wedding vows, the man agrees to the following:

-to never intentionally hurt his wife's feelings, self-esteem, body, or property
-to never belittle or demean her thoughts, actions, or opinions
-to respect, appreciate, and encourage her identity as a woman
-to understand that his wife does not share the same perception about the world as he does, and shall make serious efforts to understand her point of view when possible
-in the event of a quarrel or disagreement, it shall be left to the man's discretion whether to give in to the wife's requests/demands/point-of-view or to stand firm in his position, but he shall be prepared to accept any consequences of his actions, whether rational or irrational
-to agree to the wife's requests when these requests are clearly beneficial to the man's health, job, lifestyle and/or the integrity of the marriage, and to not let his ego interfere with his acceptance of said requests
-to put his wife first in every situation and never conduct any action borne out of selfish motivation if said action will cause negative consequences


In addition to the traditional wedding vows, the woman agrees to the following:
 
-to never intentionally hurt her husband's feelings, self-esteem, body, or property
-to never belittle or demean his thoughts, actions, or opinions
-to respect, appreciate, and encourage his identity as a man
-to understand that her husband does not share the same perception about the world as she does, and shall make serious efforts to understand his point of view when possible
-to give her husband's opinions and ideas sincere consideration and not let her ego interfere with admitting if her husband's idea or opinion is indeed correct
-to allow her husband time, resources, and encouragement to enjoy his own pleasurable pursuits when it is clear that he will enjoy said pursuits responsibly and the enjoyment of said pursuits does not adversely affect the integrity of the marriage
-to put her husband first in every situation and never conduct any action borne out of selfish motivation if said action will cause negative consequences
 

In addition to the traditional wedding vows, the couple agrees to the following:

-all issues related to money, schedules, careers, children, social interactions, and intimate relations shall be discussed calmly, sincerely, and with both parties implementing the stipulations of their individual marital responsibilities as stated above to the fullest extent
-the health, integrity, and enjoyment of the marriage shall be both party's highest priority



 


05/06/2010 12:50

Great contract!!!
I will print a copy for my boyfriend :-)

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