Relationship contracts are a smart thing to compose when first getting together with someone no matter how crazy you are about each other. They ensure that everyone’s needs are being met and can prevent one partner being at an extreme disadvantage down the line. Because both parties sign them, these contracts also present a great opening for conversation and understanding throughout the time a couple spends together. They’re in no way legally binding, but their meaning can still make all the difference in a relationship. Here’s why you should consider one.
To uphold your personal values
Any choices or actions that are carried out in a relationship need to align with both your values and your partners so that everyone feels respected and understood. Relationship contracts ensure that both parties get equal say in what happens in the partnership and avoids resentment building down the line.
To set boundaries
Boundaries play an important role in helping to mitigate any issues that arise in a relationship. Some common boundaries that need to be talked about are work hours, lines that are willing to be crossed, or even who each partner can associate with. Negotiating and committing to boundaries from both sides is vital in a happy, healthy, long-lasting relationship.
To make your fears known
Many people who are in relationships have fears about the future and sometimes even about their partners. By writing out your fears and making sure your partner understands them and vice versa, you can take those things into consideration when making decisions in the future.
To balance your and your partner’s work/life hours
If you and your partner both work jobs that don’t give you the free time that you’re looking for, this is important to include. Going over vacation days and off days or times when it’s unacceptable to compromise your personal quality time for work can really help avoid fights.
To communicate your relationship needs
Some relationship contracts might include love languages. Some partners need physical touch whereas others might like quality time or words of affirmation. Determining each other’s love languages and communicating about what can be done to satisfy this will be very helpful for both parties. Maybe in your contract saying “I love you” before leaving is important, or having an evening to spend some quality time together might really do the trick.
To aid in arguments
Never going to bed angry is one point that commonly shows up on many relationship contracts. Dealing with issues and problems when they arise and not waiting for the next day to deal with them should be important for couples. Sometimes including this rule in your relationship contract will make this communication easier especially if a big fight occurs. It ensures you’re on the same page and mutually committed to resolving things rather than letting them fester.
To help eliminate social media distractions
With social media being a huge distraction in our lives, many don’t want this to come between them and their partners. A simple rule such as keeping phones away at dinner will give you and your partner the time to communicate and share what went on during the day. Also, not letting social media be a large influence on you and your partner’s lives might make things easier and not as pressured.
To understand the kind of support you both require
By making sure to outline how each couple wants and needs to feel supported, you can avoid being overbearing or not stepping up enough, depending on the situation and your partner’s desires. Some people like being left alone to process issues before they’re ready to talk about them while others can feel abandoned if their partner doesn’t step up and actively try to solve their problems. Knowing where each other stands in this regard is vital.
To keep you and your partner equal
The final reason why some should get a relationship contract written up is to make sure you are both on the same level. It can start off as a strong foundation for some couples while also giving others the ability to evolve. Healthy relationships are always changing, and these contracts can make sure that during that change, things still do stay the same between you in all the ways that matter.
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