originally Posted April 22, 2014
It’s always a beautiful thing when two people who have a mutual attraction toward one another can come together and agree to commit to each other in a union that will ideally shape each individual into a better person through love. In the beginning, everything is fresh and those feelings of butterflies from having something new and exciting can often lead to rushed decisions and overlooking certain habits or traits that could develop into deal breakers later in the relationship.
One common issue that sends relationships down the road of brokenness is a lack of communication. It happens too often that people dive head first into a relationship before having those necessary conversations about what the relationship standard will be. I like to call this standard the “relationship contract”.
What Is a Relationship Contract?
So what exactly is in this “relationship contract” and why is it so important? I’m glad you asked! The relationship contract is a set of rules that you and your partner decide upon as the guidelines for your relationship. A relationship can be as open and as free as you want it to be, or as discreet and closed off as you want to make it. The main focus is placing your ideas and concerns on the table to discuss them.
- What are your opinions about friends of the opposite sex?
- Can your partner still be involved with people they were once intimate with?
- Is this relationship one that will move towards marriage, or is it one that you just want to float with the wind to see where it goes?
- What role does social networking play in your relationship dynamic?
- Do you place pictures online of your developing love?
- Do you keep your relationship off of the social sites and live in reality?
Raise as many questions and place as many things on the table for discussion as possible. Leave no stone unturned and no topic that may be important to you undiscussed. There may be some things that your partner believes that you don’t agree with, and it is at that point of disagreement that a compromise must be made before moving forward.
When two individuals come together on a common ground to agree to make a union work, there will be differences of opinions about what is acceptable within a relationship. Each person brings their unique set of past experiences, baggage and preconceived notions about relationships to the table and this is why it is important to have these talks before moving forward in a relationship.
You wouldn’t sign a contract and agree to a deal before reading the fine print and negotiating portions of the agreement that may not be favorable to you, so why would you treat a romantic relationship any different? Taking the time to step outside of those feelings of joy and happiness to sincerely analyze the person you are about to take a leap of faith with isn’t going to lessen how you feel about that person. It will simply give you a realistic idea about if this person fits into your lifestyle.
Sometimes, we just want to fall in love and let everything develop into whatever it is supposed to be. However, when lines are not drawn into the sand and each person doesn’t have a clear understanding of what it is they are entering into, lines get crossed, assumptions are made and each person is led to believe the situation is something different from what is actually being lived in reality.
- Make a commitment to develop your “relationship contract” before deepening the bond of your next relationship.
- If you are currently in a relationship, it isn’t too late to have a discussion with your partner about your standards and expectations.
- The contract can simply be a spoken agreement with your partner, or you can take it a step further and draw up an actual contract on paper that each of you agree to sign and uphold for the duration of your relationship.
- It’s always a good idea to revisit the contract as time passes. Just as the seasons change, personal opinions and standards change and can have a negative effect on the relationship if those new changes aren’t worked into the union.
The possibilities are endless, but the decision is ultimately yours. It’s all about clear and effective communication to make your union the most awesome partnership that it can be!