A 10-Year 'Marriage Contract' Could Save Us All From Divorce

marriageWith a divorce rate hovering around 50 percent, a figure I see very clearly in my personal life, it's easy to see why so many people think the current model of marriage is dead. Clearly, this "'til death do us part" stuff isn't working for a whole lot of people and something has to give. After all, why do so few marriages really make it over the long haul?

Writer Emma Johnson discusses this in her latest blog post on Wealthy Single Mommy. She says marriage is dead and we need a new model. In particular, we need a 10-year contract that we can either renew or discard depending on how the marriage is working.

The truth is, she is right. For some people, the old model IS dead. Actually, not just for some people. It isn't working for about half the population. That's a whole lot of people. If half the population were infected by some kind of disease, we would want to cure it, right? But what could really "cure" marriage? Is the idea of "forever" really just dead in the water?

As someone who really IS honest to God, really happily married after 10 years together, I love that this contract idea honors my commitment as much as it honors someone who is less happy.

I love our relationship and probably would say it's the best thing in my life. The shared intimacy, trust, and love I feel are amazing. That said, I think our secret formula IS what this contract implies. We are always reassessing, communicating, and throwing out what isn't working while building on what is.

Part of it may just be luck. That's what a cousin I know who is happily married once told me. Her secret to their 50-year union was simply this: "Dumb luck." The end. But we also manage it. We talk. We take our relationship seriously as the foundation of our family and we move the pieces around to keep our fit.

The truth is, I do know probably more unhappily married couples than I do happily married ones. It's possible human beings are really not meant to stay together 50 years and be totally faithful and passionate. It's possible we were all sold a bill of lies.

The old model really may be dead.

Of course, the first thing is we define our own marriages. No two marriages should look alike. We don't need a marriage "model" so much as we need to accept that our marriages won't look alike. Even now, there is no "model" I am following. I am still happy and he is still happy, so whatever we are doing, we just keep on doing it.

For other people, long-term marriage is just not the solution. They probably could never find a person they would be happy with for life. Just like some women can curl their tongues and others can't and some women can have vaginal orgasms and others can't.

Johnson's solution is a 10-year marriage contract, and the reality is, it really could save marriage. It honors everyone -- those who plan to stay married forever AND those who want to part ways amicably. Sure, there are flaws -- what happens if there is a disagreement over the resigning? But it's also the clearest idea I have ever seen that addresses the realities of marriage. Forever is not working for a lot of people.

What about you? Would you do a 10-year marriage contract?


Image via rosmary/Flickr



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redK8... redK8blueSt8

Marriage is not a contract, it is a covenant. In a contract the two go into it with a "this is what I'll do and this is what you'll do, and if at any time you fail to live up to your end or I simply want out, we'll dissolve the arrangement". Covenant is two going into it saying "I will be with you even though you will fail me and not live up to my expectations, and if one wanst out we'll do whatever it takes to work through and back to each other."

The reason so many marriages fail is because it is viewed as a contract. But it's not marriage that is the failure.

truth... truthrowan

Marriage is a legally binding contract, that's why you buy a license and register it with the state, so that you've arranged arbitration should the contract be broken. Maybe if people treated it like a contract and negotiated responsibilities, responses, and penalties for contract violation to begin with, we wouldn't have the Brittany Spears 23 hour marriage or the Kim Kardashian 70-something day one. Plenty of people treat it as a whim or assume it'll work it's self out. There is little sacred about marriage if you don't treat it sacredly, and in our sue happy society, a legally negotiated contract may be best. 

sssdnm sssdnm

I feel like the percentage is 50% because people have lost their faith. I believe a strong faith along woth trust communication can be enough to make it through. You shouldnt need a contract...that's just bs for people who don't want to be married

BlueJane BlueJane

Sorry, but I went into this marriage with the idea of "til death do us part". Not "let's give it a shot for 10 years and then see if we still like it."

mommy... mommytojack0524

The divorce rate is not a flat 50% for everyone.  Studies show that the divorce rate is lower for those who don't live together before marriage, those who agree on religion, number of children (and how to raise them), and those who aren't in debt. I think if you agree on money, religion, and kids, you can get through a lot of issues.

emmaj... emmajohnson

I'm the author of the original blog post on which Sasha comments -- all of these opinions defend the current status-quo marriage model. But this model has not worked for decades - divorce rates stay abou the same each year and even WORSE is that fewer and fewer people are getting married. You may find that sad and disappointing, but the reality is that the institution of marriage has always changed and evolved along with culture and society. The current model does not work. We need a new model.

nonmember avatar mk

yeah stop giving cash prize incentives to woman for leaving their men and watch the divorce rates plummet. Its skewed divorce laws that need changing and are no longer relevant in today's society.

nonmember avatar Joel

I've been with my wife for 26 years and married almost 21. For the life of me, I cannot figure out what is wrong with people. Marriage is a covenant, and not to be entered into lightly. The problem with today's society is that it's all about "me" and "what have you done for me lately." Maybe when people learn to get over themselves they'll realize there are 2 parts to the equation, neither more valuable than the other. Then, when children are involved the equation becomes larger and each part is lessened to make the whole.

Christine Redhage

This is absolutely effing ridiculous!!!!!! If divorce is a word in your vocabulary before you are even married, then don't think about it. People get married for the wrong reasons in today’s times and don't think about the REAL commitment it is. Marriage is sacred, it is not to be jumped into, it is HARD WORK, and it is compromise, trust, honesty and sex (lots of women forget that for their husbands with kids-spies came first). People get so caught up in their daily lives they forget their spouse needs love and attention too. There are very very few reasons in my eyes that necessitate divorce and those also include jail time. I cannot believe the morals of people today who think that a marriage contract is acceptable and I am not even a God damned Holy Roller by any means!!!!! Some people should just not get married, ever!

nonmember avatar Elaine

Well that's gonna rock for a lot of 10 year old kids or there isn't it?

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