Contracts are a good way to manage interactions between parties, and get us out of the chaotic state of nature according to Hobbes, but we don’t sign contracts on everything. We often negotiate and write contracts with employers, but we normally leave contractual elements out when developing friendship or romantic relationships because we consider contracts difficult for our feelings in relationships. It is fair to say that contracts really are not the most romantic thing in the world, but they can provide an efficient way to settle down arguments and prevent potential more serious issues in a relationship. In fact, romantic relationship contracts are becoming more and more popular.
During lecture on Tuesday, we discussed which kinds of social relationship should be regulated by contracts and which ones should not. According to the interactive activity results, many of us think that business-related relationships should be under contract whereas personal relationships, either friendship or romantic relationship, are not as compatible to contracts. I feel the same way as most people do: it is way too inconsiderate and cruel to keep a relationship by contracts. However, as there are so many couples getting a prenuptial agreement before getting married nowadays, I have come to think that contractual elements can work just fine with romantic relationships. After a little bit of research, I found that almost all articles out there are talking about why everyone should get a prenup. The following is one of the many videos trying to convince us that prenup is essential for everyone, regardless of the person’s income.
Using contracts to clearly state two parties’ responsibility in a romantic relationship can solve many serious problems that could lead to a breakup, just as a social contract can pull us out of state of war as Hobbes put it. In terms of finance and household management in a romantic relationship, especially in marriage, contracts can be extremely helpful. This article from Huffington Post discusses more aspects that a contract in romantic relationships can become helpful. The process of writing up a contract gives the couple a chance to think about their married life realistically, understands what your loved one really wants and needs, and in turn significantly reduces their amount of future quarrels and conflicts. Therefore, romantic relationships can actually benefit from the “cold” contracts by addressing all issues clearly beforehand.
Due to the public’s growing knowledge in family law and their right in marriage, more and more people consider signing prenup as an indispensable procedure of getting married. However, relationship contracts not intended for marriage are also necessary, because they can prevent you from spending too much time arguing over details in lifestyle and encourage you to spend those time knowing more about each other and enjoying each other’s company. A relationship contract like the one Sheldon signed with Amy in The Big Bang Theory should really become one of the things you want to consider when starting a serious relationship. Some people argues that this kind of relationship contract is indeed very romantic, and you can also find some suggestions of what you could put in the contract in this article. This other article also talks about what kinds of contract you may find attractive for a relationship before getting married.
Admittedly, signing a relationship contract may not be an ideal start for your plan of a romantic relationship, but I believe that it was just as hard, if not harder, for citizens to gather together and come up with a social contract that can improve our life compared to the state of nature. So just be brave, become a trend setter, and sign the relationship contracts.