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Individually Negotiated Marriage Contracts

explicitly define your expectations
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Part of the problem with the concept of a "marriage" is that it defines a contract between individuals without defining its terms. As a result, people enter into said contracts with completely different expectations -- a sure recipe for disappointment and conflict. Why not define the expectations for the marriage explicitly and up front? Custom marriage contracts could include terms such as:

- Expected number of children

- Expected amount of income each partner is expected to generate

- Expected frequency of sexual intercourse, as well as any important information about the nature of that intercourse ("Barbara shall never be required to kiss Mr. Willy.")

- Whether or not occasional infidelities are to be tolerated ("Twice per year on business trips. Never with any of Barbara's friends or relatives.").

- Miscellaneous (but important!) terms ("Bob shall not squeeze the toothpaste from the middle. Barabara shall not refer to Mr. Willy as 'your little worm'.").

Terms of the contract could be linked to each other ("Bob shall be guaranteed one additional infidelity per $25,000 over $100,000 gross income that he brings in per year").

Key to the success of this idea is that the process should have an extremely lightweight process for renegotiating its terms. For instance, when the family begins buying toothpaste in hard plastic pump dispensers, Barbara should be able to renegotiate to get Bob to seek help for his snoring instead. Perhaps the contract could be updated online without assistance from a lawyer, as long as both parties can agree on the updated terms.

rigel, Apr 24 2001

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       My mistake, the sun's in my eyes--I thought you were proposing "infinitely negotiated marriage contracts." Nice satire on prenups, though.
Dog Ed, Apr 24 2001
  

       Believe it or not, rigel, people have gone further than this. In this week's New Yorker piece, "So You Want a Divorce," the author introduces us to a man whose current pre-nup covers division of closet space, custody of pets, "number of copulations pre week," and even a cash fine for every pound the unfortunate wife-to-be gains, above her ideal weight.   

       I'd state my honest opinion on all of this, but first I'll have to consult with my lawyer to determine whether doing so in print would constitute a breach of confidentiality ... :)
1percent, Apr 24 2001
  

       as an aside: shouldn't "marriage" be a subcategory under "culture"?
rigel, Apr 24 2001
  

       Prove the breech of contract in a court of law!! Would you audio-videotape every second of your shared lives, every second of the day, every day of the marriage?   

       Most human relations start wiith unknowns, & unaware/ unexplaineds, etc. No lawyer or other profession could at the moment analyse/ record the interactions between two people.   

       Good idea, but in the 21st century, I don't think we have the technology to sustain such a contract.
gz, Apr 25 2001
  
      
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