Are 10-Year Marriage Contracts The Best Way To Keep Your Relationship Going Strong?


The idea of getting married for a limited period of time may sound like something out of a dystopian YA novel where characters named something like Oren and Skylark fight a terrifying shadow government that outlaws love and freedom — but according to one relationship guru, it may be time to do away with till death do us part and usher in an era where blushing brides and grooms (dudes can blush nicely too, okay?) sign a ten-year plan and then renegotiate around the nine year mark.

Of course, no one wants to think about getting divorced right before what’s supposed to be the happiest day of their lives, but according to Emma Johnson, who runs a blog called Wealthy Single Mommy, the pre-nup (also very unromantic) shouldn’t be the only contract you sign before taking the plunge into wedded bliss. Instead, she suggests that couples sit down and discuss exactly what they want to happen during the next ten years of their lives, from goals and values to decisions about children. Then, when the years have passed, the couple can sit down and evaluate whether their decision to commit to each other was a solid foundation for another ten years or whether it’s time to call it a learning experience, wholeheartedly thank each other, and then consciously uncouple.

The Sun
reports that this may actually be a sound idea (and it’s now backed by a real live love and relationships expert) because it takes away the pressure of deciding whether a marriage has “succeeded” or “failed” based only on whether the couple stayed together until one partner died or not. Instead, the marriage contract — something that could foster strong communication — can function as a roadmap that allows both people involved to decide how they’re doing and decide if the union is still beneficial or if both parties have learned what they could from each other and must now move on.

From The Sun:

“Surely the goal of marriage shouldn’t be lasting until the end no matter how unhappy we are,” she [relationship expert Dr. Nikki Goldstein] said.

“If two people are no longer making each other happy and have tried as hard as they can to fix their problems, should going their separate ways be considered failure or strength for doing what’s right for them and possibly their children too?”

She said: “It might feel awkward and something a hopefulness romantic like me shouldn’t say, but admitting that a relationship can end in divorce could help you appreciate what you do have in life and love.”

That actually sounds pretty practical when you think about it. And despite all the movies telling us that marriage is about unending love and bliss that should never (ever) cease, the reality of being married is a completely different animal. And sometimes it’s okay to say “we didn’t fail, but this just isn’t working out.”

At least one couple — and probably many more — are already embracing this concept. Katy and Brian, who spoke to The Sun about their upcoming nuptials said that they won’t be including the “till death do us part” portion of the ceremony during their own wedding. That’s because it takes away from being “in the now” and makes marriage a “who can last longer” contest rather than two people coming together to do the best they can while understanding that their partner’s quirks will never go away. (And let’s be honest: sometimes even 10 years is too long with someone who continually pops their gum, eats too loudly, or demands that you watch all movies with commercials because ads are “very relaxing.) (Source: experience.)

Despite how cold and unfeeling all this may seem, it’s also a good way to lessen the stigma of divorce. That’s not to say that all couples will either stay together or part amicably (and some may not even make it the 10 years), but if we make marriage an agreement rather than an imperative that two people stay together forever lest they be branded losers, perhaps marriages will actually become better rather than worse.