What Is a Marriage Contract?

According to the Legal Information Institute, marriage has three essential elements: (1) the couple’s legal aptness to marry, (2) the consent of both parties, and (3) a written marriage contract. In earlier times, marriage was a vital element that preserves the community’s morality. Traditionally, a husband’s role is to provide for his family’s basic needs, such as a house to live in, clothes to wear, and food to eat. The wife’s responsibility is to take care of the home, meet his husband’s sexual desires, and rear up the children. However, today, those legal obligations don’t apply to all marriages because of the changes happening in society. A marriage contract or a marital contract is an agreement that legally binds a husband to one wife and a wife to one husband. Once a person is married, he/she can only legally leave his spouse by divorce, annulment, or death. Note that marriages happen between all cultures, genders, and races. Also, generally speaking, marriages can either be Catholic or Islamic.

Statista reports that in 2018, the rate of marriage in the U.S. stood at about 6.5 marriages per 1,000 people.

That is a significant decrease compared to the 1900s, where the rate was 9.8 weddings per 1,000 people.

When we speak of same-sex marriage, Gallup reports that in 2017, one out of ten or 10% of the LGBTs living in the U.S. were married.

Facts About Relationships Every Couple Should Know

Not all relationships are the same, and researchers believe that the success of a relationship depends on some predictors. So, here are some facts about relationships every couple must know before they marry.

The honeymoon phase only lasts for a year. This fact is according to a study conducted by the University of Pavia, Italy. After a year, the chemicals in the body that give an individual strong that romantic feeling starts to lessen. Helen Fisher, an expert psychologist, says that there is no exact time for those romantic feelings to fade, and she believes it happens for “evolutionary” reasons. She further says, “It is metabolically costly to spend one’s whole life in focusing those intense feelings on a single person.”Two individuals can be incompatible or compatible on several levels. Eric Berne, who was a Canadian psychologist in the years 1950s to 60s, established a three-leveled model concerning an individual’s identity. He found out that every person has multi-leveled ego states functioning at once: the parent, the child, and the adult. Berne believes that a person relates to his/her partner on each level. The parent represents a person’s point of view regarding the world, while the child represents a person’s spontaneity, happiness, and playfulness. Moreover, the adult represents a person’s problem-solving skills. Note that couples are compatible when they level each other out. For example, the wife may be playful while the husband is firm.Best friends who marry are the happiest. According to a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research in 2014, marriage improves an individual’s overall well-being, mainly when founded on friendship. Marriage itself increases the well-being of a person, but marriage combined with friendship increases it more.The lesser the age gap difference, the better. A study involving 3,000 married Americans found that age variance has a close connection with the conflict in marriages. Megan Garber says that a one-year age gap between couples increases the likelihood of divorce by 3%, a 5-year gap increases by 18%, and a 10-year gap by 39%.Couples who celebrate each other’s accomplishments will have a healthier relationship. In several studies, couples who celebrate their achievements actively have a better relationship. For example, a husband comes home and tells his partner about his promotion. An active and encouraging way to respond would be to show enthusiasm by saying, “Wow, sweetheart! I knew that was coming. You gave your all.” The worst response would be to disregard the goods news and change the topic by saying, “What? Well, something crazy happened to my friend today.”Chores have a big impact on relationships. More than 60% of Americans agree that doing house chores play a significant role in a lasting marriage. The co-author of the book It’s Not You, It’s the Dishes, Paula Szuchman suggests a married individual who’s good at a chore should do that particular chore. In that way, both couples will save some more time for other matters.People have higher standards now when it comes to marriage. According to Eli Finkel, a psychologist from the Northwest says that marriage in the U.S.underwent three stages. First is the institutional marriage, next is the companionate marriage, and from 1965 onwards is the self-expressive marriage. During the Elizabethan era, which was way before the 1850s, people married to protect their social status. After that period, people longed for companionship in their partners. In the ’60s, people started to yearn for fulfillment in their relationships, even until today.Couples who test their relationship before marriage have insecurities. The University of Denver researches in their 2009 study found out that unmarried couples who cohabited had other reasons besides testing their relationship before signing a marriage agreement. Moreover, in the study, couples who claimed to test the relationship cultivated more negative emotions. Among the subjects, men were prone to anxiety and depression while women to abandonment anxiety. Both sides were not confident about their relationships.The financially dependent partner is prone to cheating. The University of Connecticut’s research shows that an individual dependent on his/her partner is more prone to infidelity. That fact is most real for a husband who depends economically on his wife. Fascinatingly, when wives act as breadwinners, the less likely, they are to cheat. When their husbands are the breadwinners, they will probably cheat.Couples who value each other undoubtedly will stay together. Erin Brodwin from Business Insider reports that gratitude is the key to a lasting relationship. In one study conducted by the University of North Carolina, participants had to keep personal diaries where they can record the things their partners do for them. Couples who showed appreciation and gratefulness felt a stronger bond. Also, another study shows that grateful couples are more likely to stay together for another nine months.

How To Preserve Your Marriage and Live a Happy Married Life

It takes effort to protect, strengthen, and develop a marriage. When work, children, chores, and other responsibilities worry a couple, it can be challenging to maintain their partnership. When conflicts arise, couples tend to file for divorce rather than work on the relationship. So, here are steps to avoid divorce if you are the type who wants to preserve your marriage.

Step 1: Don’t Even Think About Divorce

Thinking about divorce can still affect your relationship, even if they remain there. The fact is, the idea itself can reduce your motivation to strengthen your marriage. To fight this idea, make a final decision about not considering divorce as an option. By doing that, you can begin focusing on how you can grow your relationship with your spouse, rather than imagining a life without him/her.

Step 2: Respect and Honor Your Spouse

Change is inevitable, whether we like it or not. As a new couple, you may be more sweet and appreciative of your partner, but in time your attitude changed. Remember how you treated your partner way back the time before you even submitted a marriage application or applied for a marriage license. Remind yourself about how wonderful your spouse is by making a list of his/her best qualities. Let your husband/wife know how you appreciate him/her even for the little things he/she does for you. Respect and honor your partner for as long as you live.

Step 3: Always Communicate With Your Partner

In the digital age, where we often use our smartphones to communicate, to entertain ourselves, and even to work, we often overlook the importance of having real conversations. Openly sharing about what’s happening with your life is one way to develop a more intimate relationship with your husband or wife. Also, you must open your ears and try to understand what your partner’s thoughts are. Set aside at least 30 minutes of your day to talk face to face with your partner away from distractions.

Step 4: Be Open About Your Expectations Regarding Your Finances

Most couples fight over finances. So, you and your partner must agree by creating a contract as a couple. Your written agreement must spell out your expectations when it comes to handling money. Agree on what your budget is going to be, how you are going to pay your debts, and where you will spend your money. Moreover, a couple should also give themselves a breather by spending their finances on entertainment, vacations, activities, etc.

Step 5: Give Your Partner Some Space

In marriage, it can be hard to balance between being too suffocating or too inattentive. If you think your spouse needs some space to go out with his/her friends, do his errands or watch over the kids for her. Also, it’s vital to spend more than enough time with your spouse. If obligations come in the way, plan a fixed date with your partner ahead, even if it’s movie night at home. A balance between the two is key to a happy married life.

Step 6: Forgive and Don’t Hold a Grudge Against Your Spouse

Marriages fall apart when one party holds contempt against the other. Research proves that holding a grudge against your partner increases the likelihood of divorce if not resolved. For that reason, you must forgive your spouse for his/her faults. Forgiveness will benefit not only your partner, but also you. Keeping a grudge can increase a person’s stress level and affect his/her sleep. Therefore, if your partner asks for forgiveness, sincerely, forgive him/her also genuinely.

FAQs

Is a marriage contract similar to a wedding contract?

No. A wedding contract is an agreement between a couple and a wedding vendor. A wedding vendor can be an event planner, a caterer, a florist, a musician, etc.

What is an Islamic marriage contract?

In Islam marriages, there should be an offer, ratification, contract signing, and public announcement of the marriage. An Islamic marriage contract demands a man to support the woman financially. If the woman decides to work, her money is her property. Typically, an Islamic marriage contract contains stipulations concerning divorce, monogamy, work, education, etc.

What is a Jewish marriage contract?

a Jewish marriage contract or also known as “ketubah,” is a one-sided agreement created by witnesses. It testifies about the husband’s promises to his wife, concerning provisions as the Torah imposes. Additionally, the contract demands that a husband pays a specific sum in case of divorce. Note that the acceptance of the agreement wholly depends on the woman. Those are the laws of the marriage contract.

What is a dating contract?

A dating contract or a relationship contract is an informal document between two unmarried couples. It addresses the questions: What does it mean to be in a relationship? How do you treat each other as a couple? What do you expect from each other? You take note of all your thoughts concerning your relationship, and it will serve as a basis in case issues arise later on.

A marriage contract is a written document that legally binds a man to a woman or a woman to a man. Also, it is proof of a lifetime commitment a husband has for his wife or the other way around. Though divorce is real, one cannot easily break the union between a husband and a wife.