I.  Who Needs a Relationship Contract? 

     A relationship contract is an attempt to put into words
a relationship that already exists between two (or more) persons.
It could also be used by persons just beginning a relationship.
Or a new agreement could restore a long-term relationship
that is threatening to collapse because of internal problems. 

     This book asks 28 basic Questions,
most of which are relevant to any loving or living-together relationship. 

     Each Question has a default answer. 
This means that if you do not answer that Question for yourselves,
the society in which you live has a ready-made answer
that will be assumed to be your answer.

     The default answers come in two forms: formal and informal. 
Marriage is a legal relationship defined in each state
by hundreds of pages of precise and complex language. 
Couples who get married without defining their relationship
are 'signing' this standard marriage contract. 
For most married people this works just fine. 
They probably will have no occasion to consult the marriage laws         
unless they decide to get divorced
(which happens to about half of all couples in the United States).
Then they will probably have to consult lawyers
in order to discover just how the marriage laws apply to them
—and how the laws will structure their relationship after divorce. 

     The informal default answers are social customs. 
For example, the law does not require married couples to have children.
But society expects married people to reproduce. 

     After the default answers have been presented,
some more creative ways to organize a relationship are explored.       

     It is not necessary to decide in advance whether
to create a marriage contract with various special provisions
or whether to create a private agreement
in lieu of getting officially married or staying married. 
Each option has pluses and minuses—to be explored for each Question.
But if after answering most of the Questions,
you find that most of your answers are out of sync with standard marriage,
then perhaps a private agreement would be best for you.


Above you have the first page of Designer Marriage.
This Introduction has 22 more pages.
The table of contents below shows the sub-divisions of the Introduction.

Return to the table of contents for

Designer Marriage: Write Your Own Relationship Contract

Created April 4, 2009; Revised

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