Question 3
How will we make decisions in this relationship?

Default answer:  The man is the head of the household.
Whenever there is a difference of opinion about any matter
pertaining to the marriage, the man's preference will prevail.

     Centuries of tradition and most written marriage laws
define a marriage as a relationship between one man and one woman.
And the man is the head of the household by definition.

     Being 'head of household' is a power position.
One individual is the boss, leader, or principal person in the household.
All the other people in the household are under his power and governance.
Older marriage vows were unbalanced in this regard:
The wife promised to obey her husband; he promised to honor his wife.
This clearly set forth the power structure within the household.

     Tradition requires a husband to be older than his wife,
so that he can control and guide her.

     Traditionally, the man was the head of the household
because he was the one who earned the money to pay for everything.
And some husbands and fathers have been heard saying things like:
"As long as you live under my roof, you will follow my rules."
"As long as I am paying the bills, you will obey me."

     The woman changed her surname to the man's family name,
because she was joining his household and family.
She would stay home and raise his children for him.

     In the past a wife could not sue her husband
because they were legally one person.
And a person cannot sue himself—any more than he can steal from himself.

     Also a man might be harmed by losing his wife's services
(for instance, in a wrongful death suit).
A wife could be harmed by losing her husband's income
but not from losing her husband's services.

     These principles evolved because in marriage
there was only one person—and that person was the man.
Women and children were household chattel, with almost no rights.
And what rights they did have were usually subordinated
to the rights of the head of household.
But some states have changed these presumptions when revising their laws.


Above you have the first page of Question 3 from Designer Marriage.
Some alternative ways of making decisions are suggested in the remaining 4 pages.

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Designer Marriage: Write Your Own Relationship Contract

Created April 4, 2009; Revised

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An Existential Philosopher's Museum

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