What specific patterns of behavior will we follow or avoid?
Default answer: Love, honor, (& obey).
The marriage vows usually include some general affirmations
such as love, honor, & cherish as guidance
for how the relationship will actually be carried out,
but do such abstract expressions lead to specific behaviors?
Creative answers: So this is your opportunity to be more explicit about
what you want your relationship to include and exclude.
If you are creating this relationship contract as an alternative to
then you probably have some specific behaviors in mind
that are threatening to bring your marriage to an end.
These might be either positive behaviors that were not forthcoming
or negative behaviors that one of you wants to avoid.
Let's start with the negative behaviors you
promise to avoid
in your next contract with each other.
If you have related for a few months, you already know the behavior
that at least one of you would like to eliminate from your relationship.
You will have to negotiate these specific issues.
Do you value your relationship enough to give up the bad habits?
Here are some possible promises to put into
To give up smoking, drinking, using illegal drugs, gambling,
over-spending, over-eating, loud music, having affairs, criminal
physical or mental abuse, irritating habits, teasing, nagging,
spending too much time with other friends or relatives,
problems with personal hygiene, care of clothes, dishes, tools, pets,
Whatever problems and tensions have been threatening
to cause divorce or the end of your relationship
can be specified in this part of your new contract.
If these specific problems are corrected, your relationship will be
But if you cannot or will not eliminate such negative behaviors,
at least you will know why your relationship had to end.
You might also want to specify some positive
behaviors you promise:
To be more responsible in financial matters;
to take better care of the children;
to enter marital counseling of a certain duration;
to save more time for each other (how much?);
to allow each other more private 'free time';
to allow separate vacations or trips with other people.
Question 5: WHAT PATTERNS OF BEHAVIOR WILL WE
FOLLOW? by James
have the first page of Question 5 from Designer
More details about behavior wanted
or not wanted are
discussed on the
April 4, 2009; Revised