Sunday, September 20, 2009

Contract Marriages

Most of life has become a series of transactions today. Consequently most relationships are transactional and often transient. Whether it’s the relationship between employer and the employee, neighbors within a society, tenant and landlord, colleagues at work- the list can pretty much go on and on.

In the kind of relationships wherein one enters by choice, and has much at stake, you often get into some kind of a contractual agreement. This ‘getting into a contract’ provides a sense of fairness, and an underlying connotation of ‘formality’ seeps in. The contract details both parties rights and obligations, has a defined term, and pages of other mundane details which lawyers are paid to draft.

One relationship, wherein one enters by choice, has much at stake, but does not sign a contract which has a defined term is ‘marriage’.

Visualize a society where people could pre-decide the term of their marriages? No stigma attached to separations, an option to renew the contract as many number of times, an option to get into as many contracts over a life time and an option go back to old contracts at any time as long as the ‘other party’ is willing as well.

What possibly could these contracts detail- in addition to the obvious ‘duration clause’ and ‘financial terms clause’, possibly sections on:
• Food habits- vegetarianism, cooking at home, frequency of eating out, duration/ location;
• Leisure clauses- destination and frequency of holidays, curling in at home with a book on lazy Sunday afternoons versus going for bike rides;
• Extended family clause- frequency of visits
• Bathroom habits;

Wonder if this concept of contract marriages would kill spontaneity or actually just make life simpler and hence happier?