A contract covering sex and housework could save your relationship - here's how to make one

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A contract covering sex and housework could save your relationship - here's how to make one
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  • Author Mandy Len Catron says making a contract for her relationship has kept it healthy.
  • Catron told NPR she and her partner revisit the contract every six months so they're on the same page.
  • The contract includes a date night quota, a clause about alone time, and a mission statement.

Couples should have a written contract that covers sex, housework, alone time and date nights, author Mandy Len Catron told NPR.

Catron, who penned the viral New York Times' essay "To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This" in 2015, believes contracts are the key to happy and healthy relationships.

"Every relationship is contractual, we're just making the terms more explicit," Catron told NPR.

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Catron said she first encountered the concept in the book "The New I Do: Reshaping Marriage for Skeptics, Realists and Rebels." Afterwards, she said she and her boyfriend Mark sat down and created their own relationship contract. She said it felt "empowering" and "amazing" to voice her needs and insecurities and "make space for them."

How to create a relationship contract

To create a useful and realistic contract, you have to establish expectations, according to Catron.

She told NPR it's important to remember your romantic partner shouldn't be your only source of emotional support, intellectual banter, and fun. Instead, remember to lean on family and friends for some of your relational needs, and go into contract creation with that mindset.

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Next, you and your partner should determine what to include in the agreement, like daily chores, personal and professional goals, finances, family time, and sex and intimacy.

Catron said a relationship contract is individual to each couple, so you can be as creative as you'd like. She said hers starts with an opening statement about why she and her boyfriend are in a relationship, which reads: "We aspire to help each other be more ethically minded and generous friends, community members and global citizens."

It also includes a date night quota, details about who pays for dates, and a clause to make space for alone time.

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Revisit and revise your contract every 6 months

Catron and Mark revisit their contract every six months, she told NPR. This way, it doesn't feel like a strict legally binding agreement, and instead feels like collaboration.

"It really made me feel like a co-creator in this process, as opposed to someone who is just sort of sitting back and letting the relationship go wherever it's going to go and hoping for the best," Catron told NPR.

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