Contract or Ongoing Negotiation?

‘Marriage is not a contract but an ongoing negotiation,’ so said one of the characters in the new TV show Blue Bloods.

‘Now there’s a topic for a blog,’ Mick said.

Indeed it is. First I have to disagree, not with Mick but the comment. To me marriage is a contract, a binding contract. ’Till death do us part,’ sounds pretty binding to me. It is a contract and a commitment made before witnesses and often before God.

However there is a sense in which marriage is also an ongoing negotiation. The very word ‘negotiate’ means, according to the dictionary, ‘to confer with others to reach a compromise or agreement.’ Doesn’t that also sum up marriage?

It would be a very one sided marriage if there was no conferring, which of course simply mean talking together. As for compromise, it is almost impossible to have a happy lasting marriage, I believe, without some sort of compromise. It may only be in the little things like which movie to watch or in who does which household chores or the time for meal times. It may be in regard to where you live or interaction with in-laws or extended family and often these are areas that can require compromise, especially if you don’t get along that well with the in-laws or extended family.

An ongoing negotiation might be required when circumstances change. If one stays at home while the other partner is out at work, the one going out to work may reasonably expect more things done around the house from the one at home. However when a new baby comes into the picture or they have other children that need attention or the at home partner starts work full time or even part time, then some re-negotiating of who does what and when things occur will need to take place. As circumstances changes so the negotiations need to be ongoing and to change too.

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