Marriage Contracts and a Story of True Love


It’s official, HuffPost’s Divorce page is satire. It has to be. No sane person would think readers would take the dribble posted on the divorce page as anything but idiocy.

Author Susan Pease Gadoua suggested couples invest in marriage contracts. Why? Because everyone is getting divorced and instead of trying to eliminate high divorce rates, let’s make it easier for couples to have an out by having an expiration date.

But divorce is happening and it is here to stay.

If it were acceptable for people to wed for a variety of reasons, perhaps we would see contracts of 20 years for a parenting marriage,* five-year renewable contracts for a financial security marriage, and two-year renewable agreements for companionship marriages.

*(parenting marriages could be renewable but, given that kids and co-parenting are a major reason spouses fight and ultimately divorce, most may not want to renew the contract).

Then those who married would go into the union knowing exactly what was expected of them and how long it would last. Rather than a one-size-fits-all institution, people could pick the type and length of marriage they truly wanted. Marriages with an agreed upon agenda and end date would then terminate naturally.

Instead of holding everyone in the culture to a single standard “forever,” which is at the very least unfair if not impossible, people in this modern model of marriage would be set up to succeed.

And then everyone would live happily ever after.


I’ll be honest, if my “marriage” is just a contract and I do not plan on it lasting for-ev-er, what’s going to stop me from “cheating” on my partner if Robert Downey Jr. or Ryan Gossling show interest. Answer: Nothing.

And I honestly couldn’t expect my spouse to not see if the grass really is greener on the other side. We never made a serious commitment to one another, we just signed a contract. Is it different that continuing your job search after you’ve signed a non-compete with your current company? If something better comes along you bet you jump at the opportunity.

I think these various contracts would do nothing but make lawyers (for drafting the contracts) and therapists a lot of money. What happens if one of these partners falls in love and doesn’t want an out and the other partner says, “Look we had a deal. Your time is up.”? The partner in love is going to have a lot of mental health issues afterwards, thus making a therapist like Ms. Gadoua a lot of money.

Marriage is a choice. You have to choose to make it work. I think too many people throw in the towel when times get tough (No, I’m not talking about spousal/child abuse. We can agree there are times divorce is the best option).  But why make it work if you can have a contract guaranteeing an out in five-years? In year three of your contract, you can begin prospecting for the next potential partner you can co-sign a contract with.

Is it unrealistic or idealized to believe in forever?  I’m married and my marriage has had its tough times. We all know there is no such thing as a perfect marriage. I could have easily filed for divorce when times got tough, but I chose to make it work. I chose to marry my husband as a partner for life and I choose to stay with him through the good and bad, not simply as a financial commitment, companionship, or for the children.

I want my children to see what real commitment means. I have been blessed to have my parents and grandparents stay together through the years. Their positive example rubbed off on me and I choose to live my life as a positive example for my children. Hopefully when they are married someday they will understand that forvever means forvever.

The majority of readers of Ms. Gadoua’s column left comments agreeing this is a ridiculous idea. Maybe we should look at marriage as a life long commitment instead of a business contract.

Maybe, just maybe if took marriage seriously again we would find true love stories, like that of the Yeagars.


Gordon and Norma Yeagar married 72 years died one hour apart last week in the hospital as they held hands.

Please click to watch their beautiful story.








  • Fawn says:

    Wow, Faith, this is so sad. I can’t believe anyone would even propose this. But I’m happy most people have the good sense to know how much marriage means to the human spirit and society overall. As you said, maybe we should spend time building up marriages rather than trying to find an “out clause.” Great article. Thanks.

    • @ Fawn, I was saddened when I read this. I couldn’t believe someone would present this as a serious solution to combatting high divorce rates. It’s thinking like this that leads to high marriage failure rates. Thank you for your thoughtful comment!

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