Millennials Want Relationship Contracts — Let’s Help Them Get Them
Millennials see relationship contracts as a way to be as intentional as they can when going from dating to a partnership
Millennials may be ruining everything, from sex to cruises to golf (I’m with you on that last one, millennials), but there’s one thing they are actively looking to improve — their relationships, even if they are sidestepping or delaying marriage. Which is great because not everyone wants to wed but even if they do, marriage is a relationship — right?
I recently attended “Design for Love: Design Thinking + Relation-
ships,” a workshop that sought to apply design concepts to create a more conscious way of coupling. It was presented by Logan Ury, 30, a Harvard-trained behavioral scientist formerly with Google and Airbnb who is now off to a three-month stint with TEDx in New York, and Hannah Hughes, a 20-something who leads global product marketing for special projects at Airbnb and has created a sex-positive app, Romp, which will be available this spring. The workshop was a practice run for their talk at SXSW at 11 a.m. March 11, and the room, which can hold 150, was packed with people — young people.
One of the first things discussed was relationship contracts — yep, the contract in The New I Do that asks couples to talk, agree to and write down how they want to structure their relationship based on their goals and values, the same contract that Modern Love essayist and creative writing professor Mandy Len Catron used when moving in with her romantic partner, Mark, and that she highlights in her book, How to Fall in Love With Anyone.
Their contract is almost up and they are now thinking about what their next contract will look like because their life is changing in significant ways: “Our next version will have a mortgage section, and questions about starting a family, whether or not we want to get married,” she tells the Telegraph.
What was so validating for my co-author Susan, who also attended the workshop, and me was to see our idea of creating a renewable contract being embraced by — or at least sparking a curiosity in — millennials. The idea is to be intentional as we can when we’re ready to go from dating to a committed partnership, monogamous or ethically non-monogamous.
If you have been following this blog, you know I have long been promoting the idea of marital contracts, which have been around for longer than you might imagine. The contract is essential if we’re going to move toward time-limited, renewable marital contracts and beta marriages, other ideas I’ve been promoting. That so many were interested in their workshop confirms my belief that society is finally ready to embrace that concept and make it a viable marital option.
Ury and Hughes also pulled from other great research on love, sex and relationships — from Dan Savage’s GGG, to Ester Perel’s views on infidelity, to the Gottman Institute’s Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, to the Five Love Languages — to promote intentional coupling, or #designyourlovelife as they call it.
Ury is working toward creating a business focused on dating and relationships, and has been coaching people for a while, so be sure to sign up for her newsletter on her Facebook page to keep track of what she’s doing.
In today’s somewhat fractured romantic world, anything that gets people looking for love to couple consciously is sorely needed. Design your love life? Bring it.
Want to individualize your marriage? (Of course you do!) Then read The New I Do: Reshaping Marriage for Skeptics, Realists and Rebels (Seal Press). You can support your local indie bookstore or order it on Amazon.