Equality Can Be Renegotiated
If you are in a long-term committed relationship, living together unmarried or married, communication is key to strengthening your partnership. It’s important to make sure that as your relationship grows and changes, equality is a constant. And even if you haven’t ever talked about equality in your partnership, it’s never too late to start the conversation. Talking about equality in your partnership regularly will also keep up your communication skills, leading to a stronger relationship.
Checking in with your partner regularly about your relationship can support your bond together. How are you both feeling about finances and the division of labor in household activities? Celebrate the good things, discuss what could be better.
Spending the time celebrating your life together and renegotiating your partnership can be a fun time to publicly celebrate your union. For example, couples may choose reaffirm their marriage vows from time to time or hold a commitment ceremony. Such celebrations, anniversaries, marriage retreats or simply a weekend getaway are ideal times to reassess – and reaffirm – how both of you feel about what each brings to the marriage and how you want your partnership to grow.
For those who are living together unmarried, think about how you’ve asserted your legal rights. Do you have the legal documents in place to protect your rights as a couple while also safeguarding your individual interests and assets (in the event of a break-up or death)? These include a durable power of attorney for healthcare, a durable power of attorney for financial management, a will, and a cohabitation agreement, living together agreement, or a domestic partnership agreement. If you don’t yet, but you would like to have an equal partnership that is enforceable by the court, it’s important to consider these agreements and do some research on the laws in your state. Drawing up these agreements is a great time to spend talking about your partnership, both financially and emotionally, and strengthen your bond.
For those who are married, you can draw up a marriage agreement, often called a postnuptial, if you did not sign one before you were wed. It will help you organize your marital assets and reflect what you want to happen in case of death or divorce. Otherwise, in most states, you take a chance on what the judge decides is equitable. Such a contract may be written any time during a marriage. If you do have such a document, both of you should re-read and updated it periodically as your roles and assets change. Marriage contracts are governed by state law and have to be revised if you change your residency.
Essential Things To Do:
- Set aside time regularly to talk about the equality in your partnership.
- Organize your partnership records, updating them as your assets change.
- Make sure you have a partnership agreement and modify it to reflect how your partnership has grown.
All three of these actions noted above can be facilitated by using Committed to Success; our guidebook to assisting individuals and couples in initiating and discussing the important elements of their partnership.