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I scrambled to find nonsex stuff on my list and suggested she refrain from texting her friends while I'm driving, since it makes me feel less like I have a wife and more like I have a teenage daughter who hates me. Cassandra said no texting was a great idea and, to push the concept further, I couldn't answer the phone during dinner, even if it was someone I needed to interview finally calling me back. I was not sure why all her demands had to do with our becoming poorer. I think the relationship contract might completely explain Facebook's poor IPO performance.
The next morning, needing help with my negotiations, I called my sister Lisa Stein-Browning, a matrimonial attorney in New Jersey. She thought the relationship contract was a great idea. "The reason people get divorced is that they don't talk," she said. She suggested our contract require us to sit down once a week and each list a minimum of two and a maximum of five things that bothered us or that we wanted to change. Then, without my even bringing up sex--since she is my sister and that would be gross--Lisa suggested that relationship contracts require people to have sex once a week, since husbands often tell her a lack of intimacy was the reason for their failed marriage. "It seems really sad and pathetic to schedule every detail of your life. But I think it would help," she said. I do not see how that is more sad and pathetic than scheduling date night. It is certainly less pathetic than scheduling relationship-agreement-writing night.
When we finally drew up our agreement, Cassandra thought a little bit before signing. "If we had done this before we got married, it would have said different things," she said. "Like 'We have to be completely honest with each other' and 'We will love each other eternally.'" She was right. I was ready to rip up the contract until she said she now thought those ideas were stupid. So we're getting ready to start our biweekly date night. And, though I didn't technically get all the clauses I wanted, I did stipulate that on date night, she has to drink a lot.