I’ve often thought how strange it is that you need lessons, tests, and a license to drive a car, but all you need to get into a relationship is a sense of loneliness and a healthy libido (and even that’s not essential).
What kind of training for healthy relationships do we get? A couple of unprepared, inadequate parents whose best communication technique is “Cuz I said so”? And how do we manage the relationship? With tears, arguments, sex, and manipulations. Something’s not right.
I was sitting in a business meeting recently when it hit me: relationships are too reliant on feelings, lucky timing, and the abstract, and not reliant enough on structure, rules, and a Notice of Default. And that got me thinking: what if we conducted our love affairs like our business affairs?
Robert’s Rules of Order is the most widely used manual on parliamentary law in the United States. It “provides common rules and procedures for deliberation and debate in order to place the whole membership on the same footing and speak the same language. The conduct of all business is controlled by the general will of the whole membership.” I say if it’s good enough for the House of Commons, then it’s good enough for the House of Common Law! (Stay with me, cuz this is brilliant….)
Here’s how it would work.
First of all, each couple would hold monthly business meetings where all matters would be discussed. No fighting in the car, no cold shouldering at restaurants, no nitpicking throughout the day. If you had an issue within the relationship, you’d write a motion, submit it prior to the next business meeting, and then both parties would debate and vote on it.
For example, after several weeks of dating, if John wanted the relationship to become exclusive, he’d put a motion in writing. “I move that Mary be my girlfriend and not date that jackass from her yoga class.” Or if Mary couldn’t stand John’s passenger-seat driving, rather than snap at him in the car, she would wait until the monthly meeting to read her motion: “I move that the member in the passenger seat shut his trap when I’m driving.” Each party would state a pro and a con and then they’d vote on it. No room for misunderstandings or day-long arguments over trivial matters. Stalemate could be a problem, however, seeing as how there are only two people in the membership. Hmm, that split personality may come in handy after all….
There would also be service commitments lasting for a term of six months before electing new people, just to avoid any dictatorial members from usurping all the power. So Mary could have the laundry commitment for a term while John held the cooking commitment. And if the whites weren’t white enough or grilled cheese sandwiches were served for dinner every night, no worries—in six months those positions would be filled with new members! Each person would be expected to serve out their term unless, of course, unavoidable circumstances made it impossible. Like jury duty or incarceration. In this case, the membership would take a group conscience to allow the person to terminate her commitment as she fulfilled her term of commitment with the California Correctional Institution.
And just so that all matters pertaining to the relationship were above board, at the monthly business meeting each person would be required to give a report of the previous month.
Such as, how many loads of soiled clothes were washed or if the cook was coming in under budget on the groceries or what the current frequency of sex was or whether the solution to the toilet seat debate had been put into place.
When conducting a business meeting, minutes would be taken by the scribe so no member could accuse another of lying, forgetting, or manipulating. It would all be there in black and white. “John read grocery report. Mary suggested an alternative to grilled cheese sandwiches. John cursed loudly and threw report on the floor. Mary threatened to go behind his back and eat out. Issue tabled until next business meeting.”
If one person got upset while the other was talking, instead of interrupting and screaming, she would simply raise her hand and say, “Point of information. Please explain why John’s mother must stay with us over Christmas.” If one member threatened to break up in the heat of the moment, he could simply withdraw the motion, and poof-the issue disappears!
Anyway, it’s something to think about as you enter into your new relationship. Why leave things up to chance and the haphazardness of feelings? If your partner isn’t living up to their relationship duties, you simply whip out the contract and leave emotion out of it.
Selena Templeton is a blogger with JenningsWire Online Magazine. For more posts by Selena please visit here.
The online feature magazine, JenningsWire.com, is created by National PR Firm, Annie Jennings PR that specializes in providing book promotion services to self-published and traditionally published authors. Annie Jennings PR books authors, speakers and experts on major high impact radio talk interview shows, on local, regionally syndicated and national TV shows and on influential online media outlets and in prestigious print magazines and newspapers across the country.