Does Sheldon Have it Right?

Relationship Advice from The Big Bang Theory‎

Are Relationship Contracts Better for Marriage?

The Big Bang Theory makes me laugh out loud, especially when Sheldon starts talking roommate and relationship contracts. More and more, viewers are thinking it’s a good idea. And last night’s episode (Season 11, Episode 10) was right up the Five-Year Marriage® alley!

Storyline Summary: Like many “real life” couples, Big Bang’s Penny and Leonard hit a wall in their marriage. Not unusual – marriage can be a minefield. Unable to solve their problem, Penny decided she needs a time out, time away from Leonard, to think. She and Amy go to a spa leaving an upset and depressed Leonard wondering what went wrong. He follows Penny to the spa, Sheldon in tow. After Penny and Leonard talk about it, they make a decision. Even though Leonard always hated Sheldon’s “roommate agreement” and scoffed at Sheldon and Amy’s “relationship agreement,” they realized they need exactly the same thing. They ask Sheldon help them. Exuberantly, Sheldon says “let’s get this party of the first part started.” He creates a relationship agreement for his friends.

Here’s the real-life story: Though everyone loves the idea of “wedded bliss,” it’s something that’s only the stuff of novels and advertising. Marriage isn’t bliss. It’s everyday life. It comes with the good and the bad.

The difference between being married and being single is that, in marriage, you aren’t out there in the world alone. You have a partner to, as the old adage says, divide the sorrows and multiply the joys.

Of course, that only works if you and your partner are on the same page – if you, “the party of the first part” is working off the same set of rules and expectations as your “party of the second part” partner. If you aren’t, there’s a conflict.

The Five-Year Marriage® enables you and your partner get on the same page. It focuses your relationship agreement (Sheldon would be so excited for you!). Every Five-Year Marriage® contract is unique to the couple involved.

Here’s how to get your own Five-Year Marriage® agreement started:

  • Decide what you both want
    • DO NOT let your “Sheldon” friend do it for you – it won’t work
  • Talk about what you want (this usually take multiple conversations)
  • Decide how you can both make that happen
  • Make an agreement that reflects your decision AND is fair to both of you
  • Put it in writing – this is important!
  • Keep track of and refreshed by your agreements using the Family Meeting

For more detailed information, read The Five-Year Marriage®: Shifting the Marriage Paradigm –
See chapters 3, 4, and 5: the “Five-Year Marriage Basics

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What is the Five-Year Marriage®?

Created by Annmarie Kelly, the Five-Year Marriage® is a concept of restructuring marriage agreements every five years to take into consideration external and internal changes happening to each person in the relationship. This periodic assessment of each person’s happiness, fulfillment, obligations and goals creates a safe space for each person to grow and change, together. The result is a relationship that grows stronger and more intimate over time. This collection of articles is a dep dive into the  different concepts proposed in the book, The Five-Year Marriage® and deserve a space for additional exploration and discussion.

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