As a marriage researcher as well as communication professor, I’m forever attempting to keep up with the latest research, as well as cultural conversations about my two favorite topics. Yes, you know them: “Happy” and “Couple!” No big news there, I know.

Some of the most intriguing articles I find are those posted by the CCF (Council on Contemporary Families) from major news outlets around the country. They highlight the research and thinking of the best couple/family/marriage scholars in the world, citing CCF-members’ work, scholarship and smart (almost always) thoughts about all-things family and relationships.

Today I was reading an article published in the New York Times last week. Yep – I’m way behind in life (hence why I haven’t been posting much lately; sorry loyal readers!) As I read the piece, I scratched my head and furrowed my brow (or do you furrow both brows?) Anyway, my brows were doing something as I tried to discern the key question of the piece: would making marriage a 20-year (or even shorter-year) contract result in happier partnerships?

Before I read the article I wanted to say (scream. Okay, I wanted to yell a bit): WHAT? That’s SO dumb!

But as I read, I realized that while the concept might be odd and altogether outright ridiculous, the point of both researchers and everyday folks alike trying to figure out happiness in coupledom is that … duh … we really do want to figure it out (how to be happy and how to be a great couple). We do! And maybe some day we will. 

Until then, give this article “Till Death, or 20 Years, Do Us Part” by Matt Richtel a read
Till Death, Or 20 Years, Do Us Part by Matt Richtel and while you do … whether you think it’s a ridiculous, dumb idea or a really innovative approach to an old institution … simply vow to stay in the conversation! 

The point of the contracts and “ridiculous” suggestions and new/old models and even good-old-fashioned controversies about couple-hood is that we do, essentially, want to collectively figure this stuff out. We do, I believe, want to figure the happy couple stuff out so we can all get it right.

I know, right? That, dear friends and strangers, is a really good idea. Period.