The credit for this post belongs solely to the blogger  of It was on one of my regular visits to her blog that I found her brilliant post on marriage customs. (marriage customs post). In that post was a reference to the gem below. This article generated over 300 comments. A lot of those comments were from women outraged at the fact that this woman agreed to stay slim and to cook every night for her husband in the pre-nup. I shared it with every woman I know and I had to take a break from studying to share it with you guys. I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject.

Playing by the marital rules: Samantha Brick reveals her relationship ‘non-negotiables’

By Samantha Brick

Her first marriage broke down in less than two years, so when Samantha Brick agreed to tie the knot again, she decided to set some binding dos and don’ts…
One month before I got married in May 2008, I found myself in a lawyer’s office running through a rather important document – my prenuptial agreement. There are various types of contracts you can opt for, each legally binding, where I live in France. Not the most romantic aspect of my wedding preparations, I agree.Yet my first husband walked off with a combined payoff of £50,000 for a marriage that lasted around 18 months. Even I, a total disaster when it comes to money, was not going to make that mistake again. As my fiancé Pascal and I signed on the dotted line, I planted a huge kiss on his cheek. This time? What is mine really is mine.
Harsh? Not at all.
We’ve both been blunt (some might say bloody-minded) about what we wanted out of our marriage, as well as what we would bring to it, too. I’ve written in the past about one of my husband’s rules: that I remain slim. If I become obese, he will divorce me. After that particular matrimonial decree was revealed, my BlackBerry buzzed with dozens of outraged messages. ‘Abusive’, ‘Controlling’ and ‘You’re an idiot’ were some of the politer admonitions I received.
Yet me agreeing to look after my figure and Pascal signing a prenup were just two of the finer points on our list of rules that we discussed at length before we wed. We were both in agreement. Quite honestly, these details were small fry compared to the other non-negotiables: we’d already covered the biggie of meeting, liking and agreeing to play an active role in each other’s families for the rest of our married lives. This includes housing our parents-in-law should the eventuality ever arise, as we are both eldest children (we don’t just feel duty-bound – we actually want to do this).
We’d also carefully addressed the thorny issue of me being accepted by his children. We were crystal-clear that infidelity would be a deal-breaker – while extramarital affairs might be acceptable in modern-day France, they weren’t going to be tolerated in our little corner of the Midi-Pyrénées.
Samantha and husband Pascal live by the rules
Some might assume that brandishing a list of rules at your intended is a sure-fire way of sending any sane guy running in the opposite direction. But I’d argue the contrary. The loved-up stage is precisely the right moment to pin your other half down to rules that will help strengthen the humdrum reality of married life once the marital-bliss stage has worn off.
Given that I’m British by birth and Pascal is half-French, half-Catalan, our understanding of each other’s language and culture was, at that time, rudimentary at best. Of course, those other magical ingredients – love, attraction and affection – ensured that we were spellbound by each other. But I needed our union to be anchored by firm principles, ones that would remain in place should we find ourselves cast adrift by life’s unexpected storms.
So while we menu-planned and wine-tasted, I never lost sight of the fact that we were entering into a legally binding union – one that will (hopefully) produce children, shared property and wealth. Why wouldn’t I be explicit about what I expect from the other person who has also signed up to this contract?
This was a second marriage for both of us. Bitter experience had already taught me that, this time around, I’d need to be frank about what I would and wouldn’t put up with. If living with the opposite sex has taught me anything in life it is this: never make assumptions about how you ‘think’ day-to-day life will be with them.
In the run-up to my first marriage, when I was more focused on slimming down in order to fit into my sugar-pink, bias-cut dress, if a well-meaning girlfriend had mooted the concept of ‘marital rules’ I’d have assumed she was off her rocker.
My first husband and I never bothered discussing where we would set up home together – at the time he lived in the Midlands, while I was based in London. I would have freely given up my five-figure handbag collection to move near my family in Birmingham. Rather horrifically, I was presented with a fait accompli – he handed in his notice at work and announced he was moving to, as he excitedly called it, the ‘Big Smoke’. The fact that I was already applying for positions in Birmingham surely should have served as a clue to my preferred des res. Yet who was at fault? Both of us: we had failed to discuss where we would live once wed.
He then decided not to work for the first year of our marriage – I was so stunned that I had no idea how to react. Yet why shouldn’t he assume he could give up work? After all, we’d not put any parameters in place to say that he couldn’t.
In fairness to him, I was no angel either. I failed to consult him about purchases for the home (well, my house), I rarely slid the key in the lock at the time I said I would and I made few concessions to him in my social diary. He hated it when my family came to stay and had scant time for my friends. I wasn’t living with a loving husband – I was residing with the enemy. How could I have got it so wrong?
In hindsight I can see I was ill-equipped for what marriage represents. My priority had been preparing for the wedding and not the lifelong union afterwards. We’d invested in matching platinum wedding bands and a chichi honeymoon, but not how we would live out the ‘happily ever after’ as husband and wife. 
The deal-breaker for me was that I assumed we were in sync on the ‘children issue’ before getting married. However, 18 months in, he casually announced – when I was heading towards my fertility precipice – that he wasn’t sure he wanted them. I’d made the fairly reasonable assumption that this life stage automatically follows marriage. With no joint decisions made as to the path we were on, it’s little wonder we didn’t survive the newlywed years.

It was as a divorced 30-something that I had my epiphany. Between my two marriages, I spent time living in the States, producing – oh, the irony – a bridal reality TV show. I discovered Americans are rather brilliant at articulating their needs. When talking to their beloved, they never use one word when ten will do. They attend premarital counselling sessions, there are couples ‘shrinks’, and the US Army even holds weekend conferences where couples can spend time together and, with the guidance of professionals, check in on what they want from each other.
This approach is rather like the courses Christian churches offer couples before they marry. It’s a reminder that your marriage comes first – before children, your career, the in-laws – and that your other half requires your daily focus. I have no doubt that this approach to marital harmony entered my psyche on a cellular level.
So when I realised that Pascal was The One, I also knew that I wasn’t going to repeat any costly – financial and emotional – mistakes again. I believe any smart woman strengthens her expectations in a second marriage and knows exactly what she’ll put up with – and what she won’t. This time round, she knows it’s not all about the wedding: it’s what comes after that counts.
It’s fortunate, then, that Pascal is a talker. We sat down and, over a glass or two of rosé, discussed our lives, our needs, our dreams and our desires. We outlined what we hoped for from each other on a daily basis. It wasn’t easy, far from it, but it’s my belief that as you get older you become more adept at saying – in a nice yet firm way – what you want and explaining that these wishes are far from trivial.
One of Pascal's rules was that Samantha cook every evening
Pascal desired a slim wife, a woman who would cook every evening, take control of the housework and run the household. I wanted him to stop smoking. I kicked into touch his daily chats with his ex and called time on his friendships with other women. (I have no truck with the When Harry Met Sally principle that men and women can enjoy platonic relationships.) We agreed to be absolutely transparent with our social-media accounts, emails and telephones – he has access to mine and vice versa. In reality, neither of us can be bothered to snoop, but I have done – and probably will do again. It’s a level of candour that I would expect in any modern relationship.
We discussed what happens if one of us falls seriously ill right through to our wishes at death. We also agreed to sit down every evening and eat dinner together in order that we might discuss our day – we never eat on the sofa or with a computer screen close by. This daily checking-in with each other is at the heart of why our marriage works.
And it does work. I certainly haven’t turned into a Stepford Wife and neither has he become Barbie’s bland mate Ken. We are two very different, independent individuals. My husband is a hunter-gatherer; I am a shopaholic. I refuse point-blank to have anything to do with animals he has killed. My weakness for late-night internet surfing is a passion that drives him insane.
Yet I’m not naive; I know life changes and the rulebook has to evolve too. The past five years as a married couple have been far from easy: custody battles, serious illness, a death, IVF and a house move. Yet we haven’t just survived – we’ve thrived. Thanks to our rules, even in moments of crisis, we know our role in the marriage and what we expect from the other person. 
Acquaintances (and it’s usually men) confide that they wish they had laid down such rules before they married. Ironically, girlfriends shirk from tackling this because if they have the slightest suspicion he’ll bolt they’re wary of setting down rules. I believe that if your partner truly loves you in the right way, he’ll want you to be happy and agree.
Our goals for the next five, ten, 15 years are very clearly defined for us. Naturally they’ll evolve, because life always throws up unexpected hurdles, but for the most part we’re on a path in our lives that we’ve both agreed upon.
I know some people might think it’s the least romantic thing to discuss rules when you’re planning your nuptials. But, actually, I think it is the most romantic gesture you can make for your partner. you’re saying you want your marriage to work. Enter starry-eyed into your supposedly lifelong union at your peril. Forget job contracts, property purchases – this is the most important contractual commitment you’ll ever make. Why wouldn’t you explicitly set out what you will and won’t accept from your spouse?
A marriage without rules is an open marriage – and who wants that?