“Prostitutes are accused even by feminists of selling their bodies; but prostitutes don’t sell their bodies, they rent their bodies. Housewives sell their bodies when they get married.” – Florynce Kennedy, manifesto maker
Perhaps this perception, consciously or unconsciously defined, has a lot to do with the attitudes and behaviors of men. Once married, the man owns the woman. Ownership equals control. Perhaps this is why the whole “No Means No” campaign works poorly within relationships, especially marriage. I think a specified binding contract would be a great replacement for the assumptions of marriage. “Marriage” could remain the social contract, the visible commitment. But the “marriage contract” could define responsibilities and penalties. Her are my top 3 picks in each category:
1) Contribute to the joint income of the partnership unless both partners agree on a new plan. Debts are joint responsibilities only if agreed to by both partners in advance.
2) Provide financial support to the partner during periods of unemployment, illness, and accident.
3) Share all parenting and household tasks equally.
1) Failure to contribute financially unless agreed in advance is grounds for dissolution.
2) Excessive spending is grounds for dissolution and that partner is solely responsible for those debts.
3) Failure to provide emotional support and companionship is grounds for dissolution.
You’d need to define the terms of dissolution and some generalized terms (companionship, for example). I think dissolution would require 30-days notice and the higher earning partner would have to provide the other partner with sufficient income to match 1/2 of their joint income for one year following the dissolution.