An alleged clause in Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck’s prenuptial agreement made international and national media headlines last week: “JLo and Ben Affleck’s prenuptial agreement charges for sex four times a week”
The contract would be a way for the actress and singer to protect her $400 million fortune. She reportedly established a rule that the couple must have sex at least four times a week.
Without going into the merits of whether the clause exists or not, it is interesting to observe the stir it caused.
If Affleck can’t get laid four times a week, does JLo get a million-dollar severance pay? If he comes and she doesn’t, how is it? If he’s in serious trouble at work or sick, does he have the right to have sex only three times a week?
I found on Google that the same buzz happened when the two were about to get married in 2004. Only this time the clause would have been demanded by Affleck. At the time, he said it was all just a rumor. A few days before the ceremony, the two parted ways.
Rumor or not, the four times a week sex clause got me thinking about what we can demand from our spouses as obligations to be strictly fulfilled and, if they are not, would be grounds not only for separation, but also for millionaire damages.
Here in Brazil it seems that the fashion hasn’t caught on yet, but in the United States it is common to make prenuptial agreements. I’ve found other examples that may just be hearsay.
Catherine Zeta-Jones reportedly demanded $5 million in damages if Michael Douglas had betrayed her. Justin Timberlake would have to pay (only?) $500,000 to Jessica Biel in case of infidelity.
Priscilla Chan, the wife of Mark Zuckerberg, reportedly determined in writing that her husband was required to have at least one romantic date with her a week, in addition to dedicating 100 minutes to her when he is away from his companies.
Some contracts require the husband to help with housework and child care. In others, the husband requires that the wife cannot weigh more than 61 kg.
I wondered what I would put as a clause to be fulfilled in my marriage. Instead of forcing my husband to have sex four times a week, I would require him to make me laugh every day. And that he would also write me love letters before bed.
I asked my husband what clause he would put in. Without hesitation, he replied: “Cafuné and massage from head to toe, every day for at least an hour. It’s not worth a 15-minute aperitif. I don’t need anything else, that’s enough for me.”
However, and here’s a secret I’ve learned from my own life and research, there’s a huge gap between doing something because “I have to” (out of obligation, coercion, and fear of punishment) and doing something because “I want to do it.” ” (by my own will and because I feel happy to make my love happy).
I can demand, demand, complain, threaten my husband to do things he doesn’t want to do and does just for fear of losing me or to avoid fights and arguments. But if we want to build a relationship with reciprocity, recognition and trust, I believe he will want to make me happy, take care of me, be faithful, understand me and try to do everything I need most, within his own limits.
What’s the point of being faithful or having sex because of pressure, demands and financial interests? The most important thing for the couples that I have researched is that the choices are motivated by their own will and desire, and not by the obligation to comply with contractual clauses.
The opposition between “need” and “want” is a precious key in the love pact. But free choice is more work, as it needs to be renegotiated every day, explicitly and often implicitly, without the need for threats, punishments and indemnities.
Could it be that now, instead of “till death do us part”, at the time of yes we will be forced to promise “until sex four times a week do us part”?
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