THE POLICY OF JOINT AGREEMENT

The Policy of Joint Agreement was introduced by Dr. Willard Harley of Marriage Builders as a method to help men integrate their wives into their lives (http://www.marriagebuilders.com/graphic/mbi8111_leave.html).  The joint agreement is:

Never do anything without an enthusiastic agreement between you and your spouse. 

Willard uses a clever metaphor of A Man’s House to illustrate how men tend to compartmentalize aspects of their lives (job, golf, new sports car, his garden, his children, his church, and his wife).  As you can see, his wife is metaphorically only in one room, the “husband” room….hence the problem.  Willard counsels every husband to invite his wife into each of his rooms regardless of his role or responsibility in that room…..i.e. his wife should be considered in each decision he makes.  To follow this agreement, a husband learns to think about his wife’s reaction to everything he does, not just to what goes on in the “husband” room.

I think this is a clever metaphor to get across an adjustment young millennial men may need to make as they become husbands.  Willard says that men may be fearful that if they invite their wives into every room of their imaginary house, their wives will take over and they (the husbands) will risk losing their identity, their peace, and their freedom.

The Policy of Joint Agreement prevents this from happening because both husband and wife jointly agree on everything together…no one (husband nor wife) loses his or her identity, autonomy, or authority to direct their lives.   The goal is to be united in purpose and spirit, not overpower or control each other, through collaboration and negotiation.

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