The One Vote Agreement

Amethyst and I have a One Vote agreement. It takes for just one of us to become uncomfortable in a social interaction to end that interaction, and there can be no questioning of it. If Amethyst decides that it’s time for a guest to be ejected from our home, or I decide that it’s time we leave someone else’s home, then that’s that. If one of us says that someone else is no longer welcome in our home, that person is no longer welcome. End of story.

We can discuss the matter after the fact, of course, but the one vote rules without hesitation and without question.

This agreement might seem a little extreme, but we were driven to it, and since we’ve made that agreement I think it’s something that every couple should have. If you both come from happy families who always treat others with respect and all of your acquaintances are wonderful people then you’ll never have to cast a vote — but if you live on Earth, this agreement is one that says right out loud that your mate and your relationship are the most important things in the world to you and will be treated as such. That’s a powerful statement, and it’s tremendously powerful if you back it up with action when it becomes necessary.

A second benefit of the agreement is that we can save each other from ourselves, a thing that’s otherwise impossible. If we were visiting Amethyst’s mother and her mother were being an asshole to her, I could cast my vote and end it right there in the moment. That’s something Amethyst would not do for herself because she’s got a lifetime of conditioning behind her. Oh, she’d get right on up on her hind legs and bark, sure, but that’s part of her mother’s game plan. With our agreement, I can just cast my vote and put a stop to it — it would make me the bad guy in her mother’s eyes, but I’m good with that. I’m already the bad guy in her eyes anyway. I consider it an honor.

That’s actually how our One Vote agreement came about. After enduring the hell my parents delivered to us after we went to their home to render aid, we ended up doing the same thing for Amethyst’s mother. She was just fine until she got a clean bill of health, then she turned the asshole knob up until it broke. She’d say she wanted to still be roomies, but she behaved as an intolerable jerk. Maybe that’s just what old people do, I dunno, but I found her to be the same kind of intolerable jerk three decades ago. We dropped her off at the airport so she could go visit family, and on the way home we stopped for lunch and ended up talking about it.

During the course of that conversation Amethyst asked me how long I thought it might take to finish up the big project I was in the middle of, as we’d already decided that nothing else could happen until that was done. Then it struck me for the very first time that I was putting my business ahead of my wife’s well being. Oh, how that hurt, finding out that I was being just exactly that kind of asshole. That’s where the One Vote agreement came from. And I cast the first one on Amethyst’s behalf. It took less than a week to put Las Vegas in the rear view mirror.

We’ve had this agreement now for more than two years, and we’re happier with it as time passes. I find it very comforting to know that Amethyst puts my well being ahead of everyone else’s but her own, and that if she forgets about her own and allows someone to abuse her I can step in. Lip service is nice while it’s flying, but this is really something and something real. We know that within our home and within our relationship, we are perfectly safe.


9 thoughts on “The One Vote Agreement

  1. doubtswithbenefits

    I think that’s an incredible idea. I would hope that my own relationship could withstand this rule. I feel as though it would already be in effect, only we happen to be miserably dependent on other people at the moment. I think a major life goal of mine now is to move my life around until I can employ the “one vote” rule and it take effect irrevocably.

    1. happierheathen Post author

      It’s certainly true that to make the one vote agreement work you’ve got to have and maintain a relatively high degree of independence, both financially and emotionally. It’s a tremendous commitment, especially if the bridges at risk of fire are those that are your financial safety net and/or familial relationships. The familial relationships can be really tricky and heartbreaking because you never really know where someone’s loyalties lie until they’re tested, and sometimes people will act out of loyalty even when the one to whom they’re loyal explicitly doesn’t wish for it.

      On the up side, committing to the one vote agreement or whatever you might choose to call it is also a commitment to many other things, including yourself. If it should become your goal, I really hope you can make it happen!

  2. grannyandthebaldguy

    same here and when of us is uncomfortable or bored, we leave. If a smoker shows up at our dront door smoking I get the baseball bat<:)

    1. happierheathen Post author

      She’s doing well, and thanks for asking. She’s at work just now, and we’re emailing back and forth about this and that. A winery tour we’re planning, Miss Autumn, and so on. It’s just the whole domestic bliss thing going on around the heathen household. 🙂


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