Do Marriage Pacts Actually Work?

As enjoyable as How I Met Your Mother generally was, it wasn't always… well, super realistic. That's to be expected from a sitcom — but what about Ted and Robin's pact to get married if they were both still single by the age of 40? Do things like that actually happen? It turns out that agreements like that aren't too far from the truth — and perhaps even more surprisingly, sometimes they actually work out. Who knew, right?

Marriage pacts are the topic of our AskReddit thread du jour. Posted by Redditor danaroobanzai, it asks the question, “Has anyone ever followed through on the old 'if we're both single by age __, we'll marry each other' deals with a friend? If so, how's that going?” — and according to most of the people who responded, it's generally going pretty well. There are a surprising number of stories that seem not only to have worked out, but moreover, to have worked out perfectly: Tales like, “I made this pact with my best friend and we've been married for 12 years now!”, “I made this pact and we're about to get married next month!”, and “I made this pact and we couldn't be happier!” abound. It's always worth bearing in mind that AskReddit respondents are kind of a self-selecting bunch; as such, it's entirely possible that fewer people for whom their marriage pacts didn't work out felt like offering up their stories.

Still, though — it seems that marriage pacts aren't always as silly as they seem. I think the most important thing to do when making one is to make sure you give each other an out, because let's face it: People change their minds. But if you make one, and it works for you? More power to you. I guess sometimes love really does conquer all.

Here are a few highlights; head on over to AskReddit for more.

1. Jumping the Gun

If it works, and you're sure, why wait?

2. The Accidental Pact

I'm not sure whether this couple actually made a marriage pact, but the end result is pretty much the same. Sometimes you do just have to wait for the right moment.

3. An Ongoing Situation

...Wow. Apparently sometimes things really do happen like they do in the movies! Nigeria_Please, I wish you the best of luck! P.S. If you're curious how the whole thing is unfolding, she posted an update; head here to read it.

4. Never Mind

Awww. Sorry, bud. It's probably for the best, though.

5. The Fairy Tale


6. The Ex

I'll be honest: I was expecting to read more stories like this one in this thread. As you can see, they are there… they're just much fewer and further in between than I thought they'd be. Interesting.

7. A Word of Advice

That last tip? Nailed it. Although I would perhaps expand it to read, “If someone says they want to do that and you also want to do that, ask them out.” Bam. Probably success.

8. A Variation on a Theme

It takes a village, right?

9. The Long Game

I'm going to echo everyone else who responded to ITn00b: Ask her out. If she says no, she says no, but nothing ventured, nothing gained — pact or no pact. Go on. Be a Nike commercial.

10. When Is a Prom Not Just a Prom?

When this happens.

11. Another Happy Ending

Seriously, you guys. The vast majority of stories in this thread end like this. Is this proof that marriage pacts actually work? Are the stories actually fabrications? Or is it just that only people who ended up with happy endings felt like responding to this particular question? Inquiring minds need to know!

12. Aaaaaaand a Not-So-Happy Ending

This. This is what I thought there would be more of. Again, remember: Always leave each other room to change your minds.

Like this:

13. The Amiable Split

Made a pact and realized later that it just doesn't work for one or both of you? That's A-OK. As they say, it takes two to tango, so if you're not both down with it, allow yourselves the freedom to let the pact go. If you don't, this might happen:

14. The Dark Side of the Pact

Awwww. I'm sorry, -Pullmyhair-. But hey, you've still got your whole life ahead of you, so now maybe you really can move on. Treat yourself nicely — you deserve it.

15. The Most Realistic Story in the Thread

I'll just let this one speak for itself.

Images: CBS; Giphy (4)