In a book I'm reading there is the phrase "semi-friendly arrangement" that I don't fully understand.

Here is the context

He and I silently acknowledged each other, and although I wondered whether having been seen there would have consequences, I at least knew it wasn’t unheard of for an astronaut to seek help for a troubled marriage. The counselor wasn’t able to help us much, and our marriage continued to deteriorate. Meanwhile, I dropped the subject of our marriage each time Leslie threatened me. After Charlotte was born, and “child” changed to “children,” the stakes were even higher. So we settled into a semi-friendly arrangement in which she took care of our children and home and I pursued my career.

What does "semi-friendly arrangement" mean here?

Please explain to me.


1 Answer 1


It means that it was not a friendly arrangement. It was sort of friendly, not 100% friendly. It suggests the arrangement was not all love and kisses.

Arrangement is how you do something. There are formal arrangements and informal ones. The word arrangement refers here to her caring for the children, and the guy working, and their marriage basically being a non-marriage devoid of love.

Arrangement is often used in legal situations,too. "The parties came to an arrangement: Party A would do [something] and Party B would do [something else]. It is a word used to settle a dispute.

That meaning is implied here. They had an arrangement because they were basically in dispute (fighting all the time): they agreed she would do x and he would do y.

  • So arrangement here has special meaning for marriage, right? Oct 8, 2018 at 15:18
  • 2
    @Knumber10 The word arrangement in this context (referring to a practical understanding and division of duties between the two parties to facilitate the relationship) could apply within a marriage, a "civil partnership" or any other relationship. It just happens that in this case, the couple involved were married. Oct 8, 2018 at 15:46

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