Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Writing a marriage contract

Mr. Spaniel seemed to be more surprised every time we talked about it that I wanted a Jewish wedding... maybe it took him a few months to pay attention when I talked about it. :) Anyway, he definitely had a WTF moment when we talked about a ketubah (a Jewish marriage contract) a few months back (even though it was at least the third time it's come up and he was totally okay with it the first two times!), so I decided to do some research into the texts. Certainly we would not be having an orthodox ketubah, because we don't follow "the laws of Moses and of Israel," but I like the idea of writing down in a "contract" our expectations of each other and our marriage, and I wouldn't mind writing our own (in lieu of writing our own vows to be read aloud at the ceremony). Anyway, when I read him this secular text (from New Ketubah), he finally seemed convinced.

On the [day] of the week, the [day] of the month of [month] in the year [year], in the presence of family and friends in [city, state], [bride's name] daughter of [father] and [mother], and [groom's name] son of [father] and [mother], affirmed their union of marriage and made these vows to each other:

As beloveds and friends, we choose to walk life's path together. We will appreciate our differences as a source of richness and build a life together as equal partners and supportive companions. We will be slow to anger and quick to forgive. We will celebrate life's splendors together; we will brace each other through its storms. May our love provide us with the freedom to be ourselves and the courage to follow both our mutual and our individual directions.

We promise to honor our ancestors, families, and all living beings; treasure, enjoy, and continue the traditions we have inherited; create a home filled with love and peace, freedom and compassion. We will shelter each other; our home will be a place of openness and generosity. With our community of friends and family as witnesses, we now combine our separate fates into one.

Mr. Spaniel's response? "That's actually pretty nice. I really like what it says about openness." I showed him the Embracing Trees design from, and he really liked that, too (he's a hippie).

In any event, I'm feeling less attached now than I was to having a rabbi perform the ceremony. If we have a ketubah (more as a keepsake of the event than anything else), and he breaks a glass at the end, and maybe we can do a wine blessing in the middle somewhere (because it would be more interesting than a completely secular, ritual-free wedding), I think I'm happy enough. I go through phases.

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