Friday, March 12, 2010

Crib Note: It's In the Ketubah

A ketubah is the Jewish marriage agreement signed by the bride and groom after the wedding. Like any contract, it outlines the rights and responsibilities of the parties. Oh. And, it's usually really pretty.

Ours hangs in the hall. Check it out when you come. When we moved in seven years ago I spent a fortune framing it to coordinate with the decor.

Steve and I have a running joke. Any time one of us wants the other to do something -- like fix a flat in the rain or watch football instead of the Food Network -- we declare But you've got to ... it's in the ketubah. Until recently as far as I knew it could have been. As many times as I walked by it, I don't think I ever actually stopped and read it. Probably not even on our wedding day.

Jewish or not, maybe you have something like this hanging in your house. Some tangible reminder that a deal was struck. Displayed in a fancy frame.

Last year I found myself needing to cram some forgiveness into my heart. Due to the "nature" of the problem, I couldn't talk about it with anyone. I wasn't into self-help books or Dr. Phil-like philosophy. And I was fairly spiritually inept.

But I was an attorney.

So I went back to the agreement. In search of a provision for boneheaded decisions made by one's spouse. Perhaps some mandated hard labor. Oh. And a basis for forgiveness too.

And here's what it said:

I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine. No man without woman; no woman without man and neither without G-d.

I thought about what those words meant. I'll spare you the details. But generally I concluded we were in it together and that part of being married meant that each of us could make mistakes. And be forgiven. So long as we learned from it. That maybe what felt all consuming at the moment would eventually fall away. And what would be left would be the two of us.

Sure. It wasn't an instant fix. But it was a very simple statement about why we had gotten married in the first place. An excellent jumping off point for forgiveness.

And the best part ...

I now know that forced football viewing is not in the ketubah.

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