I never really understood how tricky a ketubah text could be until I tried to write my own. And we weren’t even starting from scratch- we just wanted to embellish an existing text to better reflect ourselves. I think the first thing that struck me was how tough it was to sound sincere without slipping into sticky goo. You are at a pretty gooey time in your life after all, so it’s natural. But you probably have enough perspective to know you want this document to stand the test of time. We used the Orthodox Hebrew text, which does not translate very romantically. It’s a straight-up contract and we were happy about that- nothing wrong with a bit of legalese. But for the English portion, the part we would read before our friends and family and that would be read on our wall forever, we wanted something more personal. Writing, or attempting to write, turned out to be a very illuminating experience. In the process of the writing, we took the time to really articulate what the wedding meant to us. Why it was important to be married in front of our community, for instance. We knew marriage was a journey and in talking about the ketubah text, we realized that we were taking everyone in our lives along on that journey, each in his or her own way. That in witnessing our public vow of marriage, they became part of it. This thought ended up really being the only part of the text we amended.
Here’s what we wrote:
“Let our friends, our family, our community know and uphold that our words are true, that they are eternal, that we shall never say them to another.”