The unwritten clause in my marriage contract

The author with husband Craig Furer

By Jen Furer

Craig and I were sitting on a bench in the middle of the American wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Before I had met Craig, I had not known such beauty existed. So the first time I visited the Met, I felt like a newborn learning new things about life – and about New York.

We were colleagues who became best friends. Within a year, our bond deepened. Cupid really did a number on us. Still, when Craig asked, “Do you want to make it official?” I was astonished. The setting was perfect. It was a beautiful autumn afternoon, the trees a potpourri of colors – orange, green, burgundy and yellow. I felt like I was in a Claude Monet painting.

When Craig reached inside his pocket for a pear-shaped diamond ring, I didn’t know what to say. I gazed into his hazel eyes, and I recognized that he was the prince I had been waiting for.

“Official, it is!” I answered, giggling.

We stood up, hugged and kissed. I fit just right inside his strong arms.

“I was trying to think of something special to say,” he whispered into my ear, chuckling, as he caressed my hair.

“Your proposal was definitely unique,” I said, smiling. “It’s something we’ll laugh about for the rest of our lives.”

That was an excerpt from my book, “Out of Status”.

A marriage proposal is indeed an intention to live as one, and once you say your “I dos”, you promise to love and honor all the days of your lives – and as my husband says, to continue to physically take care of yourself — just like when you started dating.

And that includes “looking good” all the time!

The past few weeks had been hectic. Every morning, I would get up with an intention to work out. Hence, the first outfit worn consisted of my favorite faded pink Old Navy sweat shirt and sweat pants.

But like most stay-at-home mothers, I would lose track of time. Most of the time, I’d get pulled into doing other things except working out. So by the time I picked up my husband, I would still be in my work out clothes, hair tied in a very tight pony tail and looking tired. Not a dab of powder or lipstick.

My husband had been working long hours — going in early and coming home late. So for the past few Fridays, he would “out of the blue” suggest that we stop by our favorite wine-and-dine place while our littlest guy was still in gymnastics. We had 90 minutes — just the two of us!

However, for the past four Fridays, I didn’t realize I would be sitting in a restaurant having wine and cheese. He would laugh that I was still in my gym clothes, but I didn’t mind because I didn’t think it was that important. Although I looked like the hired help! The few spontaneous “dinner dates” helped my husband and I talked about our week. He reminded me that ignoring the way I present myself physically was a breach of our marriage contract!

“I didn’t know we were going out — again.” I replied.

“But you knew I was coming home,” he answered.

So last Friday, I made sure I changed out of my workout clothes (even though at 6 p.m., I still haven’t worked out), put on jeans, a top and a sweater.

Every now and then, I read our ‘ketuvah,’ which hangs on the wall in the den.

This is my beloved; this is my friend. And each said to the other: I promise to share with you in times of joy as in times of trouble. To talk and to listen, to honor and to appreciate you, to provide for and support you in trust and in love. I take you to be mine according to the law. I promise to share my hopes and thoughts and dreams with you. I will work with you to build our lives together. May we grow, our lives forever intertwined, our love bringing us closer. Let us create a home for us and our children based on love, and on honesty. May it be a home filled with peace, with happiness, and with love.

Jen Furer’s memoir, “Out of Status,” is available on Amazon Kindle and also as paperback. Copies of the book are available in Filipino stores in Jersey City, Union, Colonia, Edison and Hamilton, New Jersey. This essay first appeared on her blog She lives in Cranford, New Jersey with her husband and their four children.

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