Wednesday, September 13, 2006

What's in your wallet marriage contract?

Many Jewish couples observe the tradition of executing a Ketubah prior to their marriage. Like a pre-nuptial agreement, a Ketubah may set out what will happen in the event the marriage fails. But the Ketubah does more; it allocates the duties, privileges, rights and responsibilities that will govern the couple during the marriage. It is a marriage contract.

We’re not Jewish. And I can’t remember signing any marriage contract.

But Long Suffering Spouse insists that there is a contract – and under the contract I am obligated to do all the practice driving with our children.

We have Driver’s Ed in Illinois; it is offered at the public high school just down the street from where we live. But Driver’s Ed is just the beginning. Parents have to certify that they have driven with their children for hours on end before the child can receive a driver’s license. We (I) had to certify 25 hours under the former law; it was recently raised to 50. Younger Daughter started under the old statute; I’m hoping she’ll be ‘grandfathered’ out of the new requirement. I’m really hoping....

The kids have each in turn made fun of me: Me with my imaginary brake, my grimace in every turn, my holding on to the door handle. Sometimes – when there are no cars on the road – it can almost be pleasant. The radio is off. So we chat. I learn more about what’s happening in their lives. I can sometimes even sneak in some fatherly advice without being tuned out. (And then a car comes out of a sidestreet... do you see it?... it’s going to turn in front of us... aieeeeee! *Pause* We made it! *Huff* *Puff* Release death grip on door handle, pretend I was merely stretching instead of almost putting my foot through the passenger side floor. “Now what were you saying?”)

Anyway, I’m curious: What terms in your marriage contract came as a surprise to you (or to your spouse)? If you’re not married, what about your parents? Or your friends? And will I ever get to see my contract?


cmhl said...

hahahah, this made me LAUGH!! My dad was also in charge of "teaching to drive," and I well remember the grimaces of pain when I would have significant technical difficulties manipulating the stick shift. Worst case scenario-- being at a stop going up a hill @ a light while utilizing a stick shift. One time he pulled up the emergency brake and made me trade places with him, because he couldn't bear it. hahaha.

What came as a surprise to me.... hummmm. that I would be expected to be a full-time homemaker as well as a full-time attorney? Apparently, simply by virtue of my internal organs, I am better equipped to mop the kitchen floor.

I think my spouse was surprised that he was expected to do everything as well as if not better than my father did, which of course was an impossible task. Oh, and he is the official bug-killer. He may not have realized that he inherited that mantle when he said "I do."

Jean-Luc Picard said...

As with all contracts, I suggest both partners read the small print,

Jaci Clark said...

My father was also in charge of teaching me to drive. He was a slave driver! We had a stick-shift and he would bring a rolled up newspaper so he could swat me every time I "rode the clutch". No wonder why I'm so disfunctional (but I am a great driver).
My husband will also (unknowingly) inherite this job as I am a SAHM and part of that job description is driving my kids everywhere they need to go...all the time. When they are finally old enough to be driving themselves I can imagine that I will be "all driven out" from years of toting them and their friends all over the city. Hence I will "pass the baton" to my DH.