Interestingly, there are no mentions of written documents associated with
marriage in the Old Testament. Some scholars trace the first mention of
marriage writs to around the third century B.C.E. Pre-talmudic instances
of marriage contracts are quite sketchy, but there is some agreement that
ketubot arose out of marriage deeds used in the fifth and sixth century
B.C.E. in Egypt.
Talmudic Rabbis regarded the ketuba as a very important document and spent
quite a bit of time devising exact wording and requirements.
What does the ketuba say?
Traditionally, ketubot specify the obligations of a man to his wife. Modern
ketubot are often egalitarian, allowing both the bride and the groom to
promise to honor, love and respect the other.
As you might imagine, the legal language of ketubot has changed dramatically in the last 1500 years to better reflect contemporary needs. The Rabbi who marries the couple generally determines the specific text that will be used. Modern, egalitarian texts are used by many congregations today.
I will work with you and your Rabbi so you can have a personalized ketuba of your own.