web analytics
April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



I Want To Be Religious And My Wife Doesn’t


Neuman-Rabbi-M-Gary

Share Button

Question: I am becoming an Orthodox Jew. I totally love what I am doing and the new meaning it is giving my life. I want to be become more strictly observant, but my wife does not agree and has become an unwilling participant. She refuses to consult with my rabbi because the one time she spoke with him she felt he wasn’t being sensitive to her needs. The more religious I become, the more irreligious she becomes. I really do love her but as far as I am concerned, when it comes to religious observance, things are black and white. I don’t want to live a non-observant lifestyle and yet, she won’t consider becoming religious. What do I do? I told her I was writing to you and she agreed to try whatever you’d suggest.

Answer: The pressure is on. While I am a big fan of a religious lifestyle, I am also a fan of a happy marriage. It is truly a wonderful moment when spirituality and marital love exist together. Your question, however, highlights the general issue of how do we make changes in our personal lives when we are married and expect to keep in step with that relationship.

Any union that will make it to the 50-year mark, and beyond, is going to face significant changes, because we will change as people. Those changes are often not the same for both halves of a couple, so the marital concept of growing together will often face a major challenge.

The answer lies in forming a loving spirit of cooperation by both spouses. First, the spouse who seeks change – in your case it is you wanting to become more religious – has the responsibility of including the other spouse in his/her desire to change. This means that you offer her a say in how to proceed. The fact that she did meet with your rabbi and is willing to listen to my suggestion means she isn’t closed to the process, but rather, hasn’t found a comfortable way to become a part of it. It might be a good idea to visit different synagogues with her, in the hope of finding one you can both relate to. This will also give her the feeling of having a say in the process.

You’re desire to lead a more religious lifestyle is admirable but it’ll be a far richer experience with the love of your life along for the ride. Toward that end you may have to go slower in making certain changes and give her time to “catch up” and join you on this journey. This doesn’t mean you each won’t have your individual thoughts, feelings and strengths. In fact, each of you will relate to different parts of what religious life offers because you are different people. This is wonderful because you will teach each other things you wouldn’t have related to on your own. But at the core, you will become closer to each other and reach a consensus on how to proceed.

The second part of cooperation is solely your wife’s job. Too many people discount any changes desired by their spouses claiming it wasn’t what they agreed to when they married. Of course not. How can we stay exactly the same throughout our lifetime? Others will think they are being good husbands or wives by telling their spouse to do what they want as long as they keep them out of it. This is a recipe for disaster.

What do you think happens when one spouse commits to personal changes and chases his passion without the involvement of his mate? Nothing good, that’s for sure. Either there is a mote of distance that quickly builds or the changed spouse finds someone else who loves these changes and gets on board (or both). Obviously, this doesn’t mean that a spouse can’t have some personal interests not shared with his or her mate, but it does dictate that there shouldn’t be too many and primary passions are best shared.

When your spouse feels compelled to discover new things, get in on it from the start. It may not be your choice or something you’d ever think of doing, but isn’t that what marriage and life is all about? We develop a complicated quilt of life experiences because of the people we love. If you’re child becomes a violinist, you’re going to learn more about Mozart than you ever cared to. Likewise, if your child is hearing impaired, don’t you think you will become an expert in sign language?

The beautiful Yiddish expression, “Man plans and G-d laughs,” tells us that we’re ever changing and love is the best way to go where you have never gone before.

I hope you and your wife take your responsibilities to each other seriously and search out a new collective way of living your best marriage centered lifestyle.

Check out Gary’s new web program where he interviews couples who share their struggles and innermost thoughts and feelings at mgaryneuman.com. Facebook or Twitter Gary at mgaryneuman. M. Gary Neuman is a NY Times best selling author and a frequent guest on the Oprah show. He lives in Miami with his wife and five children.

Share Button

About the Author: Check out Gary’s web program where he interviews couples who share their struggles and innermost thoughts and feelings at mgaryneuman.com. Facebook or Twitter Gary at mgaryneuman. M. Gary Neuman is a NY Times best selling author and a frequent guest on the Oprah show. He lives in Miami with his wife and five children.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

No Responses to “I Want To Be Religious And My Wife Doesn’t”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Flyers ordered Jews to appear at a designated location in Ukraine, in Sept., 1941. The next day, the Jews lined up at the Babi Yar Ravine.
‘Jews Must Register’ Flyer in Ukraine an Echo of Babi Yar
Latest Sections Stories
Schonfeld-logo1

Regardless of age, parents play an important role in their children’s lives.

Marriage-Relationship-logo

We peel away one layer after the next, our eyes tear up and it becomes harder and harder to see as we get closer to our innermost insecurities and fears.

Gorsky-041814-Torah

Some Mountain Jews believe they are descendents of the Ten Lost Tribes and were exiled to Azerbaijan and Dagestan by Sancheriv.

Baim-041814-Piggy

Yom Tov is about spending time with your family. And while for some families the big once-in-a-lifetime experience is great, for others something low key is the way to go.

A fascinating glimpse into the rich complexity of medieval Jewish life and its contemporary relevance had intriguingly emerged.

Dear Dr. Yael:

My heart is breaking; my husband’s friend has gotten divorced. While this type of situation is always sad, here I do believe it could have been avoided.

The plan’s goal is to provide supportive housing to 200 individuals with disabilities by the year 2020.

Despite being one of the fastest-growing Jewish communities in the U.S. – the estimated Jewish population is 70-80,000 – Las Vegas has long been overlooked by much of the Torah world.

She was followed by the shadows of the Six Million, by the ever so subtle awareness of their vanished presence.

Pesach is so liberating (if you excuse the expression). It’s the only time I can eat anywhere in the house, guilt free! Matzah in bed!

Now all the pain, fear and struggle were over and they were home. Yuli was safe and free, a hero returned to his land and people.

While it would seem from his question that he is being chuzpadik and dismissive, I wonder if its possible, if just maybe, he is a struggling, confused neshama who actually wants to come back to the fold.

I agree with the letter writer that a shadchan should respectfully and graciously accept a negative response to a shidduch offer.

Alternative assessments are an extremely important part of understanding what students know beyond the scope of tests and quizzes.

More Articles from Rabbi M. Gary Neuman
Neuman-Rabbi-M-Gary

Spoiler Alert: Going to see the movie “Saving Mr. Banks”, starring Tom Hanks is not like going to Disney World. Well, it is like going to Disney World if you go mid-August with your triplet toddlers, feed them all cotton candy, and lose your car because you forgot you parked in Pluto 7.394. It’s not a happy Disney movie.

Neuman-Rabbi-M-Gary

Stacy and George walked out of the marriage counselor’s office angrier than when they arrived. It was their third session and this last fight over his ex-wife wasn’t going away. The fifty minutes spent embroiled in a detailed account of their battle only fired up their anger – and the counselor’s request to remember how much they love each other wasn’t helping. It would be a week before the next session and both of them were already talking about not coming back.

The therapeutic alliance has always been about a firm connection between patient and counselor. There has always been one primary standard – physically meeting in an office setting. There might be some phone calls in between sessions or to bridge some vacation gap. But therapy has always been about a feeling of connectivity and there is no better way to do this than face-to-face.

Cindy is 43, successful, attractive, a dedicated mom, extremely caring… and she hates herself. She doesn’t readily admit this, but spend a minute inside her head and you’ll discover the resounding messages revolving around negative rants – everything from “I failed” to “I should’ve done better.” You wouldn’t know it from her behavior. She’s a high functioning, regular member of society.

As adults who were children of divorce know, healing does not occur through time alone. In fact, my research found that only 46% said they had a positive relationship with their fathers as adults.

Stacy and Michael walked out of the marriage counselor’s office angrier than when they arrived. It was their third session and this last fight over his ex wife wasn’t going away. The fifty minutes embroiled in a detailed outline of the battle only fired up their anger and the counselor’s request to remember how much they love each other wasn’t helping. It would be a week before the next session and both of them were already talking about not returning for therapy.

From the moment they stand under the chuppah, newlyweds have two years to enjoy the special bliss that new love brings. This new finding, reported by the New York Times, is based on a study undertaken by American and European researchers. 1,761 people who got married and stayed married over 15 years were followed. The research shows that after two years the couples moved into a more companionable state in their relationships.

There are millions of adults today who experienced the trauma of their parents’ divorce 20, 30, 40 or more years ago. Some have found closure, but many more have not. Regrettably, it is a time in a child’s life that is never forgotten. It stays with you; it is part of who you are.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/marriage-relationships/i-want-to-be-religious-and-my-wife-doesnt/2011/01/26/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: