Your negative attitude toward your husband will unfortunately make him want to do even less regarding Yiddishkeit. If you focus on his negative qualities he will have nothing to aspire to in terms of growing. As you started out as a kollel couple, both of you must have had similar aspirations. Do you know if he has maintained any close relationships that were formed during those years? If so, can you somehow contact those people and ask them to reach out to your husband?
It is imperative that you find qualities in your husband that you respect. He is clearly feeling a lack of respect, giving him less motivation to aim higher in his pursuit of Yiddishkeit growth. While you seem to be firmer in your commitment, you appear to be reacting to his lesser commitment with an angry, critical attitude. Neither approach will ultimately help you. As in all situations, people must find ways to enhance others in order to help them grow.
Some of my suggestions in the article you referenced will hopefully be helpful to you as well, namely that you must change your moody and angry attitude. This stance will only destroy your marriage. Emphasize your husband’s positive attributes by complimenting him. And if he does something that you do not like, address the issue in a loving way. Be careful to not be critical, but firmly tell him that there are certain boundaries in your marriage and that you do not want him to visit any inappropriate websites. Keep in mind that by distancing yourself from your husband when you are upset, you are pushing him toward doing other things that may be inappropriate.
You must act lovingly toward your husband even if he does not go to minyan or learn. You may have to take a bit tougher line on the Internet issue – but act calmly and lovingly when dealing with this matter as well.
It is also a good idea to seek outside therapeutic help along with counsel from a trusted rav. Positive encouragement to return to learning and davening is the best way to proceed in your marriage. I wish you hatzlachah in your challenging situation.Dr. Yael Respler
About the Author: Dr. Yael Respler is a psychotherapist in private practice who provides marital, dating and family counseling. Dr. Respler also deals with problems relating to marital intimacy. Letters may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. To schedule an appointment, please call 917-751-4887. Dr. Orit Respler-Herman, a child psychologist, co-authors this column and is now in private practice providing complete pychological evaluations as well as child and adolescent therapy. She can be reached at 917-679-1612. Previous columns can be viewed at www.jewishpress.com and archives of Dr. Respler’s radio shows can be found at www.dryaelrespler.com.
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