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Married at Different Levels of Observance

My husband and I have been married for two years, happily. I am Orthodox and he is not. He has learned how to make Kiddush and say Grace After Meals (with transliteration), and happily accompanies me to peoples' homes for Shabbat meals (including local Aish folks, who are terrific). However, he shows little inclination to go further. We have agreed that our children will go to Orthodox day school. I try very hard not to push, but to be a quiet example. Yet it can be very frustrating at times.

My question is: Aside from prayer, which is the most powerful thing I do, is there anything else I can do to spur him along? We really have a wonderful relationship, and he has an incredible Jewish spark which glows, despite no nurturing in youth.

The Aish Rabbi Replies:

I think the answer is to expose your husband to role models. Rabbis are good, but I think even more important are successful, intelligent, worldly orthodox men. A rabbi can inspire your husband, but your husband can never imagine himself fitting that model. He will relate a lot more to a couple where the husband is working. Besides, since it's essentially a rabbi's job to reach out to people, the non-rabbi may be perceived as more sincere.

The other thing is you can have a religious man (even a rabbi in this case) come to your house and teach, say, a 3-part series on a topic like parenting, marriage, kindness, or business ethics. This way your husband can see how Torah wisdom directly applies to issues relevant to him – and provides meaningful answers. Perhaps it is worth the investment for you to underwrite the cost, just to get the ball rolling.

Another important thing: Give him a chance to see how your observance and learning directly increases your appreciation, respect and affection for him. In other words, do something really nice, and then when he thanks you, tell him that you got the idea from having heard a certain Torah lesson. Once he sees the correlation, and how your Jewish involvement is "good for him" – in a practical, everyday sense – he is bound to be more encouraging and interested himself.

Also, has he been to a Discovery seminar? That frequently can give a big jump-start to someone's interest and involvement. The seminar is given in hundreds of cities throughout the world. For more info: http://www.aish.com/dis/

Finally, ask the Almighty to open his heart.

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