I have a really great husband. He's caring, generous and considerate. We are generally happy except when it comes to one very important aspect of our lives. Our spiritual growth.

We are similar in our beliefs and general values but the way that we live on a day to day way is very different. I am expressive, emotional and verbal about my connection with God, my goals, dreams and visions of how we want to raise our children. I feel it is so important to discuss topics like faith in God, the upcoming holiday, prayer, etc. My husband learns Torah and knows many laws and is very careful about the laws, but he doesn't talk about almost anything when it comes to this topic of spiritual growth, a relationship with God, the holidays.

It's not that he's quiet; he talks about other things. He talks about sports, monetary investments, etc. My question is, how do I bring this topic that is so important to me into our relationship?

I could just learn on my own, talk to friends about these topics but there are several issues with that. One, I would be leaving out such a huge part of myself and what I'm passionate about with my husband. Two, this should be a partnership and something shared between husband and wife, sharing our goals on to what type of home we want to build, how the children should feel about these topics. Three, I feel our relationship would have a lot less "substance" – real glue making it a lasting and strong connection. And lastly, how will the children learn these essential lessons in our values if I am the only one talking about them?

Should I just give up on having this kind of connection in our journey of spiritual growth and instead put my full energy into focusing on the qualities that my husband does bring to the home? Or is this something I should continue to encourage, and if so, how?

Should I encourage discussions on faith, our goals and dreams for spiritual growth, even though he seemingly has little interest in such conversations? Also, by bringing up this topic, I feel I naturally insult my husband, making him feel he is not enough and not able to connect with me in a such a huge way, in a way that is so important to me. But without this conversation, I feel isolated and lonely on this journey that I always felt was supposed to be unified between husband and wife. Are my expectations unrealistic? Thank you very much in advance.

Dear Unrealistic Expectations,

Yes, I think your expectations are unrealistic – not just based on who your husband is but on your vision of marriage. No husband (or wife!) and no marriage has everything. You say that you have a really great husband who is caring, considerate and generous. Many women would give their eye to be able say that. In addition it’s not that he doesn’t share your values or involvement in learning (like many marriages I know of), it’s just not an area where he’s particularly expressive, especially emotionally.

It may be that your way of connecting – both to the Almighty and to you – just isn’t his style. You seem to focused on what’s supposed to be. There is no such thing. More important for your children than discussions of faith in God is for them to see that you respect their father, that you value and enjoy him. The relationship you present to them will teach them far more than abstract (or even practical) Torah discussions will.

You can find someone else to discuss these issues with – I assume you go to classes with other women – it’s much harder to find someone else to parent your children! As with everything in life, we are more successful and happier when we focus on what we have rather than what’s missing.

By your own accounting, you have a wonderful husband; if you concentrate on his good qualities, you will feel less like something is missing. I have a friend who had a similar complaint; she was never satisfied with his learning and his inability to engage in the kind of conversations that she (and apparently you) desire. When he passed away at a young age, she was left with many regrets that she spent so much time pushing him to be someone he wasn’t and not enough time appreciating all the wonderful qualities he had.

You don’t want to make the same mistake. Be grateful for what you have and let your husband know how much you appreciate him. With a lot of support, he may eventually make himself available for these discussions but whether he does or doesn’t, it sounds like you have a real prize and you need to let him know you realize it! And then you need to remind yourself. There is no perfect person or perfect marriage. No individual and no relationship has everything. Enjoy what you have!