Less observant spouse
7 December, 2004
I recently got married. My husband comes from a totally non-religious background while I come from a modern orthodox family. We are having problems with the issue of taharat mishpacha. He agreed prior to our wedding that we would keep the laws according to my level. At the time that proposed level was total abstinence from sexual relations, rigorously doing the bedikot and going to the mikva, but frankly ignoring the harchakot. But when I had mikva classes just prior to our wedding I decided that this was not enough for me, and that we would keep the harchakot as well, including of course sleeping separately. My husband is finding this very difficult. Strangely enough (for me) his main problem is the first couple of days AFTER I have been to the mikva, not before. He says that he finds it impossible to "switch on" his desire for me just because I am now "available". This has resulted so far in a delay of a few days each time before we resume relations. I find this hugely frustrating, my expectation having been that mikva night would be a special experience for the both of us each month, as reported by many women. Not only that of course, but the total days left us to is not huge!
Is there anyone out there with a similar experience? Any advice for us? I desperately want to keep this mitzva properly. Please help.
Building the intimate relationship and its halachic patterns takes time and requires lots of patience and sensitivity on both parts. It is especially difficult when one member of the couple is more observant than the other. Try to understand and show empathy for your husband's feelings. These halachot can prove challenging for any man, and, in your case, the terms of your agreement changed at the last minute.
The two of you should learn to work together on these issues and to develop a framework for religious decision making in areas that involve your relationship to each other. The two of you might benefit from a conversation with an appropriate, understanding halachic professional. If these issues remain unresolved, counseling would be in order.
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