I guess this is mostly just to get thoughts off my chest, but I’m open to advice or stories of anyone else who’s gone through some sort of crisis in frumkeit.
I’m a pretty standard frum guy in the US. Day schools, yeshiva, etc etc. I’ve developed my own strong connection with Judaism that definitely defines me and the way I live. Halacha is a very important thing to me and, within reason of course, is what makes me feel connected. Sure, I’m not perfect and sometimes am inconsistent and miss a day or learning here or minyan there, and I dont love it, but I understand that’s part of my growth process. Other than some occasional embarrassment about it and wanting to be better, no problems there.
I’m now 27 and have been married for 1.5 years. My wife also grew up frum and had a pretty similar background. After marriage she had a very tough time with hilchos niddah due to anxiety. It’s shaken her, and her overall attitude towards G-d and Judaism is much more laid back now. She doesn’t violate prohibitions, but her attitude towards doing mitzvos is more of a whatever she finds meaning in these days attitude. Not quite the wife I imagined when I married her, but I get that everyone has their journey and it’s my job to be supportive of her deciding who she wants to be and her mental health. I have some thoughts and concerns here and there as to how we can raise children like that. She’s mentioned concerns of that herself, but to put her mind at ease (since she has enough on her plate) I tell her we’ll make it work, especially she’s more ok raising children with my approach since that’s what we agreed to when getting married. But I know my job as her husband is unconditional love and support.
My biggest issue, which has been slowly growing for a while, is the niddah stuff. It’s one of the areas (along with kashrus, but that doesnt bother her as much for the most part) that affects the two of us a couple and the “you do your own religious journey” attitude doesnt really work. We’ve kind of come to the partly-unspoken temporary agreement for about a year (after some very serious tension on our marriage for the first few months where she realized how antagonistic she was towards this) that she prepares and goes to the mikva appropriately, I make sure to be home from work and be around to do anything she needs me to (which was my plan from the start, regardless), and that we don’t touch while she’s a niddah, but other harchakos have essentially gone out the window. I really dont love it, but I understand that she doesn’t either and it’s a compromise for the sake of her sanity, so whatever. It is what it is. She’s in therapy to work on this and the larger issues that are causing it, and I’m trying to work to support her. She has verbally told me many times that she feels as much love and support from me as she possibly could imagine.
More recently, there’s some gynecological stuff that has come up which may or may not have ramifications for hilchos niddah. It likely won’t matter, but it could potentially, and I just wanted to mention it to put it on her radar because it truthfully may not be. I feel this fits into the paradigm of our unspoken compromise because whether or not she’s a niddah is a big deal even if we maybe don’t fully act properly when she is. The issue is, I know this is a charged issue for her and just bringing this up will likely lead to an emotional argument and I truthfully am just so worn out from having this same kind of discussion/argument so many times over the past 1.5 years that I dont have the energy to do it again. I dont. I would rather set a clear compromise (we pay attention to when she is/isnt a niddah, do the whole mikva prep properly, but no harchakos and maybe a touch when she really needs it, and I give tons of emotional support and extra time with her when we cant touch, etc etc.) but I know that discussing situations that come up and even starting a conversation about our compromise will get charged and be, understandably, triggering for her. So I’ve avoided it.
But now I feel like such a hypocrite in my Judaism that I’m basically ignoring several potential deoraysas in this area just because I’m worn out from trying to navigate this tricky dynamic. I dont want to upset her, but the lack of ability to communicate is starting to majorly affect my mental health. I feel depressed and dont want to do anything anymore, Jewish or otherwise. She’s noticed and is concerned, but tbh this has been happening internally behind my smile for a year. But I dont have the energy to tell her why and have this turn into another emotional rift again. Im just so worn out, clinically depressed, feel hypocritical, and am questioning everything because of this. It’s very much stopping me from feeling happy and fulfilled in my marriage, and I would feel guilty about the emotional state she’d be in if I insisted on more. But too much discussion or compromise in the other direction will leave her upset at Judaism and guilty for my depression.
And we dont really have time or money for marriage counseling though we did discuss the idea maybe a year ago.
Im sorry, this came out so much longer than I meant and I’ll probably delete it soon. But I just needed this off my chest. Anyone have advice, chizuk, or personal stories that could be useful?
submitted by /u/judaismthrowaway11