Your husband, the talmid chacham
Updated: May 11, 2020
Do you have engraved on your brain that it's your job to encourage your husband to learn? Sure, a wife has an equal share in her husband's learning. But "encouragement" might not mean what you think.
Did you ever notice that it's a whole lot easier to be a girl who wants boy who learns - than it is to be a boy who learns?
Think about it. Being involved in intellectual pursuit all day - and at night, too. Or holding down a full time job, and getting up extra early for a shiur, or running out again in the evening.
Yes, Torah is beautiful - but let's all acknowledge that it's not an easy task for many men to maximize their investment in their learning.
You know that a big part of your tafkid is being supportive of your husband's learning. And you may be doing that already - by working to support the family, doing without his help at home, or giving up on some of your family time.
But if you've ever been disappointed that your husband is not learning as much as you expected - or maybe even barely at all - you may feel like it's part of your job description to push him to learn more. Remind him when it's time to leave. Tell him about your brothers and cousins and friends' husbands who put in extra hours even when they're overextended and busy.
Because like most things that are your husband's responsibility, he does not appreciate your "help" in reminding, pushing, and subtly criticizing him.
I know what you're thinking. If it's my tafkid to support my husband's learning, how am I supposed to do that if I can't push him in the right direction?
The Nshei Hasiyum publication distributed at the Siyum HaShas had a beautiful interview with Rebbetzin Shula Sternbuch, titled"What does 'encouraging a husband' really mean?"
Since she said it so well, I'd like to share a few quotations from the article:
Don't nudge him.If you nudge him, he'll do the opposite.That's human nature... When you tell a husband to learn, he will sit for another 10 minutes with the newspaper.
Give him respect.Praise him in front of the children and family... Ask him questions that show you respect his knowledge. If a man feels respected for his learning and as the head of the family, he will naturally want to please his wife and the people around him.
It doesn't matter who your husband is - whether he's a shoemaker, a lawyer, a ben Torah, or a rosh yeshiva. Each one, whoever he is, is someone you had the mazel and the zechus to marry.Look at him like he's your rosh yeshiva, he's your talmid chacham.Don't put him down; praise him according to his power and according to his abilities.... Respect him like he is a ben Torah, and he'll be encouraged.
I keep in contact with many girls, the ones that married men who don't learn often find that because they respected their husbands, many are now even keeping up with the Daf Yomi.It's unbelievable to see the koach of a woman- just through looking at their husbands like they are special, they can cause wonderful changes.