Rabbi Nosson on Marriage: “Divorce is Not an Option”

Rabbi Yoel Roth said over a story of Rabbi Nosson and his whole approach to marriage:

Do you have a tough life? Are you married and have difficulties with your marriage? It’s not the end of the world. G-d gave you this wife and you must think of ideas and find ways to make her happy. You have to know how to live with her. This is service of G-d! Don’t look at me with those eyes, what again we’re talking about domestic harmony which is silly to talk about! Let’s rather talk about serving G-d; didn’t I come to Breslev to tear myself away from the physical, to leave the falsehood to be truly truthful! To serve G-d!!

Rabbi Nosson wrote that “for things between a husband and a wife I really need to write much more than I did in the Likutei Halachot.” So if you get married and have a certain type of home, you must learn to live with your wife. It’s not possible to just get up and say “it’s not going for me, I want to separate.” This is terrible!

A man once came to Rabbi Nosson complaining”: “I want a divorce, my wife is always yelling, I don’t any more strength for this. Rabbi I’m getting a divorce!” Rabbi Nosson asked him: “Are you telling me or are you asking me?” The man said; “I don’t know should I ask?” Rabbi Nosson said: “Well, if you ask me divorce is not an option; it’s just running away from the problem. It won’t help the problem. Run away; then what will be after that? Are you so sure that your next marriage will be better? And after that if the 2nd marriage doesn’t go the 3rd will be better? Divorce is not an option!”

The man asked; “So what do I do?” Rabbi Nosson answered: “When you get home who told you to think that this is coming to you and that is coming to you; that you have a nice table already laid out with food on it, nice children and a nice wife waiting for you at home? Come home thinking you have nothing, literally nothing! Then when you come home and see you have a home, a wife and children you’ll start dancing with joy.”

This was Rabbi Nosson’s advice and his approach; to tell a person looking for peace in his home that “G-d is with you in your home; with you and your wife and not necessarily in the study hall.” There are men who think that serving G-d is in the study hall and the house is purely physical and not spiritual. That is a mistake. G-d is in your home. A married man should stay home and needn’t run to other pursuits at night. No friends, no intense learning groups, no schmoozing with the guys, you’ve got to get home!

Friday night where do you think you’re going, to a “Tish” (the Admor’s table)? Make your own “Tish” at home! If you’re tired go to sleep, if you have strength sing Shabbat songs. If you still have strength, learn at home with a pleasant tune. Learning out loud in a pleasant tune is an amazing thing. Your wife will enjoy it and the children will see their father learning Torah at home.


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