He's Shomer Shabbos & You're Not: Navigating Different Beliefs

If you’re unfamiliar with what being Shomer Shabbos means, it is, quite simply, a person who who observes the commandments of Shabbat. This would include not being able to cook, spend money, write or operate electrical devices (among other things) throughout Shabbat (Friday at sundown to Saturday at sundown). Now, what if the person you’re falling for observes Shomer Shabbat and you don’t? Can the relationship still work? Or is it doomed?

The short answer is yes, it can still work – if you want it to. Ultimately, you need to respect each other’s beliefs to make this relationships a success. Having different ideas about Shabbat is not a deal breaker, but it is something to think about. If it’s a life you’re not willing to have or compromise on, then you might want to reconsider being together. Generally, however, there’s no reason it can’t work.

Shared Values

I think it’s wise to talk about this towards the beginning of a relationship. There’s no need to discuss marriage, babies, the neighborhood you’ll live in and the white picket fence you’ll have, but to discuss your core beliefs and values is important. If being Shomer Shabbos is a big part of your significant other’s life, you should not try to change that about him. If you’re with someone, it’s important to accept them for who they are, and if you can’t or don’t want to, it might not be the right relationship.

When it comes to religion, I think that’s one thing you should not push onto someone else. I also don’t think one should try to take that away from another person. Religion is personal, and if your partner strongly believes in honoring Shomer Shabbos, then you need to let him do that and not stand in his way. If you like someone enough, their religious beliefs and traditions shouldn’t change that. However, if it does, don’t beat yourself up over it; it just might not be the right person for you, and that’s okay.

Finding Middle Ground

Maybe Saturday night is your night to go out and be together rather than Friday night. Maybe you start lighting the Shabbat candles and spending part of the Sabbath with him and then go on home. Incorporating bits of the traditions into your own life shows your partner that it’s important to you because it’s important to them, and that you respect them and their beliefs.

In the end, it’s not necessarily a deal breaker at all, but you just have to think hard about whether this is what you want in your life. And, again, if you don’t, that’s okay. There will be someone out there who does and who will be perfect for them, so don’t worry about that. Take some time to think about how this will affect your life; maybe it won’t at all, and it’ll be an easy transition for you. Just be upfront and honest with yourself and with your partner. If you both want it to work, it absolutely can.

You may also be interested in 6 Reasons To Be Thankful You’re Jewish

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