We all know that our lives can change in a split second—because of an action that we have taken or because of something that has happened to us. That is why it is so important to consider the fragment of time between when an adult child comes home and tells you that their soul mate, the person that they have fallen in love with, the person with whom they want to spend the rest of their life, isn’t Jewish. Or perhaps they don’t say it—you ask the question. In that moment when the subject is broached, you control the tenor of the future relationship you will have with your children, and perhaps even your grandchildren. Any hesitation, any reaction, will be carefully measured and reacted to in turn. This is your chance to shape the future. Don’t blow it.
So what do you say when your adult child introduces you to their partner for the first time? Inside, some parents might feel disappointment, like they failed to instill a strong Jewish identity. Others might even wish their child would marry someone else. In the end, these attitudes won’t make the future spouse feel like they are part of the family – it will make them feel like they are an outsider.
Our suggestion is simple: You welcome them enthusiastically, unabashedly expressing love and excitement. Perhaps if your child’s spouse knows that the Jewish community—as represented by you—is a warm and friendly environment, they may want to spend a long time in it.