Regarding the first year of marriage, the Torah states, “When a man takes a new wife, he shall not go out in the army, nor shall he be subjected to anything associated with it. He shall remain free for his home for one year and delight his wife, whom he has taken.”1

How broadly are we to apply this law?

Many commentators are of the opinion that this is an injunction specifically concerning going out to war.2 Others, however, interpret this more broadly to mean that a newlywed man should stay home together with his wife for the first year.3

What is the reason behind this restriction?

Some explain that there is a concern that the groom will be preoccupied with his new wife and will be unable to concentrate properly during battle, endangering himself and others. Therefore, the Torah exempts him from going out to battle.4 According to them, this would apply only in the case of war, but not restrict him from traveling for other purposes.

Other commentators explain that the intent of the mitzvah is to strengthen the foundation of the marriage, prevent the groom from being distracted by other women, and create the proper environment to start the family.5 Accordingly, this law may apply to all trips outside the home, not just war.


Even according to those that are of the opinion that this is a broad injunction that applies nowadays as well,6 many commentators maintain that it would generally not apply to a situation where the husband needs to travel for the purposes of a mitzvah such as to study Torah.7

Additionally, some are of the opinion that if it is for business purposes, it would be permitted.8 Others, however, add that this is only if it would be difficult for him to make a livelihood without traveling.9

Furthermore, according to many, if the wife agrees, the husband would be permitted to travel alone.10 Others, however, limit this to a situation where the wife agrees to allow her husband to travel for business purposes.11

Making One’s Wife Happy

Although, as pointed out, there is discussion as to the technical halachic parameters of this mitzvah, it is important to keep in mind the general underpinning of the mitzvah: “he shall remain free for his home for one year and delight his wife.”

A successful marriage rests on prioritizing one’s spouse, and this is especially true of the first year of marriage. At the beginning of the marriage, the bond between husband and wife is still being formed, setting the tone and foundation for the rest of their lives together. The stronger the foundation, the stronger the building, and the easier it is to weather any storms ahead.

So, if you are a newlywed groom, you should make a serious attempt to limit the amount of time you must be away, and curtail business travel that takes you away from home overnight as much as possible.

Additionally, especially if there are no children involved, it may be possible to arrange to have your wife come along with you if you need to stay away for an extended period of time. I know of instances when, knowing that it was the first year of marriage, the company was more than happy to arrange for the wife to come along, thus turning a “business trip” into a semi-vacation or tour that both could enjoy.

After this all-important year, these regulations are relaxed because the foundation that will define your life together has been cast, allowing you to build upon it for the rest of your lives.