Question:

How am I supposed to keep a kosher kitchen when my husband still wants to cook shrimp in it? Both my husband and I were born into a non-observant families. Now, however, I want to start keeping kosher, but my husband has no interest in doing so. What should I do?

Answer:

First of all, know that you are not alone in this dilemma—very often when a couple is becoming more observant, they each move at a different pace; one wants to start keeping kosher, and the other is not yet ready to do so. And it also frequently occurs that one spouse wants to become observant while the other is not ready yet to make such a move.

The best way to deal with this is by negotiating. If you haven't been keeping kosher, you'll obviously need to re-kosher your kitchen. You will probably have some "non-kosherable" pots, utensils, dishes, etc. Set them aside for your husband's use. Designate an area in the kitchen for him where he can cook his shrimp (maybe provide him with a 1or 2 burner unit) or heat up his Chinese carry-out. Ask him to use only this place and these utensils for the non-kosher stuff, and to leave the rest of the kitchen kosher. Thank him for being so understanding of your needs. This way you respect his wants, while he respects yours. Then you cook and prepare such delicious kosher food, that he'll be happy to eat kosher… By not nagging, thanking him every time he cooperates, and giving him his space you'll be able to accomplish a great deal.

May I suggest that you click here for a very comprehensive article on koshering a kitchen.

Good luck with koshering your kitchen!

Chaya Sarah Silberberg,
Chabad.org