JWRP Sister Spotlight: Jacqueline Volin
After Jacqueline Volin’s MOMentum Trip to Israel, she felt inspired to reunite with her ex-husband and to imbue their relationship with Jewish values. Seven years following their divorce, they celebrated their marriage with a Jewish ceremony under a chuppah. Jacqueline shared with us how MOMentum changed her view of marriage, as well as her tips for creating a peaceful home life.
What inspired you to take part in a MOMentum Trip to Israel?
Before traveling to Israel with the JWRP, I felt very lost. I had divorced my husband of 10 years, and I was searching for meaning. When my brother suggested that I apply for MOMentum, I didn’t think it would be a good fit for me. I wasn’t interested in exploring Judaism at that time. But I hadn’t been to Israel in years, and the opportunity to travel there seemed very attractive to me. I thank G-d that I went!
How did MOMentum impact you?
MOMentum changed my whole life and gave me a newfound sense of clarity and wisdom. I connected to Judaism and discovered Jewish views on love and marriage. While listening to Lori’s talk about Judaism’s three personality types, I learned more about my ex-husband’s personality type. If I had only understood him better during our marriage, I was certain that things would have been different. I learned about the importance of showing appreciation for one’s partner and prioritizing giving over taking in a relationship. After returning from Israel, I was determined to incorporate Jewish values into my life, and I dreamt of doing so together with my ex-husband.
How did you approach your ex-husband about your change of heart?
When I returned home to Mexico, I shared my feelings with my ex-husband, but he was still hurt from our divorce and did not want to get back together. I tried to move on with my life, but I continued to apologize for my mistakes and to remind my ex-husband of the good times we had shared together. One day, he finally admitted that he, too, wanted to get back together. We spent a day rehashing our old relationship and then decided that it was time to move on and start anew. During our first marriage, I believed in love and freedom. But now, I understand the importance of commitment. I feel so thankful that our marriage today is filled with Jewish values.
What are a few tips for incorporating Shalom Bayit (peace at home) into one’s marriage?
First, I think it’s important to pay attention to the little things. For example, listen when your spouse is speaking and don’t speak rudely to one another. According to Rabbi Kanner, the “little things” in a relationship are like thin crystal doors that stand between one another and can create mile-long separations. Today, I try not to discount the “little things” in our relationship, and I make sure to pay attention to my husband and to express interest in his thoughts. When I'm wrong, I'm quick to apologize. Also, it’s very important to express gratitude. My husband does so much for our child and me, and each day, I do my best to recognize this internally and to thank him. When I connect with my gratitude on the inside, I know that my “thank yous” will come from the heart — whether they’re for the big things or the little things. It’s important to make our spouses feel admired and honored, and expressing gratitude is a wonderful way to do so.