partnershipFor many mikveh observant women, our lives feel like they revolve around the mikveh. We keep track of our periods and calculate when to anticipate the next one. When we get our periods we count the days until we can try for a clean bedika to start counting our clean days. We check ourselves for seven days, morning and evening, until mikveh night finally arrives.

Then come the preparations themselves, including yet another check, and for some women up to several hours of meticulous cleaning, hair removal, combing, flossing, manicuring, pumicing, etc. Some women love the pampering they associate with mikveh preparations, others become quite anxious. It can be quite consuming. Finding the time and privacy from children to prepare takes advanced planning. By the time I’m ready to dunk, get dressed, and return home I’ve spent a full month getting ready. But I don’t return home to an empty house. There’s someone else anxiously anticipating mikveh night.

My husband doesn’t require the same amount of preparation for mikveh night as I do. In fact, he isn’t actually required to do anything at all. But I found that when he involves himself in the preparations leading up to mikveh night it makes the experience better for both of us. Here are 7 ways that husbands can participate in mikveh night to give his wife the feeling he is as excited and invested/”present” as she is:

  1. Do nice things in anticipation of mikveh night. Women count the seven clean days. Men can get in on that. Leave little notes counting down until mikveh night or telling her how much he’s looking forward to passing the salt, holding her hand, giving and getting a much-needed hug and enjoying her body. I’ve heard people comment on how mikveh night feels like a lot of pressure because they are coming off a week of nothing. A husband can help ensure it’s not a week of nothing, but rather a week of building up excitement.
  2. Make the beds. This one is a no brainer to me. Both when a woman becomes a niddah and when she becomes tehorah again, her husband should take responsibility for moving around the beds and putting on clean sheets. She either just got her period or is finally coming home from the mikveh, and it is so much nicer if she doesn’t have to move and make beds.
  3. Make or order dinner, especially if that’s usually the woman’s responsibility. One less thing for her to worry about.
  4. Take a shower. Apply cologne.
  5. Be mindful of his facial hair and body hair and think about his wife’s preferences. If he has a beard he could use conditioner on it so it will feel softer to her touch.
  6. Tidy the house or wash the dishes so when she comes home from the mikveh she comes home to a nice, clean space.
  7. If they have kids, he can be present to take care of them while she’s preparing and going to the mikveh. If that’s not possible he should be the one to find a sitter for her so she doesn’t have to deal with it. If possible, put the kids to bed that night.