Reader Annie comes to us with an intriguing dilemma:
My husband's father passed away prior to us meeting. Before his father passed he told him, "When you have a son, name him Michael after yourself. Because you were my greatest accomplishment." The only problem is I'm Jewish and we don't name babies after living people.
HELP! My husband is always telling me we can't defy his dead father.. OY!
This is a tough one—you both have very compelling (and strong) arguments for your sides. I have a few possible thoughts to help you reach a compromise.
1. Utilize a nickname. Does your husband go by a nickname, like Mike or Mick? Perhaps choosing a name that could use the same nickname (for instance, Micah or Mitchell), then planning to call him Mike would help him follow his father's wishes and still adhere to Jewish tradition.
2. Consider naming your child after his grandfather instead. It would be a nice way to honor your husband's father and would adhere to Jewish tradition—though it wouldn't necessarily reflect your husband's father's wishes.
3. Could you use Michael as a middle name? I know that doesn't strictly adhere to Jewish custom, but perhaps using Michael as a middle name or even second middle name could make your husband happy, while still giving a nod to your traditions.
4. Only have girls! (Just kidding!)
I hope my advice helps—and that you're able to reach a compromise that makes both of you happy. I think if you're both willing to give a little bit, you'll find a solution that leaves both of you feeling satisfied.
Have you dealt with battles of conflicting traditions? How did you handle it? If you have a baby-naming dilemma you'd like some help with, feel free to post it in the comments or send it to my e-mail, lamilbrand AT gmail.com.
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