I love you, is probably the most used phrased between the genders in today’s world. What does it mean? Does it mean that they really love each other even though they only met for the first time just under four minutes ago?
Perhaps there is love on first sight, but has anyone ever heard of love on first sight to the same gender? Or has anyone ever heard of a parent putting his child up for adoption and when asked why, the reply is “oh, we just fell out of love”.
Isn’t that a very common reason given today by couples who get divorced ’’ It’s been two years and we just fell out of love, we don’t have anything going anymore’’.
But are we to say that the feelings that they felt for each other all along are false? Did they not really experience exotic feelings and emotions toward one another?
They most definitely did, so what happened? Where did all those feelings disappear? And so suddenly.
To shed some light on what love is, we have to first introduce a new player that has been here all along but we just failed to properly identify him. Welcome to ‘’lust’’. Lust is a human trait that Hashem implanted in us, for various reasons, that we won’t go into now. We have to first differentiate between love and lust.
Most people like fish, especially salmon fish. Since we like fish we eat it plenty of times, at many occasions we treat ourselves to a soft tasty pieces of pink salmon. Now if we were to really ‘’love’’ salmon, wouldn’t it be more fitting for us to buy the salmon when it’s still alive, place it in a very big fish tank and care for it? Isn’t it ironic that we love salmon so we kill and eat it! Imagine we would love our kids that way.
So in reality what we love here is not the salmon rather ourselves, and since we love ourselves we try to bring as much pleasure as we can to OURSELVES, at the expense of Mr. salmon.
Now let’s apply this to love in our lives. When two young teens tell each other ‘’I love you’’ after meeting for 60 seconds etc….. we can be sure what they meant to say is ‘’I lust You’’. If all there is over there is lust then that explains the total irrationality of the situation. Hence it shouldn’t surprise us if their ‘’love’’ doesn’t last for more then its first anniversary.
However we can’t be oblivious to the reality that couples do experience a tremendous surge to extreme heights in their relationship at its onset.
What do we make of that?
In life there are various different kinds of realities. Let’s take for example the slipper known as a crock. There is the real genuine crock that is made out of the finest materials for that kind of footwear. And there are imitations of the crock that are made of cheaper materiel. On the external level they all look identical, both are the same color both feel the same etc…but at some point the imitation falls apart, and much sooner than the real brand. Was the copy not a good slipper? was it not comfortable ? it sure was but it wasn’t the real deal. It was as real as an imitation but on a deeper level it doesn’t posses the quality’s of a real crock.
So too in life. When a couple first starts out with their relationship they are ‘’infatuated’’ which is the illogical swirl of emotions that one experiences at the onset of a new relationship. Is it real ? it sure is, but to an extent. They are definitely feeling love for each other, their feelings are not fabricated, they are genuine, but they have to know, that its not real love!
For infatuation lasts till a person feels that it’s going to last for ever and then it departs just as sudden as it arrived and its past possessor feels like they fell out of love, like it was all a dream.
Nothing real and valuable is acquired without real effort and investment and so too infatuation, it just disappears.
If so then we must ask what is real love?
And what was the point of all that infatuation if it just came and went? What does Hashem want us to do with all that.
Love, is that good feeling that one has to another. The positive feeling that we experience towards our loved one, wanting closeness, and wishing all good in the world for them. When real love is present it does not just disappear overnight. If it does depart there are clear indications why.
Real love can only be acquired through effort, consciously or subconsciously. It has to be developed and nurtured, the more we invest in it the greater the love will be.
So how is that done?
There are two ways to acquire love, and we will B’H explain them both.
The first way is mentioned by the Rambam in ………. One of the ways one can come to love Hashem is through studying analyzing the world, to marvel in Hashems wonderful creations. When one appreciates Hashems greatness he will come to love him. Meaning that by noticing positive things in a person and focusing on them we will come to love them. Interestingly but not surprisingly if we look around we will realize that all the people we love, we can sing their praise without much difficulty.
The second way to come to love is mentioned by Rav Dessler in Michtav Meliyahu, vol. 1. The word love in Hebrew is ‘’Ahava’’ the root of the word is ‘’hav’’ meaning give. Explains Rav dessler, that when we give to someone we will come to love them. The more we give to others, no matter what kind of benefit we bestow upon them, the more we will love them.
Rav Dessler goes on to explain that it is human nature for one to love himself and when one invests in something or someone, in essence what he is doing is investing a part of himself over there. It follows that when one invest many years of effort and time into building a business he will be very attached to that enterprise, for a part of him is invested there. So the more we put of ourselves over there the more we will love, because we are in a way loving ourselves.
This means that the more we give the bigger the love. This explanation also sheds light on the parent child relationship, why the parents love is a lot greater than the childs. For many years the parent has been giving nonstop to the child without any reciprocation on the childs part.
A marriage is no different. The more one gives (without expecting anything in return) to their spouse the more they will love them. It follows that love on first site is not in existence. As well it can provide great relief for a couple to know that there is something they can do to enhance the love in their marriage, and that marriage is not just a wild gamble of ‘’will the love last’’.
If love takes hard effort and time to develop we are left wondering what to make out of infatuation.
Infatuation is a natural state of the human being. It is a gift that Hashem gave us so that at the beginning of the relationship when there is nothing meaningful there we can start working on developing true love. It makes it very easy to give and invest in each other, for the state that the couple is experiencing is the feeling of love, and its very easy to give to someone that we love. So without much effort they can employ all their resources to develop ‘’real love’’ so by the time infatuation departs there is already something real in their relationship.
Being of a temporary nature, scaffoldings have no permanent place in a city. If they are used properly one can erect through them a great building but if one idles away his time till the permit expires, he is left with neither scaffolding nor permanent structure.