Love won't come later

Should we give up on infatuation for the sake of finding true love? Opinion.

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Shlomo Pyutrikovsky,

Couple
Couple
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I've been married for over 14 years, but there are some things which don't change over the years, and one if them is bad advice.

People gave me advice when I was dating, and young people still give me advice. And it's just about the same kind, too.

Sometimes it's my aunt, sometimes it's my rabbi, and sometimes it's a professional advice-giver who gives a young man or woman the same piece of advice: "What, are you waiting for butterflies in your stomach? Who said you need butterflies, s/he's a good boy/ girl. Get married. Love will come afterwards."

So that's the thing. Love probably won't come afterwards.

Falling in love is a dangerous, flammable, explosive feeling. It doesn't promise mutual compatibility for marriage, and it doesn't promise, in any way, a happy, stable, or lasting marriage. But that feeling of falling in love provides the gas you need to get married. And it's the only way to get that gas.

Have you ever seen a satellite launch into space? It goes like this: First, you put the satellite on a rocket with lots of gas in it. The multi-phase rocket brings the satellite into space, where it is shed. After entering orbit, the satellite needs much less energy to retain its orbit and function as necessary.

Marriage is just like the satellite - it needs powerful gas to get off the ground and launch into space. Without that energy, it won't launch correctly and the entire marriage will suffer.

You'll probably thinking to yourself, well, the butterflies in your stomach and the magical look won't last anyways, right? That's true, and it's true that love will usually replace the magical feeling of falling in love, and that there's very little connection between infatuation and true love. But if you don't fall in love at the beginning, you'll have a hard time developing love afterwards.

If you don't feel any love for a girl while you're romantically walking on the beach at sunset, you'll have a hard time loving her when she wakes up cranky and messy-haired in the mornings. If you don't feel anything for a boy when he's standing against the backdrop of Jerusalem's Old City, when he's freshly showered and shaved, you'll have a hard time loving him when he has stubble on his chin, standing beside a sink full of dirty dishes.

So why did it work for our grandparents?

There are three answers to this question, and we'll go into each one. But the best answer is that it's just not relevant today. It just doesn't work.

And it didn't always work, either. If you ask your grandparents (if they're still alive), you'll realize a lot of times they never really loved each other. They got used to each other, they managed with each other. The thing is, that today, people don't get used to each other - they get divorced. And divorce is bad, so we need to prevent it from happening in the first place.

We need to remember that our grandparents' expectations from marriage were different than ours. Someone who grew up with the idea that their spouse should be their "twin soul" will not be able to manage over a period of years in a marriage founded on the idea of being roommates.

In addition, in those sectors of society which tend to marry via blind dates (and there are sectors like that today, too) there's something about the blind date that allows some of the couples to develop love at a later point. If we assume that those who do blind dates are probably a very small percentage of the people reading this article, it becomes irrelevant.

To summarize: If you date someone and don't fall in love (after a reasonable amount of time - give it a chance if the rest of the parameters are good, and don't break it off after three meetings), then it's time to separate. Falling in love is definitely not a good enough reason to marry when it stands alone, but it's a crucial element of a lasting marriage.








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