Let My People Know

"A great part of romantic love is based on cultural clichés and ephemeral chemical reactions"


We are living in a time, and within a culture, that often substitutes love for obligation. 

Through the influence of romantic literature, among other reasons, we tend to think that love makes the family. 

Love may make the family a glorious place to be, but it is keeping the rules—whatever these may be, and they do change from one culture to another, and from one family to another—that creates the family.

Family that is based on a foundation of emotion, however strong and durable that emotion may be, is actually built on fiction. 

Romantic love may be an enormous drive.

People think and dream about it, sometimes even die for it. 

However, a great part of that romantic love is based on cultural clichés and ephemeral chemical reactions. 

A love that is triggered, and sometimes sustained, by a certain turn of the nose or a pair of beautiful legs is not real enough to endure. 

La Rochefoucauld wrote that had it not been for romantic novels, many people would never fall in love.

When people base their families on love alone, that family relationship reflects a fictionalized picture of each other and of the mutual relationship. 

In the fortunate cases, romantic love is replaced by a more enduring (though less glamorous) love for the other person, which also includes the difficult elements of accepting the other person's faults, and taking on obligations. 

However, when such love does not develop, the family remains a piece of fiction that will not last. 

A family that was built from the outset on fictitious ideas will not withstand financial, emotional, or social stress, or the spouses will imagine that they love others, outside the family.

–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz
From Simple Words by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz