Let's start by defining what is love.
When I counsel people or make live presentations before audiences (lectures, courses, workshops, etc.) one of the themes that I have to deal with is modern society's preoccupation with love. "I want to marry for love." "I won't marry [or, alternatively, "stay married"] without love." Everyone hears this all the time.
Tragically, we get much of our influence, today, from the street, movies, TV, filthy books or magazines - hardly sources from which to obtain education, inspiration, or role models for life. Yet, the forces - sometimes subtle, sometimes blunt - from these sources weigh heavily upon us and influence our thinking, values, motivations, emotions, attitudes, choices and behaviors. Particularly when it comes to key areas of life, such as marriage and family - the impact of which can go on for generations, or even forever; and which can have ramifications that are destructive here and now - no thinking person in his right mind can settle for any less than the highest and most constructive standards. The consequences and stakes are too high. It's "playing with fire."
Commensurate with the preoccupation with love, I see severe troubles in man-woman relationships. In my work (matchmaking, workshops, counseling individuals or couples, personal questions from audience members after a lecture, consulting with experienced rabbis and therapists, etc.), I have consistently seen that:
* the more an individual wants to be married for love, the more love eludes him/her! (the same as honor, greatness, exaltation and success, as mentioned above).
Even if a relationship starts out blissfully nice, the more that love was its original motivation, the more rocky, destructive and unmanageable it ends up.
It's almost always a consistent and predictable inverse ratio: the more intensely I want love, the worse the eventual failure.
The couple winds up perplexed and crushed. The divorce statistics and the singles event producers are the only winners.
We're talking major pain. We're talking major disruption of lives. We're talking tragedy for grownups and for their innocent victimized children. And how much of it is preventable?
One woman who attended a lecture I gave for singles poignantly said, "My girl-friend constantly complains about her husband. If she would come just one time to one of these singles events, and see lonely and hurting singles talk superficially for three or four hours and go home with nothing but their hurt and loneliness, she would go home to her husband and say Tehillim (the book of Psalms) and Hallel (prayers of praise to G-d) for the husband she's got who, after all, is not a bad guy." [Note: for the record, Jewish law does not allow saying "Hallel" at other than the prescribed times.]
Another woman came to her Rabbi and said that she wants a divorce. The Rabbi just said to the woman to come back Friday morning and be prepared to spend the day with him. She did. The Rabbi spent every EREV SHABOS delivering donated food packages to impoverished families in their neighborhood. She saw one family which was so poor that the walls were peeling. Another family had eleven children and they all wore rags. In another family, the husband had been out of work for about four years. After spending the entire morning and the beginning of the afternoon seeing family after family with real problems, she realized her complaints about her husband were silly. She not only canceled the request for a divorce, she volunteered to help the Rabbi with his Friday rounds thereafter.