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28-Jun-2017 23:02

It allows you into another person's world and opens you up to perceiving his or her goodness.

At the same time, it means investing part of yourself in the other, enabling you to love this person as you love yourself.

In legal terms it is attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon or homicide.

To the streetfighter it is assassination, not a "fight" at all.

You can care for, respond to, and respect another only as deeply as you know him or her.

The effect of genuine, other-oriented giving is profound.

And just as easily, it can spontaneously degenerate when the magic "just isn't there" anymore. Love is the attachment that results from deeply appreciating another's goodness. After all, most love stories don't feature a couple enraptured with each other's ethics. God created us to see ourselves as good (hence our need to either rationalize or regret our wrongdoings). Nice looks, an engaging personality, intelligence, and talent (all of which count for something) may attract you, but goodness is what moves you to love. Just focus on the good in another person (and everyone has some). I was once at an intimate concert in which the performer, a deeply spiritual person, gazed warmly at his audience and said, "I want you to know, I love you all." I smiled tolerantly and thought, "Sure." Looking back, though, I realize my cynicism was misplaced.

Erich Fromm, in his famous treatise "The Art of Loving," noted the sad consequence of this misconception: "There is hardly any activity, any enterprise, which is started with such tremendous hopes and expectations, and yet, which fails so regularly, as love." (That was back in 1956 ― chances are he'd be even more pessimistic today.) So what is love ― real, lasting love? What we value most in ourselves, we value most in others.

The intensity many couples feel before marrying is usually great affection boosted by commonality, chemistry, and anticipation.

These may be the seeds of love, but they have yet to sprout.