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Cupid, Bad. Love, Good.

Cupid’s Arrow

Cupid may be adorable, but don’t let that baby face fool you.  Behind Cupid’s innocent looking eyes lies a crafty little god. Cupid is the playful god of love who scampers about shooting golden-tipped arrows that carry the promise of eternal happiness and endless bliss. Once struck, two people fall madly in love, and are overcome by a passion so fiery they know it can never be extinguished.

Down with Cupid

Unfortunately, perfection is an illusion, and Cupid is a myth. If you dream of one day being struck by Cupid’s arrow, and falling in love forever, you are asking for big trouble.  In fact, it is the very hope of falling in love that all but guarantees that you will also fall out of love, and discover the painful truth that Cupid’s arrow is in fact a double edged sword.

Falling In and Out of Love

The phenomenon of falling in and out of love inevitably confounds singles and couples alike. If you’re single, it works like this: “Of course I want to marry someone I’m in love with, but I know people tend to fall out of love with the people they are in love with.”

If you’re married, it works like this: “I can’t tell you exactly when it happened, but the magic just isn’t there any more.”

How can people ever know if their love will last?

The problem is that when people talk about falling in and out of love, what they are actually talking about is romance and infatuation, not love.

The Definition of Love

If there is no Cupid, what is there?  The answer is love, true love.

Judaism sees love as a deeply pleasurable emotion that grows out of identifying beauty, virtue, goodness and strength of character in another human being. Don’t believe Cupid: love is not blind. Love is based on clear, not clouded vision. Beyond the instinctual parental bond, parents love their children because, more than anyone else, they see the beauty and goodness in the child. Likewise, that same parent is also keenly aware of his child’s less than flattering qualities. Love is not blind; it’s a microscope. Infatuation is blind.

The better you know a person, the clearer you can be about who he or she is, the more detailed their beautiful qualities become, and the deeper your love will be. Love is rooted in the wide-eyed embrace of what’s good in someone, coupled with the understanding that perfection is an illusion and shortcomings are the opportunities that two people have to help one another grow.

Do You Love Me?

The next time someone says “I love you” look him in the eyes and ask, “Why do you love me?”  You can’t love another person until you know her, but you can be very attracted, infatuated and easily become romantically and sexually involved. Attraction, infatuation, sex and romance all add up to “falling in love.” They also pave the way to falling out of love.

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Comments icon June 12, 2009


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