Giving is Loving

Just as you approached marriage with your own interests in mind, [you are human after all] you should expect that your spouse did the same [they are human too].
“Can this person provide my anticipated material needs?”
“Can s/he give me the emotional support I require?”
“Will s/he foster my spiritual advancement?”
“What will I get out of marriage to my spouse?”

Giving helps you  realize your moral & spiritual potential locked within your soul.

You are human after all.  You are created with an ego motivated by self interest.  G-d doesn’t expect us to eradicate our inborn traits, rather He expects us to use them to benefit the world at large, and to advance our spiritual and personal growth.

When egoism motivates one to give more than s/he takes, it is decidedly good, and drives that growth.  Hence, the giver benefits more than the receiver.

More than giving comes as a result of love, love comes as a result  of giving. – Rabbi Dessler in Michtav Eliyahu

Since by nature we love ourselves, by extension we love all things into which we put something of ourselves. The more of ourselves and our possessions we give to the other, the more we will love him/her.  Here too, we find selfish love operating as a positive force.
But in reality, we find that the opposite reactions often occur.

‘Giving builds love’ only applies when one gives freely, by his own choice.

If one feels obligated or fear*, surely he will not feel love toward the recipient of forced giving, rather he will feel exploited and thus resentful.  Unfortunately, this happens too often in couple relationships.

* Or gives to avoid the other’s anger, or because feels uncomfortable to refuse. Or other unpleasantries.

Leah asked Shmuel to carry a huge heavy box up to the second floor.


Shmuel was in middle of working on the computer.  To avoid another fight, he stopped his work and brought that box up.

He didn’t feel that love that can come from giving and doing for others. Instead, he felt resentment.

Perhaps, if he was given a time frame in which to do it, he may have done it more willingly, and then he would have felt that love that comes from doing for each other.

Receiving also impacts the emotional bond.

It is gratifying to receive when the other gives willingly. “S/he must value me since s/he is willing to give of himself for my sake.”

It is distressing to receive when someone is doing it as ‘a favor’.

Shira was relaxing (finally!) on the couch. She asked Benny for a cup of tea.

Even though, he was doing some work  on the computer, he stopped what he was doing and got her the tea. With a slice of lemon on the side.

He set it down graciously on the coffee table. 

Leah felt loved by Benny’s willingness to get her the tea.  And she felt love toward him.

Shira was relaxing (finally!) on the couch. She asked Benny for a cup of tea.

Even though, he was doing some work  on the computer, he made some noise as he huffed to the kitchen and got her the tea. With a slice of lemon on the side.  He plopped it down on the table. “Here you go.”

Leah felt annoyed by his gesture of begrudgingly getting her the tea. She really didn’t like that he was ‘doing her a favor’.

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