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Many years ago, I met a woman whom I found very unpleasant.

So I decided to try out the "giving leads to love" theory. A few days later I offered to help her with a personal problem. This is why your parents (who've given you more than you'll ever know) undoubtedly love you more than you love them, and you, in turn, will love your own children more than they'll love you.

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

On the wedding day, emotions run high, but true love should be at its lowest, because it will hopefully always be growing, as husband and wife give more and more to each other.

" she cooed.) But in her study of real-life successful marriages Judith Wallerstein reports that "the value these couples placed on the partner's moral qualities was an unexpected finding." To the Jewish mind, it isn't unexpected at all.

Now that you're feeling so warmly toward the entire human race, how can you deepen your love for someone?

"Tell you what: I'll define it, and you raise your hands if you agree. When she called her parents to tell them the good news, they were elated.

Obviously, there's a huge distance from here to the far more profound, personal love developed over the years, especially in marriage. Susan learned about this foundation of love after becoming engaged to David.

"A relationship has its ups and downs," she told me.

Likewise, the best way to feel loving is to be loving ― and that means giving.

While most people believe love leads to giving, the truth (as Rabbi Eliyahu Dessler writes in his famous discourse on loving kindness) is exactly the opposite: Giving leads to love. When an enthusiastic handyman happily announces to his non- mechanically inclined wife, "Honey, wait till you see what I got you for your birthday ― a triple-decker toolbox! Neither is a father's forcing violin lessons on his son because he himself always dreamed of being a virtuoso.

The way God created us, actions affect our feelings most.

For example, if you want to become more compassionate, thinking compassionate thoughts may be a start, but giving tzedaka (charity) will get you there.

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