Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews -- For those who like their news and truths frank and sharp

We were young, silly, and frum and married without love

I’ve heard the above sentence now so many times. But, in my experience, when at least one of the partners doesn’t love the other, the marriage will not be sustainable.

He told me, ‘She’s a good woman and mother and I should not complain but I don’t love her. It’s not that I can’t love a woman. I’ve loved many already. But we have four kids. Should I divorce and marry someone I can love now I’m still beautiful or wait?’ I suggested, ‘There is no way you could love her if you tried?’ No, he couldn’t. He will not stay with her.

A woman once told me, ‘Before I married him, I never saw his hump. It sounds strange but I didn’t notice. Once I noticed, I couldn’t love him.’ I knew her husband. The sweetest, most giving, soft-spoken, loving man so many women would die for. They had many children. They were still married, putting my ‘rule’ to the test. But there are always exceptions that confirm the rule, I reasoned. After a couple of years, I met him at a bus stop. ‘I just returned my kids to my ex,’ he explained. How sad.

I must admit that I don’t really understand it. I’m like any excellent therapist or teacher, I easily love. But apparently, most people don’t. For most people, it’s a miracle when they love a spouse and an even greater miracle if they’d love all their children. Sadly.

In the olden days, people got married because the family said so, for shelter (women) and being taken care of (men), not necessarily with love. But those were the days that people would not divorce anyway. That doesn’t exist anymore. Not even in the frumest circles.

You don’t want to hurt yourselves and your kids with divorce, don’t marry unless there is a deep love on both sides from the start.

‘Well, I can always divorce,’ is bad reasoning. First of all, it’s a betrayal of what marriage is for. Secondly, you’ll be older and more scared and so not be able to marry the same quality partner once you divorced. Especially not if the divorce was not amicable — and normally it isn’t. Thirdly, many new partners for the world cannot love the children of others — only ‘their own.’ And fourthly, if you are a man and need to pay for your preexisting kids, from which money will you maintain your second household?

‘Love Will Come’

As a Baal Teshuvah, I learned that the Torah Tradition holds that love comes with the years. It’s not my professional experience.

Surely, there is something deeper than being in love but I never heard of people who eventually didn’t love their partner came to love her or him eventually. If you don’t love your fiancé or s/he doesn’t love you, don’t tie the knot.

I once saw a young chreidi couple on the bus. They must have been all of 17 years old. They looked at each other, while they were talking, truly star-struck. I’m sure that they weren’t dating like crazy before, let alone touched each other before the choppe. But they clearly first had made sure they loved each other. That must be the Jewish way.

Marriage With the Wrong Gender

Another hopeless marriage is when one (or two) partners married the wrong gender. Most frequently, that is a Gay man with a woman. But there are three other possibilities in this category too.

In my professional experience, Gay and Straight do not refer to what one can but to what one needs.

Most psychology is not there yet. They would call a Gay man married to a woman bisexual or even straight. They go by ‘what you do is what you are.’ Not true.

Sexual Identity refers to what gender you need to become ‘one flesh’ as the Bible calls it. There are many (but by far not all) people who could have sex, children, friendship, closeness, and love with someone of the wrong gender. But they can’t become ‘one flesh.’ Their existential loneliness is not resolved, no matter how deep and good the relationship. Even when the other partner is married to the right gender. They don’t always eventually leave because of sexual urges. They leave because they don’t have that unison with a partner that almost all people need.

The rabbi who started marrying Lesbians with Gay men got lots of publicity. He didn’t get further than a dozen couples. He still had dozens of men on his waiting list but no more women. That never made the papers. Women are harder to fool psychologically.

There seem to me to exist true rare Bi men and even more true Bi women. They are not defined by that they can or want or feel a need to have sex with both genders. They are Bi because they can unite with either gender.


In summary, one needs love and a partner of the right gender to have a sustainable marriage. Young people, beware.

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, previously a daily blog contributor to the TOI. He often makes his readers laugh, mad, or assume he's nuts—close to perfect blogging. As a frontier thinker, he sees things many don't yet. He's half a prophet. Half. Let's not exaggerate. He doesn't believe that people observe and think in a vacuum. He, therefore, wanted a broad bio that readers interested can track a bit what (lack of) backgrounds, experiences, and educations contribute to his visions. * This year, he will prioritize getting his unpublished books published rather than just blog posts. Next year, he hopes to focus on activism against human extinction. To find less-recent posts on a subject XXX among his over 1400 archived ones, go to the right-top corner of a Times of Israel page, click on the search icon and search "zuiden, XXX". One can find a second, wilder blog, to which one may subscribe, here: or by clicking on the globe icon next to his picture on top. * Like most of his readers, he believes in being friendly, respectful, and loyal. However, if you think those are his absolute top priorities, you might end up disappointed. His first loyalty is to the truth. He will try to stay within the limits of democratic and Jewish law, but he won't lie to support opinions or people when don't deserve that. (Yet, we all make honest mistakes, which is just fine and does not justify losing support.) He admits that he sometimes exaggerates to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quite a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * Sometimes he's misunderstood because his wide and diverse field of vision seldomly fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what some love about him. He has written a lot about Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (including basic statistics), Politics (Israel, the US, and the Netherlands, Activism - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight reality), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, LGBTQIA+, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation), the Climate Crisis, Ecology and Veganism, Affairs from the news, or the Torah Portion of the Week, or new insights that suddenly befell him. * Chronologically, his most influential teachers are his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach, and, lehavdil bein chayim lechayim, Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff, and Rav Meir Lubin. This short list doesn't mean to disrespect others who taught him a lot or a little. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, and disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed. He aims to bring a fresh perspective rather than harp on the obvious and familiar. When he can, he loves to write encyclopedic overviews. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds should be disputed. In short, his main political positions are among others: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, anti those who abuse democratic liberties, anti the fake ME peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, pro-Science, pro-Free Will, anti-blaming-the-victim, and for down-to-earth, classical optimism, and happiness. Read his blog on how he attempts to bridge any tensions between those ideas or fields. * He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (, born in 1953 to his parents who were Dutch-Jewish Holocaust survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork. He grew up a humble listener. It took him decades to become a speaker too, and decades more to admit to being a genius. But his humility was his to keep. And so was his honesty. Bullies and con artists almost instantaneously envy and hate him. He hopes to bring new things and not just preach to the choir. * He holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam) – is half a doctor. He practices Re-evaluation Co-counseling since 1977, is not an official teacher anymore, and became a friendly, powerful therapist. He became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years, he was active in hasbara to the Dutch-speaking public. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's a strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. * His writing has been made possible by an allowance for second-generation Holocaust survivors from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. If you're a native English speaker and wonder why you should read from people whose English is only their second language, consider the advantage of having an original peek outside of your cultural bubble. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me.
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