Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews

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, a daily blog contributor to the TOI. He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (, born in 1953 to two Dutch survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork, and holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam). He taught Re-evaluation Co-counseling, became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. 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 most influential teachers (chronologically) are: his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach and lehavdiel bein chayim lechayim: Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff and Rav Meir Lubin. * Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years he wrote hasbara for the Dutch public. His fields of attention now are varied: Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (statistics), Politics (Israel, the US and the Netherlands, Activism - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight Truth), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, GLBTQAI, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation), Ecology and Veganism. Sometimes he's misunderstood because he has such a wide vision that never fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what many love about him. Many of his posts relate to affairs from the news or the Torah Portion of the Week or are new insights that suddenly befell him. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, reassure the doubters but make the self-assured doubt more. He strives to bring a fresh perspective rather than bore you with the obvious. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds must be disputed. In short, his main political positions are: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, democracy, anti the fake peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, Science, Free Will, anti blaming-the-victim and for down-to-earth optimism. Read his blog how he attempts to bridge any discrepancies. He admits sometimes exaggerating to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quit a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * 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. November 13, 2018, he published his 500st blog post with the ToI. 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 a peek outside of your cultural bubble. * NEW: To see other blog posts by him, his overspill blog you can reach by clicking on the Website icon next to his picture at the head of every post. There you may find precursors to later TOI blog posts, addition or corrections of published TOI blog posts, blog posts the TOI will not carry and some thoughts that are too short to be a TOI blog post. Also, the TOI only allows for one blog post per blogger per 24 hours. Sometimes, he has more to say than that. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me.
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