A young man, separated from his wife and child, couldn't make up his mind if he should get divorced or try to reconcile. He asked a professional what to do. The professional asked him, "Do you have feelings of love for your wife like you did when you first got married?" Without much thought the estranged husband answered, "I don't think so." "In that case," the professional instructed, "complete the break and leave her for good."

Is it correct that marriage should rest on momentary feelings of comfort or love? Or is there something else that is of greater importance? Let us take a deeper look.

For most newly married individuals, feeling close with each other is relatively easy during the first few months and even years of marriage. Youthful feelings can be euphoric and will naturally create an attitude that is more accepting of a partner's idiosyncrasies or perceived failings. Like they say, "love is blind." G‑d has made these powerful feelings a natural part of a young relationship to help this new couple bond, start a family, and stay together. This is all a preparation for the future family pressures of raising children, earning a living, unexpected problems, aging, etc.

Judaism teaches about a covenant, an ever-lasting relationship, between the Jewish people and G‑d. This relationship is compared to two friends who are so committed to each other that they both agree to always care for each other regardless of what happens to each of them individually or of the feelings they may later have about their relationship. So these two friends form a covenant. This covenant exists beyond reason and logic--and this is precisely why it is everlasting and enduring. This "covenant" is the eternal relationship between G‑d and the Jewish people. It is a caring for each other that is not based on reciprocity, rather, it is based on commitment.

Successful marriages are also held together by a covenant. This "covenant" is an everlasting marital commitment, a promise, to never give up when things become difficult and to continually try to repair whatever problems there may in the relationship. In healthy marriages, this is the wisdom of maturity, that is necessary when early youthful feelings of attraction eventually and inevitably fade. This covenant between a husband and wife is what keeps their children safe from the terror and pain of divorce and the risk of growing up without the benefit of both parents guiding and protecting them.

There are rare cases in which divorce is necessary. Judaism recognizes this and provides for the get, a "kosher" way to dissolve the marriage. However, these days, under the infiltration of secular values that emphasize personal pleasure and autonomy, some Jewish families are giving up far too easily, and, unfortunately, with the help of some well-meaning professionals.

A covenant between a husband and wife is a strong spiritual feeling that supersedes any physical or emotional disappointment. Caring behaviors certainly make us feel good, and are vital to the health of every relationship. When our spouse gives us what we want, we feel good. It satisfies our ego and strengthens our self-esteem. However, it should not be the sole reason for staying in a marriage.