Notions of love and romance are ingrained in practically every dimension of our society. Every good story has to have a romantic twist and probably ninety percent of all popular music is about some form of love.

It is also quite apparent that many times the way romance and love are represented in the mainstream are at best superficial and at worst sociologically detrimental. In the end, is love really so important to a happy healthy relationship? What does the Torah have to say on this subject?

In this week's portion, we read about the marriage of Isaac and Rebecca. This love story unfolds in the opposite manner than the way we are accustomed to. Usually in love stories, the man and woman fall desperately in love with each other and then get married and live happily ever after. But Isaac and Rebecca experience the opposite as the Torah says, "… and she became his wife and he loved her." First, there was marriage and then there was love.

How is it that the Torah's depiction of love is so different than our common notion of it? Perhaps the answer is that love true doesn't come from where we think it does.

We often seem to find love in how good a person looks to us, how they act, or on what a great time we have when with them. We also tend to believe love is proportionate to desire.

But according to the Torah, love comes from a seemingly foreign attribute: dedication. Dedication fuels love, not desire. When you're dedicated to someone, your concerns are secondary while theirs are first. You go beyond what you want and try to end up with what they want. It is there, in this place of self-transcendence, where love truly resides.

Therefore, it's not only that love is important to a serious relationship, rather it can only exist in the setting of a serious relationship. Enjoying a person for their great attributes is important and special, but not love. Love is something independent of our personal satisfaction, born from dedication to one another.

Obviously, the importance of dedication is radically different than our natural disposition of liking something because it makes us feel good. Nevertheless, this component can teach us a valuable lesson in our spiritual lives.

Many times within Jewish thought when discussing the relationship between G‑d and the nation of Israel, the analogy of husband and wife is employed. G‑d is the groom, as it were, and we are His bride. We are considered engaged to Him, but we are still waiting for the big day, our marriage: a time when we see the revelation of Him in our daily lives. But to get to our wedding day, we first have some relationship work to do.

This is where dedication comes in. By dedicating ourselves to G‑d by doing mitzvahs, good deeds, in a way that transcends our own desires, we will culminate both humanity's and our personal relationship with G‑d.