Happy Valentimes Day!


I love my wife. We are celebrating our twentieth Valentine’s Day together. This may sound obvious but hear me out. I have long objected to the frivolous use of the word “love.” In my self-styled dictionary, we are not in love with our girlfriends. We are not in love when we get engaged and we are not love when we get married. For many, we are not even in love when we have children. Love, as I see it, is not a condition that can be moderated or adjusted based on external influences. You cannot fall out of love. If you think you have, it is far more likely that you were never in love in the first place. Imagine a friend that has wronged you. You are angry. Hurt. You may want vengeance. You may decide that the relationship is toxic and needs to be adjusted downward. But, do you hate him? Think about hatred. It is all-consuming. It is a state of being that requires animus. It is an active condition that leaves you hoping for bad things to happen. I submit that few people are capable of “hatred” in its purest sense.
Love, like hate, is a living thing. It must be nurtured and raised. It must be fed with respect and tragedy. It breathes an oxygen constituted of a tailor-made formula that needs constant adjustment over many years. You cannot love someone you just met. You cannot love someone who you know for a year. You can find love in a couple that has been together for 20 years, who have successfully raised children together, who shared a lifetime of common experiences, philosophy, and culture. When the proverbial house is empty, you can still sit for hours and talk. The little things that annoyed you in the beginning have not sharpened; they have blended into the fabric of your relationship. The word “couple” is singular and for good reason. The finished product of a loving relationship is a single cohesive unit that co-exists and constantly evolves and solidifies. In other words, love is the outcome not the impetus.
Here’s my proof. Half of all marriages end in divorce – – most of which are acrimonious and hostile. These same couples started out professing their eternal love for one another. Ask any couple at the alter and they will nauseate you with the depth of their love. But more than half of them are no longer in love after they leave the starting gate – often within the first year. Sometimes after raising children. What happened? In my world, love is not so fleeting and ditzy that it can turn on itself in short order. So, we can all agree that these couples were likely not in love in the first place. At least not LOVE, love. And, if they weren’t, no one was. Love cannot be a crapshoot.
So, we get married because we see a future. Because we enjoy each other’s company. We have common interests and shared personality traits (and flaws). We marry because we can envision falling in love. Sometimes it happens. Sometimes it doesn’t. But, the seed that we plant on our wedding day can either grow or die. That’s not love.
Some of my closest friends are now divorced with children. They have loved and lost and, I am willing to bet, in retrospect would have chosen never to have loved at all. Others have reached a state of love that can be felt anytime you are in a room with them. Even when they are fighting.
Which brings me to my point. After twenty years, I am ready to declare my undying love for my wife. We still laugh. And go on dates. We are raising four terrific children, who are a joint venture that incorporates the very best of each of us (mostly her). But, lately, I find our relationship to be much deeper than those common ingredients. Her love is unconditional. She gives me space to make mistakes but then gently counsels me back to reality. She protects me and nurtures me and makes me a better person. And, perhaps most challenging of all, she understands me. I hope I am requiting that love and offering her the same benefits that she brings to the marriage. Happy Valentine’s Day Francine!

About aweisbrot

Ari is a prominent litigator in New York and New Jersey. He has been featured on CBS Radio’s Wall Street Journal Report, quoted in legal and non-legal periodicals, and has been recognized as a “SuperLawyer” in New Jersey and a "Top Ten Lawyer to Watch" in New York. Mr. Weisbrot is a true “client’s lawyer,” representing a diverse range of clients from among the largest retailers in the United States to smaller local businesses to religious and charitable organizations. Ari was appointed by Supreme Court of the State of New Jersey to a three-year term of service on the Committee on Character. The Committee determines the fitness to practice law of each candidate for admission to the Bar of the State. Mr. Weisbrot also continues to serve on the District Ethics Committee (IIB - Bergen County), which operates under the auspices of the New Jersey State Office of Attorney Ethics. Mr. Weisbrot has been awarded an 'AV' rating for his professionalism and the quality of his legal work from Martindale-Hubbell, the premier directory of legal professionals, and has been selected by his peers as a Super Lawyer. In addition, Mr. Weisbrot has written several articles on commercial litigation, which have been published in the New Jersey Law Journal and the Metropolitan Corporate Counsel. A Former New York City prosecutor, Mr. Weisbrot is a graduate of Fordham University School of Law, where he was a member of the Urban Law Journal and a featured columnist in the Law School newspaper
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5 Responses to Happy Valentimes Day!

  1. She’s the best thing that ever happened to you! Don’t screw it up…


  2. Kathryn Gorman says:

    Wow! That made me tear up! That was excellent Ari! Bravo! Francine is a very lucky lady!

  3. Batya Paul says:

    well said Ari! 🙂

  4. Francesco says:


  5. your other big sis says:

    you are amazing Ari – so proud of you

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