When a person says: “There is someone I love,” we assume that he is speaking of someone else, not himself. Nonetheless, if we examine the realities, more often than not, we will find that in the final estimation, the person's love is directed to himself and the benefit he derives from others. What is more, everything he does in life revolves around the same theme: how to derive the most pleasure from those around him. This principle holds true also when he is acting for the benefit of others.
When such a person approaches marriage, he will think to himself: “What will I gain from marrying so-and-so?” rather than weighing what his potential mate stands to gain from the match.
Let's take a practical example: Henry seems to dote on his wife. He makes certain that she is healthy and has the best food available and that all her needs are met. At first glance, we are very impressed with Henry's concern for his better half.
Further observation, however, might change our minds. It may turn out that Henry's preoccupation with his spouse's wellbeing can be likened to his concern that the bank in which he deposited his life savings not go under. In this case, Henry is not concerned about the fate of the bank manager and staff, nor does he stay awake at night fretting about the fate of the bank's owners. All that weighs him down is the thought that he might lose his savings. He will do all he can to ensure that his funds will be available to him whenever he wishes.
How, then, how can we determine whether someone's love for another is true affection for another, or merely an extension of his love for himself?
If a husband provides for the needs of his mate only when he stands to profit from his efforts, it is clear that he loves not his wife, but himself. It is his personal gain which motivates him to look after his wife. In contrast, when a person looks after his spouse even when he does not stand to gain as a result, this is an expression of sincere affection for her.
If Jerry has an invested interest in Henry's being in a good mood so that he will agree to lend him his car or so that he can earn enough money to pay back his debt to Henry, Jerry is taking care of Henry out of concern for himself, and not for Henry. On the other hand, when Jerry undertakes to help Henry even when it is difficult for him and he has nothing to gain from doing so, we can take it as an indication of Jerry's sincere affection for Henry.
Genuine concern for our spouse's welfare, and a drive to be of help to him or her at all times, are signs of an underlying love which is sincere. Upon this firm foundation stone, the couple can build a home which will protect those who take shelter within it and nurtures their growth and development. Over the years, the strength of a sincere bond of affection between husband and wife does not lessen. On the contrary, it grows and deepens with each passing day.