In Jonas's community, young adults are first given their job assignments and must successfully contribute to the community for a few years. After a while, they can apply for a spouse, and every characteristic of each individual is carefully considered as a "perfect" match is created that will balance out weaknesses that might present as they move forward as a couple:
Even the Matching of Spouses was given such weighty consideration that sometimes an adult who applied to receive a spouse waited months or even years before a Match was approved and announced. All of the factors — disposition, energy level, intelligence, and interests — had to correspond and to interact perfectly. Jonas's mother, for example, had higher intelligence than his father; but his father had a calmer disposition. They balanced each other. Their Match, which like all Matches had been monitored by the Committee of Elders for three years before they could apply for children, had always been a successful one.
After a successful union, the couple can later apply for children and must be approved. If they have proven themselves capable parents, they are eligible to receive one male and one female child through the assistance of Birthmothers, who are allowed three pregnancies before becoming laborers. In the rare circumstance that a child dies, a parent is given a "replacement" child with the same name.
In a memory, Jonas learns of the concept of grandparents, and he enjoys the idea of "parents-of-the-parents." He's never considered the concept before because the elderly in his community live in the House of the Old and are not a part of his life. The Giver tells him that he could look this up in the Hall of Open Records, but a feeling lingers with Jonas. The Giver tells Jonas that this feeling is love, and it becomes clear that in family units in Jonas's community, there is no love—only arrangements of convenience.