Do You Love Me? by Debra H. Goldstein
Many of you know I love Broadway shows. There is a Facebook test making the rounds where one identifies how many, out of one hundred shows, one has seen either on Broadway or in some other theater production. I’m so nerdy, my score was over 80 – and that is not counting if I’ve seen a show more than once.
For example, I saw Fiddler on the Roof on Broadway with Zero Mostel and later Herschel Bernardi, in London with Topol, and at least twice in community theaters. As today is Joel and my anniversary (it really is today – August 14 – 34 years), one of the songs that Tevye, the main character, and his wife, Golde, sing to each other comes to mind. The song, Do You Love Me?, is sung after Tevye gives permission to one of his daughters to marry a man she loves. He gives his blessing even though it means her life will be difficult and located in a geographic area where Tevye may never see her again. Confused that marriages are based upon love rather than how his was arranged, he raises the question with Golde whether she loves him.
In the song, they sing of how nervous they were on their arranged wedding day, but how they were assured it would work out. Tevye begs his wife to answer whether she loves him. She replies by listing all the things she does from washing his clothes, making him dinner, milking the cow, giving him children and sharing his bed. Eventually they conclude that after twenty-five years, they love each other.
The song is simple, but it reflects the reality of marriage. Unlike fairy tales, marriage isn’t “They Lived Happily Ever After.” Marriage can be the special wonder of physical attraction and the honeymoon period, but it also has moments of reality that aren’t always beautiful highs. As Golde sings, the day to day reality of marriage includes basic life activities that aren’t romantic. The key is whether, as a couple, one gets through them together. It is the single memories two separate people unite to create.
Sometimes we take these moments for granted. We’ve been there, done that, and gotten used to each other’s habits and interests. There are many distractions that sometimes result in the relationship becoming secondary or even stale. That’s when we stop and take stock of why we fell in love and married.
I could ask Joel if he loves me, but I know the answer is the same as mine. After thirty-four years, it’s nice to know.