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Sunday, May 1, 2016

If you love someone, tell them

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The musical Fiddler on the Roof tells the story of a poor Orthodox Jewish family living in a small village in Tsarist Russia in 1905. Included in the production, there is a song that paints a sweet and comical picture of love between a husband and a wife. It is a conversation between the main character, Tevye, and his wife, Golde. The conversation goes like this:

Tevye: Golde...Do you love me?

Golde: Do I what?

Tevye: Do you love me?

Golde: Do I love you? With our daughters getting married and this trouble in the town, you're upset, you're worn out! Go inside, go lie down! Maybe it's indigestion!

Tevye: Golde, I'm asking you a question. Do you love me?

Golde: You're a fool!

Tevye: I know... But do you love me?

Golde: Do I love you? For 25 years I've washed your clothes, cooked your meals, cleaned your house, given you children, milked the cow. After twenty-five years, why talk about love right now?

Tevye: Golde, the first time I met you was on our wedding day. I was scared!

Golde: I was shy!

Tevye: I was nervous!

Golde: So was I!

Tevye: But my father and my mother said we'd learn to love each other.

And now I'm asking, Golde, do you love me?

Golde: I'm your wife

Tevye: I know... But do you love me?

Golde: Do I love him? For 25 years I've lived with him, fought with him, starved with him. Twenty-five years my bed is his. If that's not love, what is?

Tevye: Then you love me?

Golde: I suppose I do.

Tevye: And I suppose I love you too

Both: It doesn't change a thing. But even so, after twenty-five years, it's nice to know.

I never get tired of hearing my wife tell me that she loves me. It's a common, daily occurrence in our household to say, "I love you!"

I love my wife, and I know she loves me too.

Sometimes people live side by side with each other and learn to take each other for granted. After years together, people get comfortable with one another, and some people just go through the motions of everyday life, coexisting. They are living together, eating together, sleeping together, watching TV together, going to church together, and yet they don't take the time to say, "I love you!"

It wasn't a common thing for Tevye and Golde to say, "I love you!" It wasn't a part of the way they were raised, and it wasn't a part of their culture where marriages were arranged by families or a matchmaker.

I fell in love with a young woman at a ministry meeting in Talladega, Ala., almost 30 years ago. It was love at first sight for me. But, I had to grow on her.

In time she did fall in love with me, and our love has grown over the years. I love my wife, Lynn, more today than I did years ago. And I still tell her that I do every day.

When Tevye said to Golde for the final time in that song, "Then you love me," she responded, "I suppose I do." And I like his response. "I suppose I love you too!"

I am so blessed to have someone to share my love with. I hope you do too.

Tell them you love them today. And tell them again and again.

Doug Dezotell is the pastor of Mt. Lebanon UMC and Cannon UMC. He is a former staff writer for the Times-Gazette, and he is a husband, a father, a grandfather, and a friend to many. He can be contacted at dougmdezotell@yahoo.com.

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Doug Dezotell
Memories and Musings
Doug Dezotell is pastor of Cannon United Methodist Church and a former staff writer for the Times-Gazette.