Heather and I have finally caught up with Tevye and Golde. But we figured out Tevye’s question long ago.
If your “Fiddler on the Roof” trivia’s a little rusty, there’s a moment where the lead character Tevye suddenly realizes that after 25 years or marriage, he’s never asked his wife a simple question: “Do you love me?” With their marriage arranged and a pile of daughters to raise, it never had a chance to come up. But as they reach a moment where their lives and world are changing, he realizes that he needs the answer.
Golde resists at first: why worry about it NOW? But after much musical back-and-forth, she finally confesses that after 25 years of struggling together, something has grown between them. “I suppose I do,” she admits, surprised at her own answer.
“Then I suppose I love you too,” Tevye answers with a smile.
“It doesn’t change a thing,” they sing together, “but even so/After 25 years … it’s nice to know.”
It is, indeed.
We hit our own 25th a few days ago. The one they call silver. That makes it sound pretty and timeless, like jewelry in a safe, doesn’t it?
Well, it has been timeless. But I think Heather would agree that it hasn’t always been pretty.
Our parents like to tease us about having a whirlwind courtship: Heather and I met in November, proposed the next spring and had a three and a half month engagement. Sometimes when you know, you don’t want to waste time.
That launched the adventure. And since then, our mutual weirdness has carried us through a lot.
We’ve discovered what it’s like to spend “date nights” in the emergency room, somehow smiling at each other through the latest medical emergency .
We’ve entered parenthood through the back door, becoming guardians for Heather’s developmentally disabled aunt and uncovering new surprises daily.
We’ve weathered the losses that 25 years bring, from elderly grandparents to a too-young cousin.
And yes, we’ve accumulated photographs, marveled over interesting words, delved into each other’s favorite songs and stories, and shared WAY too many terrible puns. (That last one is mostly me, but she swears I’ve corrupted her.)
There’s been stress and strain to be sure. But also joy as well. And bit by bit, it’s added up.
So I guess, like Tevye, I am a little surprised. Not at the love we always knew was there. But at how small 25 years suddenly looks.
Like a mountain range, it’s built of smaller bits, brought together over time. And traveling that 25 years just means navigating the bits. You make it through the next day. And the next. And the next one after that.
That doesn’t have to just describe a marriage. It’s any worthwhile commitment, really. You decide what’s important to you and then treat it that way. Over and over and over again.
Sure, it can be tiring. Every mountain hiker knows that. But if you’ve committed to something good, the journey is worth the effort.
Ours certainly has been.
So happy anniversary, my love. We’ve climbed a lot of peaks together. And somehow, you haven’t pushed me off any of them, no matter how bad the jokes get.
We asked our Tevye question at the start and every day since. Thank you for the answer that’s always been “yes.”
Now, how about a movie night?
I think “Fiddler” is on.