(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 twenty-five 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 twenty-five years I’ve lived with him, fought 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.
These lyrics are from that once in a lifetime play and movie “Fiddler on the Roof.” The reader may have noticed that their marriage was arranged rather than the result of courtship. Every song in that show related to emotional and social accountability that everyone must deal with as life moves along. In his thirties at the time, “Do You Love Me” provided mariner with a more complex definition of love. Love is a formula rather than a singular experience. Briefly, one can name several distinct types of love: a child for its mother; a parent for their children; infatuation; an employee for their job, etc. There are esoteric forms of love: for country; for nature; for the sea; for a sport, etc.
If one could divide love in a pie chart, commitment by far would be the largest piece. Different disciplines use different words for commitment; ponder ‘sacrifice’ for example: Is there a difference between a soldier diving on a grenade to save his squad and Golde spending 25 years sacrificing for her family? Vastly different circumstances but the common denominator is commitment.
The next largest piece would be empathy. It takes empathy to ‘bond’ with someone. Being able to perceive reality from another point of view whether it’s a life partner, a pet or someone on the street is a mental capability that is not evenly available among humans. Most arguments about lack of empathy center on bad developmental experiences when young or the fact that each human brain is as unique as fingerprints.
The third-sized piece is a stable psyche. A synonym for psyche is ‘spirit.’ There’s a trope that says “You have to love yourself before you can love someone else.” A tale from mariner’s life is his prejudice against tennis players who wear their ball cap backwards. He claims he doesn’t want to be distracted by their troubled psyche. Hmm, does mariner have an empathy problem or his own psyche issue?
The last of the larger pieces in love’s pie chart is gratification. Personal reward. That super feel good experience that makes one glad they are who they are; they feel complete; they feel successful. Importantly, there’s only one way to feel gratification: by an act of commitment empathetic to another’s need that grows one’s psyche and is successful in its objectives.
“Love makes the world go ’round” so says the 1961 play “Carnival.”