“Do You Love Me?”

A few weeks ago Lisa Whelchel announced she was divorcing her husband after more than 23 years of marriage. Yesterday I watched a video of an interview she did with Jeff Probst in which Lisa said that she was never really in love with her husband.  Lisa explained that she thought she was following God’s will for her life by marrying her husband, yet her heart was never committed to the relationship.

As I listened to the interview, I was reminded of  the very touching scene in Fiddler on the Roof where Tevye asks Golde if she loves him.  Golde tries to avoid answering but finally concludes that all they have shared in 25 years of marriage is the definition of love.  The song ends with each professing their love for the other and concludes with “It doesn’t change a thing, but even so, after twenty-five years, it’s nice to know.”

It’s not my place to judge Lisa or to try to determine what was right for her and her family.  However, my heart breaks at the realization that a Christian couple who have tried to follow God’s will for their lives could live together for more than two decades and raise a family without truly bonding with one another.  Tevye and Golde are right when they conclude that going through the ups and downs of life together really does constitute love.  I’m sorry Lisa was not able to come to the same conclusion.  I wish her all the best as she moves forward in life as a single Christian woman,  and I pray that she will find the lasting love that she seems to have missed in her recently-ended marriage.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Fiddler on the Roof, I encourage you to check out the video of “Do You Love Me?”   starring Topol as Tevye and Norma Crane as Golde:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_y9F5St4j0 .  It’s a beautiful song and a touching scene as these two long-married people finally reveal the love that is in their hearts.

Author: Susan Elizabeth Ball

Author of the Christian Bible study, 'Honoring God with Your Money,' and three Christian novels, 'Restorations;' 'Reconciliations;' and "Letters to Mother from College." Small business consultant, former pizza restaurant owner, wife, mother, grandmother of 8.

4 thoughts on ““Do You Love Me?””

  1. Yes you are so right Susan. It makes you wonder if we know the true meaning of love. It pains me to see us forsake marriage when God clearly meant it to be forever. My pray is with Lisa and her family. Thank you so much for your blog posts. God bless you in your endeavor. Keep writing!!

  2. Actually, I think there may be other ways to consider this. Lisa was engaged when pretty young to a much older pastor who was chosen to be her husband by her father. She was not attracted to him or in love with him when she married. The pressures to maintain a “Godly” life as a Christian wife of a pastor must have been extremely difficult to bear for someone who was actually living a lie and who had to give up her former career (even though celebrities are no less able to be great parents to their kids). I think that if we are to believe that God wants marriage to be forever, we have to allow God to guide each of us to the person we can love deeply enough to truly commit to, like the fictional Golda and Tevya. Lisa’s father took on God’s role for himself — an ego-driven, sinful act. And Lisa’s husband knew when he married her that she was not truly in love with him. Maybe he loved her, but that did not give him the right to have her. When he “prayed” to God about the marriage, he apparently didn’t listen to what God was trying to tell him about Lisa’s own feelings. Again, a human’s ego allows him to dismiss another’s own internal message from God because he believes he knows what’s best for her, according to God. When she was faced with her engagement, Lisa was hearing a countering voice inside her — God — but was overruled by the very human men in her life. Now she can listen to her heart without any interfering voices and, we hope, maybe find a spouse who respects her personal bond with God as sacred, as she would have to do for him.

    1. I agree with you that Lisa’s father interferred and pressured her to marry a man of his choosing. You make a good point that we each have to hear God’s voice for ourselves and allow Him to guide us. God wants to have relationships with each of us individually and to share His plans for our lives with us. We should not go forward with plans that make us feel uncomfortable. That is a positive message Lisa can share with other young women.
      However, Lisa did make a commitment for ‘better or worse’ and I believe that if she had honored that commitment with her whole heart, it is possible that she would have been able to truly love her husband.

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