There is a line in the Fiddler on the Roof song “Matchmaker,” (a song which, as a side point, I do not particular like for a number of reasons) where the daughters dream about the young man they hope to end up with, that goes:
“For Papa, make him a scholar, for Mama, make him rich as a king…”
I couldn’t help but think about this line as I was on one particular date, and while I was listening to the guy talk all I could think about was how much my parents would like him because he had certain characteristics, and how certain of my siblings would like him for various other characteristics. There was a particular activity that he enjoyed that my father enjoys as well, and I could picture my father’s face lighting up were I to tell him I was dating a guy who liked such things. For some reason, however, I just didn’t like the guy myself. Just to set the record straight, I really tried to like him.
This got me thinking about how fortunate I am to be very close with my parents and to see eye to eye with them in most areas. Their opinion is very valuable to me, and I can’t imagine ever marrying someone who they did not approve of. They are very supportive of me and they trust my judgment, so if there was someone who I liked that much, I think they would probably like that person too. Even though some use marriage as another way of rebelling against their parents, I am quite the opposite and every time I date a guy I think about how he would fit into my family. Finding the right person is not just about finding someone who I want to spend the rest of my life with and who wants to spend the rest of his life with me, but someone who my family wants to spend the rest of their lives with too.
Interestingly, the situation has never happened in reverse. I don’t think I’ve ever dated a guy who I liked, but who I thought my parents would disapprove of. Probably this is because my parents are not pressuring and have never, ever told me something that they want or expect of the guy I marry, so long as I am happy. When I say I thought my parents would like the guy I mentioned before (even though I did not) I mean that I know them well enough to know that even though they insist they will be happy with any guy I choose (and who chooses me), there are still certain personalities and certain types of guys that I know they would get along with better than others.
So when I met a guy who I thought they would like, I was determined to give it a chance. But I realized that when it comes down to it, there is a certain point where you shouldn't be trying quite that hard. I’m the one marrying the guy, and not them, so even though they get stuck with whoever I choose, my opinion matters the most. Even though he might have been good “for papa” and “for mama,” the rest of the song continues with the words “for me,” and that is equally important to consider. But the point is that it is equal, it is not just about me. Now I just have to find someone who fits both the “for papa, for mama” and the “for me.”