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You Must Meet My Wife and Life

You Must Meet My Wife and Life

By Peter Filichia

It’s been 38 years now since A Little Night Music opened and Fredrik told Desiree, “You must meet my wife.” Indeed we did, in one of Stephen Sondheim’s most fetching waltzes. “My happiest mistake, the ache of my life,” he sang, giving us a rhyme we might well have seen coming.

Oh, not all lyricists who use the word “wife” hook it with “life.” Alan Jay Lerner deserves a great credit for avoiding wife/life in My Fair Lady’s “I’m an Ordinary Man.” Wouldn’t you assume that at least once, when advising not to “let a woman in your life,” that he’d mention “wife”? But he didn’t.

Still, I daresay that it’s the rhyme that musical theater lyricists have used the most, more than June/moon, croon/spoon, home/Rome and even love/above. That makes sense. After all, a wife is supposed to be for life theoretically, at least.

So in honor of the 38th anniversary of Broadway audiences first hearing “You Must Meet My Wife,” let’s have a little quiz citing 38 different wife/lyrics and see if you can identify them. Don’t scroll down to the answers until you’ve given it a good solid try.

Come – I’ll make it easier for you. I’ve arranged the entries in chronological order; the first musical opened in 1909 and the last in 1998. But am I going to give you any other clues? Not on your wife – er, life.

1. “Should I say I’ll be your wife? … You’ll be happy all your life.”

2. “If I could be wed with a wife … I’d be yours fer the rest of my life.”

3. “So I set out to become a wife, and found the real love of my life.”

4. “Dr. Joseph Taylor’s wife … this is the happiest day of her life.”

5. “Still lifeless is my wifeless family tree.”

6. “The son of Jupiter and Juno, his wife … Still, at least I lead an int’resting life.”

7. “I must go on living life … and husband to each wife.”

8. “She’s a maiden, a madam, a mistress, a wife, the unrequited love of everybody’s life.”

9. “He had respect and feeling all our married life … So he never mentioned that he had another wife.”

10. “To the flavor of my life, to my wife.”

11. “For a woman to a man is just a woman, but a man to a woman is her life.”

12. “My one aim in life is to be a good wife.”

13. “What a life! All the money controlled by the wife.”

14. “Gone are your old ideas of life … Lo and behold! You’re someone’s wife.”

15. “If I had met you early in life, I could have been a poet’s wife.”

16. “A sweetheart, a mistress, a wife … to bring you the sweet things in life.”

17. “It’s a miracle that’s going to change your life. Come along and see the miracle and bring the wife.”

18. “As we travel the highway of life … or, if you’re a man, to your wife.”

19. “Hit the road, daddy, leave your common-law wife. Spread the religion of The Life.”

20. “I’m stricken for life … ‘You happen to love your wife.’”

21. “Gonna stay there all your life, so send for kids and cat and wife.”

22. “Say I died, loving bride, loving wife, loving life.”

23. “Here’s to the girls who play wife … clutching a copy of Life.”

24. “A model life … produces sweeter harmony between a man and wife.”

25. “Mother and wife is all that I look for in life.”

26. “From just some dumb mechanic’s wife … She’s givin’ up her hum-drum life.”

27. “Debutante or chorus girl or wife, tits and ass … have changed my life.”

28. “I have no wife. The swallow flying through the sky is not as swift as I am flying through my life.”

29. “Every man and boy and wife … stop those wicked little wooings that are screwing up your life.”

30. “A girl who’ll bring such magic to my life … when Mrs. Jacobowsky is my wife.”

31. “Gorgeous house, gorgeous wife; who wants any more from life?”

32. “If you want me in your life, you’d better make me your wife.”

33. “I’m up to here with all that crap about man and wife … I know the real facts of life.”

34. “Woncha please be my wife? I will take good care of you the rest of your life.”

35. “I would come take you from your life / You would be queen to me, not wife.”

36. “To think that stealing someone’s lonely little wife would be the greatest of adventures in the sorry little story of my life.”

37. “He’s a child, he’s too repressed, while she’s full of life” / “He’s a man with chronic asthma, gout, and a wife.”

38. “I’m trapped inside this life and trapped beside a wife.”


1. “Never Was There Such a Lover” — The Chocolate Soldier

2. “Mr. Snow” – Carousel

3. “The Love of My Life” – Brigadoon

4. “Joseph Taylor, Jr.” – Allegro

5. “Tom, Dick, or Harry” – Kiss, Me Kate

6. “Prologue” — Out of This World

7. “A Puzzlement” — The King and I

8. “Paris, France” — Make a Wish

9. “He Had Refinement” — A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

10. “To My Wife” – Fanny

11. “Without Love” – Silk Stockings

12. “A Typical Day” – Li’l Abner

13. “Push de Button” – Jamaica

14. “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” reprise — The Sound of Music

15. “I Wouldn’t Have Had To” — Let It Ride!

16. “It Takes a Woman” — Hello, Dolly!

17. “The Miracle Song” – Anyone Can Whistle

18. “Things to Remember” — The Roar of the Greasepaint–The Smell of the Crowd

19. “The Rhythm of Life” — Sweet Charity

20. “I Love My Wife” — I Do! I Do!

21. “All Aboard for Broadway” – George M!

22. “He Plays the Violin” — 1776

23. “The Ladies Who Lunch” – Company

24. “You Can Dance with Any Girl at All” — No, No, Nanette

25. “One Room” — The Rothschilds

26. “Roxie” – Chicago

27. “Dance 10, Looks, 3” – A Chorus Line

28. “A Bowler Hat” – Pacific Overtures

29. “Repent!” — On the Twentieth Century

30. “Mrs. S.S. Jacobowsky” — The Grand Tour

31. “Rich and Happy” – Merrily We Roll Along

32. “Ain’t No Party” – Dreamgirls

33. “The Bear, the Tiger, the Hamster, and the Mole” — Closer Than Ever

34. “Crazy about You, Baby” — Forever Plaid

35. “Unworthy of Your Love” – Assassins

36. “Story of My Life” — Hello, Again

37. “Impossible” — A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

38. “How Can I Call This Home?” – Parade

Peter Filichia also writes a column each Monday, Wednesday and Friday at;. His new book Broadway Musicals: The Biggest Hit & the Biggest Flop of the Season, 1959-2009 is now available through Applause Books and at