My husband and I just finished watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy together all the way through for the first time since getting hitched. It’s one of those that we have talked about often – making references to the story or characters or quotes. My husband read all the books several times since childhood, so they are kind of a big deal to him. Grievances with the choices film director Jackson made aside, he is still able to watch the movies and appreciate them, as well as not being that guy who critiques every single scene that’s different from the books. One of many reasons why I love him so.
The story of the ring is one of good versus evil for sure, but I think the real lasting themes of the story all center around companionship. The hobbits start off as simple, nonadventurous folk, but when sent on an epic journey to conquer evil once and for all, they rise to the challenge in ways that men ten times their size could not. And one of the most significant factors in their success is their friendships. The drinking buddy turned heroic warrior with the capacity to so intensely commit to another’s well being makes for the ultimate bromance.
And I think that understanding the kind of dedication it takes to go to the end of the world and back again is the only kind that will get us through the roughest patches of married life. While we wish it were all sweet and simple as the shire all the time, we know that sooner or later, someone will come knocking and send you all off on a treacherous trail. It could very well be your doom if you aren’t careful.
What makes a good companion? More than a friend – it’s definition includes a lot of time together, and a secondary use connotes being made for each other.
My husband and I while dating actually spent a lot of time travelling together. I think you really get to know a person when you take a road trip, or spend a bunch of time in a car. We quickly discovered that we had almost exact opposite taste in music, similar taste in movies, and very nearly exact opinions on the gospel. We travelled well together. We talked easily or sat in silence easily. We made decisions without a lot of turmoil, although I am still terrible at choosing what to eat. but at least I am not picky.
We travel well still. We have a very very long and sometimes treacherous road to travel. We would never turn down the other’s companionship. We pursue it. We long for it. And more than this, we fight for it. Companions of the ring were called to more than just walking a great deal. They needed to pick up their swords and defend each other. Sometimes they needed to disagree with each other, to point out the error of someone’s thinking. At times, they needed to give options or consult each other. They had one goal and one goal only. Their single purpose was to get Frodo to Mount Doom to destroy the ring. And with one purpose, one goal in mind, all the decisions become clearer, if not easier to make.
Our marriage needs that single mindedness. To travel well together, we have to have the same destination and the same purposes. We strive to fight the evil that clings to us and tries to drive a wedge between us. We help each other bear the burden, carrying each other when our strength fails or when one grows too weary of this life and this struggle. We want the best for each other, and we carefully plan our journey, as much as we are able, to see it through to the fires of Doom itself.
What makes a good companion? There is one who sticks closer than a brother. There is one who lays down his very life. Our example is he. Our example is one who has gone the road with you. The one who makes your path straight. The one who provided the way to be saved and to live freely. He has given us his most *precious gift, life and grace to live it, and he has now entrusted us with each other, another most precious gift, of love and companionship for all our days. How grateful I am, how much I cherish him!
(*Not to be confused with “The Precious.”)
I pray that our travels will reveal in us only our dedication to each other and where our reliance lies, on Jesus and his work for us. The journey will be long and filled with both joys and sorrows. We cling to each other and find our hope while holding each other. I cannot imagine doing this thing called life without him for one moment. I pray to always be the kind of companion Samwise Gamgee is, full of hope and wonder and simple beauty, the very best and compassionate friend to Frodo through the darkest hours, faithful every step. Except we get to make out and stuff.
“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tower high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King