Marriage vs. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

“I’m going on an adventure!”

About a month ago Robert and I took a little weekend vacation in Palm Springs to celebrate our one-year wedding anniversary. On the morning of our anniversary, we wrote each other new vows, now that we had the perspective one year on this side of marriage offers. It was a very meaningful time, and I thought I’d share part of what I wrote to Robert. I’ve been hesitant to share this, but then I realized how refreshing and encouraging it is every time I read someone else who is being slightly honest about marriage.

So here’s what I wrote to Robert, as sort of an introduction to my “new” vows. I’ve adapted it slightly for this blog:

When we designed our wedding invitations, we chose the quote: “To love would be an awfully big adventure,” from J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan. I think this was prophetic, and I think we had no idea what we were saying. And maybe we had more of an affinity with Peter Pan than we realized—we were both absurdly resistant to growing up.

I wonder if maybe we were thinking “adventure” as in the kayaking/hiking tour in Kauai we did on our honeymoon, or maybe like backpacking in South America. But I recently read The Hobbit and that reminded me of the real meaning of adventure.

Adventures are tough, and uncomfortable. A good portion of an adventure is tedium, or practicalities. Adventures are often quests, moving toward some deep-hearted goal. And adventures involve fighting off forces of evil in skirmishes and battles, and sometimes being plucked out of a despairing situation by someone greater than ourselves. Friends are important, too, on an adventure, as is receiving help when it’s offered, and heeding wisdom from those who have been on the road before.

The front of our wedding invitation

The adventure of marriage fits this bill exactly. But I confess, once that became clear (in the early weeks after our wedding) I was much like Bilbo the hobbit. I didn’t want an adventure that much. I’d rather be comfortable and safe, thank you. But here I am, one year later. And, like Bilbo, I now hope this adventure shapes me into someone who is brave, and a loyal friend; someone who uses her wits and whatever else she’s got to make it through; a useful partner and maybe even in an odd way, a hero.

Also similar to our favorite little hobbit, I’ve found that the true joy of an adventure is not the daring feats of courage, but instead grows out of the mundane moments of the journey. The companionship that marks our days—the little jokes, the learning the other, and the increasing freedom to be ourselves—are the treasure I cherish as our own adventure of marriage unfolds.


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