The path to commitment is littered with the corpses of relationships that just didn’t work. Sometimes the people were wrong for each other, sometimes the timing was off, but if you look really closely, the strange thing you’ll notice about the path is that there is only one body present. Occasionally, a relationship ends because one person just loses their way. They stop at some point to smell a flower, and then they see a butterfly, and then they see a waterfall in the woods, and they just walk off. Nothing was wrong with the relationship, necessarily, but the people involved did not realize that they were on the same path to begin with. They sort of bumped into each other and enjoyed walking together so they just kept going. They never really discussed the path they were on because you know, they didn’t want to mess up the good thing they had. It just worked.
The other day, my boyfriend and I were just generally chatting about nonsense, and, as it often happens, a series of Lord of The Rings refs commenced. He said something about their being “one ring to rule them all,” and I followed up with something about throwing it into the fires of Mount Doom. AND THEN SOMETHING INSANE HAPPENED. He laughed, and said, “No, it’s Mordor!” I can’t really describe my reaction to something like this (I’m a little obsessed with LOTR so for him to deign to correct me on this point was beyond comprehension.) Nevertheless, I was like, no, MY LOVE – it’s obvi that the ring can only be destroyed in the fires of Mount Doom – the volcano from which it was forged. DUH! (Thank god we found each other, right?) He continued to challenge me, and a quick Google search was necessary to end it.
As stupid of an “argument” as this was, it made me think – What would have happened if Frodo and Sam were not on the same page about where they were going?! What if they had just wandered along, hoping they’d eventually figure out what it was they were supposed to do?! It would have been a disaster of epic proportions!!
My boyfriend and I, when we’re not debating the finer point of LOTR, talk a lot about the things that make up our lives: commitment, money, kids, religion, jobs, hobbies, parents, siblings – you get the picture. Sometimes they are really hard conversations to have. We were faced with a difficult decision early on about my moving to NYC so that we could be in the same place. I’ve known him for four years and we have not lived in the same city (or country) for most of that time. I had accepted a position already and needed to reverse course if we were serious about being together. I was terrified. Even though I’ve known him a long time, I am extremely uncomfortable with the unknown. I rarely, if ever, trust my gut on anything. But being forced to have that conversation was one of the best things that has happened since we’ve been together. We talked about out fears, our desires, our dreams for the future, and, most importantly, we came to the realization that we wanted to be together to experience all of the things that life might bring our way.
Like Frodo and Sam, we have undertaken a quest that will lead us into scary territory – serious commitment requires a level of emotional and psychological endurance that is not easy to sustain. We may not encounter Orks or evil wizards, but there are plenty of other things that can derail even the most well-intentioned partners. Luckily, though, we have a fellowship of our own (NERD ALERT): we are armed with our communication skills, our mutual respect, and our friendship. I know there will be times we both want to quit, but with these things to help us, and a clear destination in mind, I don’t think we’ll have any trouble getting there.
Thank you A Pilgrim to Narnia for the photo!
Valarie is from Georgia. No, she doesn't have an accent. No one in metro-Atlanta really does. You can read her thoughts, using non-regional diction, at thinkingaboutdoing.tumblr.com.
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