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There and Back Again: How J.R.R. Tolkien Helped Save a Marriage

There is a couple I know who found their marriage nearly untenable, and in some need of divine Providence to rescue it, or, at least, some sort of divine guidance to show them the way, sometimes one day at a time — sometimes one hour at a time.

Readers of a certain age who remember the early ’90s — think GenXers in flannel shirts playing hacky sack on idyllic college campuses — will recall the popular one-hit wonder Breakfast at Tiffany’s” by Deep Blue Something. The song is about an impending breakup, the narrator desperate to find some sort of “common ground” with his significant other to salvage it. That leads to the song’s catchy chorus:

And I said, ‘What about Breakfast at Tiffany’s?’
She said, ‘I think I remember that film
And as I recall, I think we both kinda liked it.’
And I said, ‘Well, that’s the one thing we got.’

While the Audrey Hepburn/George Peppard classic from 1961 was a whimsical link for the two in the song, J.R.R. Tolkien — particularly The Lord of the Rings — proved to be the common denominator for the couple in our story, when it seemed nothing could hoist up what once was. Everything that should be the bedrock of their marriage: faith, the sacraments, Scripture, prayer, family and memories of years together, was not sustaining it the way it should.

How to provide counsel in this uncomfortable spiritual desert? It was an agonizingly long dark night for their souls, painful to witness, resentment and tension looming daily. Perhaps the best solution was to go the way half the marriages these days go — over and done.

But what about the children? The house? What about the marriage vows? Was this to be another fractured family glued by second or third marriages, amalgamating other families into one’s own? It’s common, it happens, it’s tragic and like life, it’s messy, and who, after all, am I to judge?

But everything is there, again, in those vows. I was a wedding videographer as a side gig in college. At some, unfortunately, the tension was already palpable. One tends to overlook those moments for the joyous occasion a wedding naturally is. So when looking through the viewfinder during the all-important exchange of vows, after working them enough times I began to sense which ones were authentic, and which ones, sadly, were perfunctory.

I know our couple in question, the ones facing that marriage drought, were authentic in that moment on that day 10 years ago.

I know because I was the groom.

Read more at National Catholic Register 

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