Tolkien on Marriage

Nearly all marriages, even happy ones, are mistakes: in the sense that almost certainly (in a more perfect world, or even with a little more care in this very imperfect one) both partners might be found more suitable mates. But the real soul-mate is the one you are actually married to.

J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter to Michael Tolkien, March 1941 Posted by Picasa


thewriterslife said...

Hi Roger,

I found your blog in a search engine and would love to comment on this. Tolkien is wrong. For one thing, all marriages are not mistakes. They are learning lessons perhaps but not mistakes. Each and every soul mate comes into your life for reasons so that you can climb that ladder towards higher self. Along the way, there are successful paths which makes us gather strength as we go along and then there are troubled paths which makes us learn things about ourselves. We need both in order to find our higher self. Another thing he said was "the real soulmate is the one you are actually married to." Well, that's yes and no. The one you are married to is only ONE of your soul mates. In fact, you may never marry your twin soul which is another kind of soul mate altogether. You've given me something to think about today...too bad Tolkien doesn't know what he's talking All this is outlined in my book Romancing the Soul.

Pontificator said...

"Do we marry the right person?"

Lisa said...

We need to get over the notion that we marry to "fix" something within us or to "climb that ladder" towards any kind of self.

It is only when we stop thinking about self that marriage will have any hope.

Arborfield said...

Must admit I agree with Lisa. Speaking for myself, married for 28 years, I find that marriage works simply because one subjugates oneself to the needs of another... dying to oneself?

I do believe that as soon as one feels one's own needs are not being met that one is on a slippery slope. But then, what do I know!

Anonymous said...

My wife has told me she'd rather be dead than be married to me. I wonder if that means the "dying to oneself" is working, in her case?
Sorry for the grotesque humor. I am in complete agreement that a person must die to themselves completely, giving up all comforts as Christ did, to pursue the salvation of their beloved. I despair that my character seems to low to do this, but I have every confidence that Christ will bring a miracle about in me, as he promised, even if lose everything. Probably, only if I lose everything.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that Tolkien's point addresses the increasing tendency in our society to wonder, even after marriage, if we could do or have done "better" in finding that perfect mate for ourselves. He seems to make the good point that once we have, by the act of marriage, chosen our mate, we have chosen what is to be (if not already)our soul mate, and from that point on there is no looking back or around to see what we might have missed. From that point on we continually work toward and with our mate and they become more and more our soul mate. We may have other soul mates different in kind, but that does not diminish our chosen soul mate's status.