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Ten Things I Learned on my Honeymoon

 

 By Jayna Richardson

 

 
 

The honeymoon: That joyous time when a newlywed couple is able to devote their time to nothing more than pleasing and enjoying each other. There are few weeks in my life that even come close to matching the joy and excitement of the week my husband and I spent on the beach after our wedding. We came home with great memories, a new understanding of each other, slight sunburns, and a few lessons we learned along the way.

Alone time is okay
On our wedding night, before I had even had a chance to remove the hundreds of bobby pins stuck throughout my hair, I collapsed onto the bed in our hotel room and said the words that I’m sure my new husband wasn’t too keen on: “I’m so tired!” But instead of pouting, Trey sat down beside me, gently stroked my hand, and asked if I would like to go take a bubble bath. Alone. On our wedding night.

I didn’t take him up on his offer that night, but it showed me that Trey understands my occasional need to retreat. As part of my personality, I sometimes have to take some time by myself to collect my thoughts and unwind. There were very few times on our honeymoon that I wanted to be alone, but those few moments that Trey graciously granted me were enough to energize me to give more of myself during our time together.

• Enjoy the special attention while it lasts
Although Trey and I had a fairly untraditional beach wedding, we did not escape the time-honored ritual of having our car covered in “Just Married” signs. The back seat was filled with balloons, and decals on every window proudly displayed our newlywed status.

Little did I realize that those silly signs would give us a major advantage in battling traffic. Everywhere we went, people would courteously allow us to pull in front of them as they honked and gave us a thumbs-up.
Alas, we couldn’t keep those signs up forever. But now that the excitement and congratulations have tapered off, we have even more of a reason to attend to each other with special attention and remind ourselves that our marriage should be celebrated.

• Sharing a bed is not always romantic
The only time on our honeymoon that I felt a twinge of annoyance at Trey was during a moment when he was sound asleep, blissfully unaware that I was glaring at him through the darkness. You guessed it – he was snoring! I’m a light sleeper, so even the faintest of noises wakes me up. I was disappointed that my pre-wedding notions of falling asleep in each other’s arms had turned into reality – me, wide-awake, next to the human tractor.

As I tossed and turned that night (and several nights since then) I had to remind myself that with marriage comes everything good and everything bad about that person. I sometimes quote Romans 8:28 to myself: “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” All things. I know that God can use mine and Trey’s bad habits and mistakes to breed patience and kindness in us. Over the next couple of years, Trey and I are going to find many insignificant (or not-so-insignificant) flaws in each other, and our choices will be to either call it quits, or to look past them and choose patience, love, and respect. Our marriage vows tell us what our decision should be. But we will have to choose the right decision each day. And investing in some good earplugs may not be a bad idea!

• Don’t schedule too much to do
Our honeymoon was quite an adventure! We went parasailing, sampled new foods, watched a shark feeding, went on a dolphin cruise, and took moonlit strolls on the beach. However, my favorite memories are of the times we spent alone together. We opened up our balcony doors at night and listened to the waves as we curled up together and talked. Ultimately, this is really what a honeymoon is about. It doesn’t take a faraway, exotic location to spend quality time together as husband and wife; it only takes time and commitment.

• Develop new habits
The days immediately following the wedding can seem a bit jarring, in the sense that suddenly, everything has changed. You have changed. This time of adjustment and transition is the perfect time to put into practice certain habits for your relationship. I’m not talking about habits like picking up your dirty socks or making the bed each day. On our honeymoon, Trey and I began the habit of praying together at night before we went to sleep. There is no better way to get your marriage off on the right foot than by keeping your focus on God, the author of marriage. Ecclesiastes says that “a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” Develop the habits that will keep your cord strong.

• Hold nothing back
Before I got married, I knew that I wouldn’t hesitate to share my time, possessions, thoughts, or even my money with Trey. I had already done most of those things with him or other friends and family, to a degree. But one concept that was completely foreign to me was the idea of sharing my body with someone. 1 Corinthians 7:4 states, “The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.” This was a strange idea for me to come to terms with because my body has always been mine. No one else has ever had a say in what I did with it. God’s pronouncement in this verse comes with great responsibility: When you have authority over someone else’s body, it is your duty to treat that responsibility delicately and with absolute respect. This means allowing your spouse the freedom to voice concerns or to take time to be comfortable with a new situation. But this verse also emphasized for me how closely intertwined a husband and wife are supposed to be – so much so that even their bodies belong to one another. This kind of submission does not come naturally. But following God’s Word is the only way we can experience everything good that He designed for marriage.

• Match sleeping schedules
I’m a morning person; Trey is definitely not. I remember having a conversation with him before we were married, and I told him that I felt like we’d never get to see each other if we kept going to bed and getting up at different times. On the honeymoon, Trey made the effort to get up early each morning with me, so by the time I was ready to go to sleep, he was too. Still, I knew that it was a difficult change for him. When we returned home, I began taking care of tasks such as packing my lunch and ironing at night rather than in the morning so that I could sleep in with Trey a bit. We’ve devised a pretty efficient schedule this way. Now Trey sleeps until I get out of the shower, then we have breakfast together. This little bit of time together in the morning helps us both to start our day out right. And neither of us feels like we’ve had to change our sleeping habits to an extreme.

• Make each other as comfortable as possible
I’m reluctant to admit this, but on our first night together in our apartment after returning from the honeymoon, we shared our bed with a third member: a very large stuffed duck. I had been excited all day as we traveled because we were finally coming home together. But once we got there, I didn’t feel at home. It still felt to me like Trey’s apartment, and I was an outsider. Trey could tell I was feeling a little homesick, so he dug around in the bags and boxes I hadn’t unpacked until he found the duck. He didn’t bring it out to patronize me; rather, he knew that it had been a fixture in my room at my parents’ house for years. I went to sleep that night clutching the giant duck, thankful that Trey knew that such a simple act helped to ease my anxiety. I have since re-packed the duck, and even though I feel a little embarrassed about that first night in our apartment, I’m glad that Trey was attentive to my needs and willing to help me feel as at-home as possible – even if it meant sharing the bed with a stuffed animal.

• Keep the honeymoon going
Most people have heard the expression “the honeymoon’s over.” And it’s true that at some point after the wedding, life begins to settle back into normal routines of jobs, bills, and cleaning house. But that doesn’t mean your attitude has to change. Think about special things you did for each other on your honeymoon, or even while you were still dating. Don’t slip into a habit of taking each other for granted. Your spouse is a gift of God! It’s your responsibility to receive this wonderful gift by appreciating and loving your spouse unconditionally.

• Being married is wonderful
This is probably the most important lesson I learned on my honeymoon. Whatever hurdles we come across, at least we’re in this together. God has blessed us greatly by giving us to each other, and I’m so thankful for the way He designed marriage. And as long as we put God first, we know that He will continue to bless our marriage. How do we know that? Psalm 37:4: “Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

 

 
 
 

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