Dreaming of the honeymoon may be one of the best perks of getting married. After the wedding, couples look forward to escaping from family, friends and all the busyness. Activities build to a feverish pitch, cumulating with the wedding day, so the opportunity to relax together is a welcome respite. The honeymoon tradition dates back to the 16th century, historically a time of arranged marriages. This was often the first opportunity for couples to truly have time alone, perhaps fall in love and enter into the physical aspects of their relationships. The literature of that time provides great love stories and some wretched tales. The choices that individuals and couples make during this “sweet” period that may have lasted about a month (the period of a moon) likely set their future direction of their life together.
So what happens when the honeymoon is over? Life too quickly returns to normal and can become routine. The drama is over, a situation that some have difficulty adjusting to but others embrace. How then do couples build a life together that thrives?
Here are some valuable tips for the new journey you have chosen to take together:
· Remember to be friends, not just lovers. Physicality changes over time but friendship, if nourished, grows stronger from shared memories and moments. Committing yourself to a lifetime with someone provides an opportunity to grow together as individuals and a couple. Personal fears and barriers need to come down if this is to happen.
· Keep the romance alive and find time for each other. When someone is a priority in our lives, we make time for them. Find ways to have fun together, but make sure that the interests of both individuals are considered. A relationship that leans too heavily in one direction may topple.
· Learn to communicate in each other’s language of love. We all say “I love you” in different ways. Some do so by talking or touching, while others find doing things, big or little, shows their love. It is like learning to speak Portuguese if you are living in Brazil or Portugal. If you don’t take the time to learn the native language, your experience will not be as rich or fulfilling.
· Invest in each other. If all you do is withdraw money from your bank account, it will soon be depleted. Regular deposits over time allow for the ebb and flow of life to occur but provide the necessary resources that allow you to stand the test of time as a couple.
· Remember, love is more than a feeling. It is a choice and a commitment you make. Situations and people may change dramatically, creating the need for decisions to be re-examined. Long term relationships require tweaking over time to enjoy the journey.
A dear friend of mine shared how her parents’ love affair of almost 50 years greatly impacted her view of marriage. Spending time with them allowed me to see why. They have dramatically different personalities: she is a passionate extrovert and he is a calming presence. Now retired, they often spend evenings sitting on their patio enjoying a glass of wine and discussing their days. They may not agree on everything, and I think quite often they don’t; but they’ve learned or chosen to accept the differences and embrace them. They recognize the value of connecting through conversation and small touches. It is inspiring to watch them together and the investment that they continue to make in each other.
Seeing them renews a belief that the honeymoon can be the beginning of a journey that lasts a lifetime. The choice is up to you.