Have you turned the page of your calendar yet? We’ve entered June, the month of weddings and honeymoons.
Lots of effort goes into planning a wedding. Among other things, the happy couple decides on the venue, guest list, vows, reception, and food. But not every wedding is so involved. Ceremonies can range from a ten-minute declaration by a Court Clerk to a destination wedding in an exotic locale.
Of course, we can’t forget the honeymoon—as short as an overnight trip or as long as an around-the-world cruise. A time to get away and bond, both physically and emotionally. A time to withdraw from external obligations, providing the opportunity to focus undivided attention on each other.
So when did the focus of the honeymoon change from the intimacy of relationship to that of a grand and glorious travel experience? A vacation of extravagant proportions just because, well, “It’s our honeymoon!”
It’s one thing if the couple (or their family) can afford the expense. But if they can’t, a new practice has developed. Get someone else to pay for it.
And why not? After all, if others want to help give the couple the vacation of a lifetime, why shouldn’t they? We give wedding gifts, don’t we? If the couple doesn’t feel comfortable asking for cash, crowdfunding sites have eagerly stepped into the gap to make it happen (of course, at a slight profit).
Gifts are good…if the honeymoon is merely a grand vacation. And for couples who have been living together, maybe that’s all an extravagant honeymoon really is.
However if, indeed, the honeymoon is more than that, the couple will cheat themselves of at least four benefits:
The blessing of undistracted intimacy:
For the newly-married couple, the honeymoon is an opportunity to tune into each other. To enjoy their deeper intimacy and appreciate new experiences as a couple. If the vacation is over-the-top extravagant, the focus becomes the lavish environment instead of each other. The couple has a choice to make: the honeymoon can be a time of investment in the relationship or a distraction.
The maturing process of delayed gratification:
I don’t know about you, but the more easily I receive something I want, the less I appreciate it later. When I have to wait for something important, it becomes even more precious. A serendipitous benefit is that the waiting also changes me. I develop and strengthen character qualities such as patience, self-control, and gratitude.
Giving in to the need for instant gratification will work against a couple’s relationship and increase the potential for significant problems, both relational and financial.
The satisfaction of working together for a mutual goal:
The longer a couple is married, the more experiences and memories they share. Remember when we…? How about the time we…? Difficulties that once brought on tears are laughed about years later. Stories are passed down to children and grandchildren. Let me tell you about the time we saved all our change in a jar for a vacation fund or when we held yard sales until we saved enough money. The recollections unite the couple, help cement the relationship, and reinforce them as a family unit.
The joy of anticipation:
Remember waiting for Christmas to come when you were a child? We started school in the fall and Christmas felt as if it would never arrive. There’s so much to anticipate with a wedding. The celebration with those you love and who love you. The excitement of beginning a new chapter of life. It will change how you see yourself. How you relate to one particular human being from this day forward. How you plan your days, weeks, months, and years. Why would you want the vacation of your dreams to get lost in all of this?
The honeymoon may be the most important vacation a couple will take. But it’s more than just a vacation. Better to postpone the lavish trip for another time. Your future selves will thank you.
When you look back on your honeymoon, what do you remember?