Honeymoon & Newlywed Myths, Realized

As a girl, and probably right up until I actually said “I do”, I assumed my honeymoon would be glamorous: all smiles and laughter, as my groom and I danced on the euphoric high of our perfectly magical nuptials, to the rhythm of tropical waves in the glow of a soft sunset.

I mean, there was dancing and smiling. There were also waves and sunsets and laughing. But what my honeymoon fantasy failed to put into account were the very human, awkward and practical things that happen in between all of the euphoria-having and sunset-dancing.

And before you think this blog is heading anywhere near the realm of TMI, please be advised that this will be nothing of the sort. Just thought I should clarify, since when I read the previous two paragraphs to my husband, his eyes got wide and suggested I reassure my audience in case there was any doubt to my pure intentions.

ANYWAY.

Embracing the Church’s teaching as fully as possible, Danger and I did not live together before we got married. So our honeymoon was the first time we spent 24/7 together. Like, ALL DAY and ALL NIGHT. Every. Single. Day.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love Danger more than anything else, and I can’t imagine another person I’d want to share my life with. He’s the best guy in the world, and gets me more than anyone else. But despite that, or maybe because of that, there are some things I’d like to keep to myself…

Such as my addiction to Sonic teas. And my need to line up all of my shampoo bottles perfectly. And how often I text my friends and play Farm Heroes Saga. And what I look like when I haven’t had all morning to spend over an hour trying to look like I don’t actually try at all. And of course, any injury or mishap that makes me look less than perfect.

The morning we left for our honeymoon, my back went out. I tweaked it the morning of our wedding, while my bridesmaids and I were getting breakfast. Throw in a corset, dancing and falling on the dance floor, and my back was not happy. I walked like someone had taped me to a board: stiff, alarmed and with no turning radius.

Needless to say, it was not how I wanted to present myself on the first day as husband and wife.

My back got better after a couple of days, just in time for me to run into some jungle plant or sunscreen brand my skin hated. Combine that with constant heat and humidity, and my skin breaks out into a blistering rash all over my arms and legs. Let me tell you, there’s nothing sexier than a woman with beach frizz hair, covered in chicken pox-ish marks, wearing cold towels on her limbs and smelling heavily of Calamine lotion. It’s really attractive.

Combine that with eating food that doesn’t agree with you, and leaves you burping and popping antacids, and you have to beat the men off of you with a stick.

Obviously, I use my sarcasm to hide my humiliation, and hopefully provide some relief to those of you reading who have ever embarrassed yourself in front of the love of your life.

Before marriage, if any of the above things happened, I would have begged the earth to swallow me whole. I also could call it an early night and nurse my wounds privately. I’d have time to cover up any flaws or embarrassing issues and he’d be none the wiser.

But after marriage, it’s a lot harder to hide those human functions and failures that we all hate to admit we experience. You know how they say you have to die to self to have a good marriage? I think this is one of the reasons why.

Your spouse is meant to be the person who knows you AND loves you the most on earth – warts, rashes, burps and all. It’s their willingness to love all of you that heals those wounds in us that used to make us believe we weren’t worth it. It’s beautiful, once you get past your own embarrassment.

So, in nutshell? Here’s what I learned (feel free to educate me further in the comments section!):

1. Let your spouse surprise you. I’m actually grateful my back hurt so much I couldn’t move, because it forced me to let Danger help out. He was so caring and easy going about all of my medical woes, that after a few days, it was a lot easier to die to myself and focus on him.

2. Your wedding day and honeymoon will  NOT be perfect, and that’s awesome. It’s okay if things don’t go as planned – at best, some unexpected wonderful things will happen, and at worst, you and your new spouse get to practice working as a team to problem solve and/or de-stress. So let go of any lofty expectations, and just enjoy the ride.

3. It’s okay if you and your new spouse bicker on the honeymoon – it’s a natural part of transitioning to being together so much more than usual. It is not a sign of future misery and divorce, which my anxious mind was glad to learn.

4. Even though you are going to spend lots more time together, it’s okay to still have alone time or friend time as needed. Though you are united as one, that doesn’t mean you are now one person with two heads. That’s freaky and often counterproductive. So take time with your friends, or alone in prayer. It will make the time you reconnect even better.

5. Get over yourself but keep it classy. While you need to be humble and get over being human in front of your spouse, there are still some things of the hygiene/preening variety you can keep to yourself, probably forever.

6. Play! Just because you’re adults, doesn’t mean you can’t goof off and have fun! Play games, run around outside, go hiking, ride bikes, bring back the 90’s and roller blade – whatever you like! Embrace your inner kids and you’ll be surprised how much that helps increase closeness with your spouse.

7. I know next to nothing about marriage, but I am so glad that I have the Sacrament to help us through! We need all the prayer time, Mass and fellowship we can get.

Thanks for reading, and feel free to leave your thoughts, critiques or comments!

 

  • Jenni

    “I know next to nothing about marriage” Aren’t you a professional marriage counselor? That’s what your bio says. People criticize Catholic priests for giving marital advice even though the priests are celibate. I always thought that was incorrect criticism, but you seem to be providing evidence that it is right.

    • http://lindsayloves.com/ Lindsay

      Can you clarify your comment? It sounds like you’re saying Britt knows more about marriage than she claims, and that is by virtue of being both a married person and a counselor. On the other hand, priests really don’t know about marriage because they are (almost all) unmarried. Is that what you’re saying?

      • Jenni

        Not saying anything about how much anyone knows about anything. Just surprised to see that in print, and it does provide ammo for the naysayers who claim priests are unqualified to offer advice because of their celibacy. (I never bought that argument.)

        • Britt Echtenkamp

          So the newlywed/marriage time warp has prevented me from viewing this until now (thanks Lindsay and Jenni for your comments). Yes, I am a professional marriage counselor, which means I am qualified to facilitate therapeutic conversations, help couples to identify growth areas in their relationship, teach and apply techniques to help them in their growth area, and so on. I should have clarified my statement to say “I know next to nothing about MY marriage”, which is to say that I’m very new to it and have a lot to learn about being in my unique, one-of-a-kind relationship with my unique, one-of-a-kind husband. To assume that because I know the mechanics of a “good marriage”; and that I have years of experience counseling couples; and so that means that I will be an expert in MY marriage is faulty logic. That is to assume that marriage is some kind of formula or puzzle, that once you figure it out you can apply to any situation. Since marriage is made up of individual human persons, who cannot fit into any kind of box or formula, marriage is then going to look different for each couple. So while I may be trained in the mechanics of marital communication, boundaries, etc and have an idea about common marital issues, I will never assume I know everything. I approach every couple as unique, and allow their story, with all of their particular colors and variations, to influence my practice. To be someone worthy of giving advice would imply that they need be an expert on the topic AND the person to whom they are addressing – which is why counselors and priests don’t give “advice”. They give COUNSEL. The difference is of great magnitude, and would take another post to explain. Which I will be happy to do, if it helps.

  • http://lindsayloves.com/ Lindsay

    I will admit to having the same panic moment Danger did! So glad I kept reading. :) “Humility” means something like “to be made as low as the dirt.” It sounds like you are finding marriage very humbling! Thanks for sharing (appropriately)!