Someone recently mentioned in conversation that their honeymoon was really the blueprint for their marriage. She told me about her honeymoon, the marriage that followed, and her discontent with how things ended up. She said it made her wish she had had a different honeymoon. It made me wonder if this could possibly be true.
Could my honeymoon have laid the groundwork for the kind of marriage I would have?
I loved our honeymoon, so it wouldn’t be a bad thing if this were true. We had quite an adventure- from the planning process to getting home. I let the Mountain Man plan the trip (almost) entirely on his own, which was for me a huge act of patience, trust and not nagging. We encountered a lot of uncertainty along the way, hadn’t had time to do as much research as I would have liked and didn’t actually learn any of the language (although I had bought books to learn some words!) We had some glitches but we powered through.
We approached the daily problem-solving situations with love, compassion, partnership and kindness. There were new challenges and complications every day. When we walked in circles through confusing streets to find our hotel, passing it perhaps twice before we made sense of the map.
We went to the bus station to catch a ride to a small seaside town, the next planned leg of our journey. As instructed by travel guides and websites we didn’t purchase tickets in advance, in order to have the opportunity to haggle a better price in person. We happened to be traveling during the one week a year when the bus system is flooded, so I sat with our luggage while the Mountain Man trapsed from counter to counter in the semi-circle open-air bus station, finding anyone who was driving where we were going. I was nervous, but I let him be in control. We laughed as we boarded a bus. And then we laughed again as it unloaded us halfway to our destination…
After an overnight bus ride, I got sick. We weren’t prepared for it, but we tried to make the best of it. We loaded onto the small boat that would take us to the little island and I snuggled into the Mountain Man’s chest and slept.
He unloaded me onto shore and figured out how to buy a calling card and call our hostel to be picked up. Two twin beds and a Salvador Dali-inspired bathroom greeted us, but the view off the balcony was redeeming. I got in bed and slept, the Mountain Man walked to the top of the island, bought a jug of homemade unfiltered wine from some guys selling it from a table in front of their homestead, and brought me some fresh fruit.
We hiked to a secluded beach (which turned out to be a mecca for older German nudists… who knew?) and to a village that no roads serviced. We rounded a corner on an ancient trail to find ourselves in a grove of giant hares. We took in history and architecture, art and nature. We ate things we couldn’t quite identify and we basked in the newlywed glow and Mediterranean sunshine.
If the honeymoon is the blueprint for a marriage, I can expect a lifetime of taking risks, letting go, laughing and learning. I can expect to seek out small adventures and to try new things. To be taken care of and to allow the unexpected to change our course. I can expect love, laughter, kindness and trust, walking down those winding, unmarked cobbled streets, with my Mountain Man.
We both grew as individuals, a lot – me in letting go, him in planning ahead. We grew a lot as a couple as we navigated the unknown together, with no one else to guide or instruct us. We made a few mistakes but we stumbled through it and laughed at the end.
Maybe the honeymoon defines the marriage. Maybe it reflects the kind of partnership we plan to build, even if we don’t know we have planned it. Or maybe it means nothing. I hope that I can look back on my honeymoon, decades from now, and see the seeds of the life we’ve made, stumbling through together.