At some point every newly married couple knows that sooner or later they’re going to need to readjust to “real life.” Real life for most people doesn’t include warmth in the winter, palm trees outside of their house, uncountable sexual encounters throughout the day and night, eating out (or opting to eat in) and not having to cook a single meal… for most of us, we have to cook, clean, go to work, and on top of all of that deal with the other people in our lives. None of that means the honeymoon has to die!
A honeymoon is defined in Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary as: 1) a period of harmony immediately following marriage; 2) a period of unusual harmony especially following the establishment of a new relationship; 3) a trip or vacation taken by a newly married couple. I feel that the initial honeymoon period is special in that you’re new, you’re excited about each other, and you’re looking forward to days of relaxing from planning one of the biggest days of your life. Yes, you’re also looking forward to the sex, don’t lie to yourself. Most couples find that after the sex, after the vacation, after coming across the threshold of what is now “their” home… you’ll need to figure out how not to get on each other’s nerves throughout the days, weeks, and years to come.
So here are five ways to have a honeymoon after the honeymoon:
1) Keep the element of surprise in your marriage.
Surprise is a wonderful way to let a person know you’re thinking about them without literally letting them know you’re thinking of them. It doesn’t have to be a big thing; it could just be something simple as giving them their favorite bar of candy at their job one day. It could be lunch on a Monday if your spouse is not a fan of Mondays; seeing your face would definitely be a highlight. It could be snatching your spouse for three days to a getaway in a hotel of your choice. The options are many and broad!
The key to surprise is just that – keep it a surprise. I know for me sometimes it’s hard to keep surprises because I want to make my wife happy. Sometimes I’ll let things leak out so that she’s intrigued, but not well enough to where she can put the pieces of the puzzle together. If you want to make it fun, leave clues that meet at a predestined end. The other key, know your spouse. Don’t surprise your spouse with something they won’t like. It’s not a good surprise if you love it and your spouse doesn’t.
Spend time researching ideas, whether it’s online or in your environment around you. You can get inspiration from other people’s stories, travel websites, newspapers, street benches… almost anywhere! Those things you did while on a date, keep doing them, but do even greater things! Continue to blow your spouse’s mind. It’s not enough to meet their expectations, you must exceed them. Love should always be growing between the two of you. Surprise is like a fire, it ignites things quickly.
2) Help each other with household chores.
Example: your husband doesn’t like lawn work. Maybe you know that he will do it if he has some incentive. So perhaps while he’s cutting the lawn, you give him an envelope with some suggestive pictures of yourself in them and a note saying, “thanks for cutting the lawn, I’ll see you in a few minutes.”
Example: your wife doesn’t like washing the dishes. As a husband what you can do is make an agreement that the next time you’ll cook dinner, or maybe have her favorite dessert waiting for her when she’s done with the dishes. Even better, one can wash and the other can dry, and while you’re doing this assembly line, make conversation about the day’s events.
The idea is to enhance each other’s life. I’m not saying bribe the other person into doing anything, but incentives help at times. Doing things together helps build partnership. You may not like doing something by yourself, but not mind it as much doing it with your spouse. Your spouse may even be willing to do it for you.
3) Don’t be angry at each other for any length of time.
Anger is an emotion that can get a lot of things accomplished; it can also cause a world of damage if mismanaged. Your marriage will take a hit if an argument is about being “right.” I’m not a person who likes to argue to begin with, but if I must argue, I want to get to a resolution as soon as possible. If you often have arguments that end in a stalemate, leave the issue alone for a while and come back to it with a clear head. It’s dangerous when it gets to the point of strife or malicious talk or worse – silence.
Be sure to stay in communication if you ever do get angry with each other. The whole silent treatment thing isn’t always the best route. You may need to exercise it for a few minutes to gather yourself and talk with sense and composure, but it shouldn’t be days or weeks like that. When communication breaks down, so do marriages. Communication is what keeps anger in perspective; otherwise you’re left to your own thoughts and ideas, which in those moments aren’t usually the best ones.
4) When you have children, fight harder to have times for just the two of you.
I’m a witness – children are time-consuming. It’s a good time-consuming, but time-consuming nonetheless! Your children, especially when they’re young, need you for almost everything. The only problem is that so does your spouse. When you had children, that doesn’t mean your husband or wife can do certain things on their own now… if anything, now they need you that much more! In a season where your sex-life takes a hit, your communication-time takes a hit, your sleep takes a hit, your desire to work takes a hit, and for some your self-image takes a hit… you absolutely need to make sure you make time for your spouse.
I’m going to help someone with this statement – you made vows with your spouse, not with your children. You’re responsible for your children, but your spouse is a part of YOU! If you don’t make time for your spouse and give it all to your children, you’re actually hurting yourself! You won’t be much help to your children, and they won’t get a good model of marriage, if you’re not giving proper time to your spouse.
5) If you can, take a vacation every year – just the two of you.
I’m a witness that this is a necessity. You don’t even have to go far, or go away for long, but EVERY married couple… with or without children… needs to have a day or two or a week where they can just be a married couple. Not professionals, not parents, not helpers… just married people. Similar to how you were the days following your wedding. You didn’t have a care in the world, except getting acquainted with each other and spending time with each other.
Sit down every year, agree on a place to go, figure out how much it’ll cost to go there and set a plan to get there! Talk about it until the day you leave; it creates a sense of expectation, an expectation you both will share. Plan it together, set an itinerary, and contribute funds to it together. Be detailed about it if you can. If plans change, together find ways to make it work. Fight for your right to be together! Honeymoons don’t have to be a one-time experience, but it can be a consistent part of your lifelong marriage.
Honeymoon – definition from Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary