Friday, November 4, 2011

debunking the "honeymoon stage" myth

Jon and I had wonderful premarital counseling classes with Pastor Dan, the Pastor who married us. I am honestly so grateful for the counsel he provided as it really set the stage for our marriage. However, there are definitely misconceptions that many people are unaware of and I believe they need clarified for newlyweds, especially young couples.

We may have only been married 17 months so far, but we've probably fought more than some who have been married decades.

Getting married at 22 and 21 put Jon and I at a high risk of divorce. Luckily, we both entered into this union knowing divorce is not currently, nor will it ever be, on the table. The only things that would put it on the table would be extreme circumstances such as abuse or infidelity. Going into it with such a strong commitment to make things work are truly what got us through that first year. We were never of the concept that "if it takes so much work to just be happy then it's just not meant to be"--this is a relationship. Any relationship will take work.

Having said that, Jon and I fought at least once per week during the early months of our marriage. We had never lived together before we got married so we faced several huge adjustments. I'd be lying to you if I said never wondered what the heck I had gotten myself into or whether I could really do this forever. Jon and I were both lacking in the communication and selflessness departments and ended up seeking out Pastor Dan early this year to work through our issues. It was hands down the best decision we've made in our marriage to date.

Anyway, that brings me to the whole concept of the "honeymoon stage." The concept that the first year of marriage is blissful and naive is totally and completely false. I'm obviously generalizing here because I've talked to some friends who lived together before marriage and have already worked through a lot of the cohabitation issues prior to marriage, but in our experience, it was so not the case. In fact, the concept of the honeymoon stage is part of what made our fights seem so much worse.

Why are we fighting like this? We're supposed to be blissfully unaware of the commitment we've made. If it's this bad during our honeymoon stage, what does the non-honeymoon stage have in store for us?

Ugh. The pressure that placed on us. It seriously amplified every little disagreement in my mind to convince me our marriage was doomed. We gradually realized the concept of the honeymoon phase is totally false. It may be true on your honeymoon, or you may fight the fourth night of said honeymoon over something so trivial that you can't recall it. And then you might fight again three hours after you walk in your door from your honeymoon. Your call.

The moral of the story is, if you're a newlywed and you find yourself fighting constantly over the stupidest things (dishes, dirty underpants on the floor, where to get gas from) don't panic. This is a natural part of the transition. Give yourselves time, genuinely listen to your partner's needs, and seek counsel if it reaches that level. But don't let anyone belittle the struggles marriage will bring you and your spouse and write you off saying you're in the honeymoon phase. Just because you're newlyweds does not mean you're unaware of what a huge commitment marriage is. Also, don't give up on your marriage prematurely. When you finally do find your stride with your spouse you will discover what a rewarding, incredible institution marriage can be. You won't regret sticking around and working it out. I promise.


  1. Although my marriage isn't perfect, I learned early on that for marriage to have a chance at succeeding - both husband and wife need to always communicate their thoughts and concerns to their spouse in a loving manner. NEVER call the other a name... perhaps call their action a name (Not good: "YOU are so stupid for doing that." A little better: "What you did was not too swift.")

  2. I agree, the "honeymoon phase" is ridiculous. I think every month can have its honeymoon days and not-so-honeymoon days. I was 22 when I got married, and I have no regrets. I am glad that I met my husband when I did. I prefer waking up next to someone who is serious about me (as I am him), who I trust.

    1. Yes! I was almost 22 and I'm so happy we have been able to grow and lean on one another. But man - growing definitely has its pains! As long as we don't give up we figure it out eventually.