Updated: Oct 14, 2021
The only adventure bigger than travel is marriage, so what a combination it is to travel as newlyweds!
We’ve supposedly learnt enough about someone in the courting stage in order to choose them for a permanent role in our life. But they say you only really get to know someone once you’ve either travelled with them or lived with them.
One of the first things we do as soon as we get married is jet off to somewhere exotic with our newly acquired life partner; for our very first taste of living together while simultaneously travelling.
But the honeymoon is where we can either strengthen the marriage journey we’re embarking upon or face some real shockers and allow the first cracks to appear in the relationship.
Whichever way it goes, it’ll certainly add some flavour but perhaps through communicating, exploring each other with sincerity and learning from other people’s experiences we can choose which spices we taste.
Set the Tone
Oftentimes, we carry certain connotations with marriage that may alter its course from the getgo.
If we believe tying the knot makes us captive, then we approach every encounter in the relationship with a defensive lens and get triggered when hearing innocent questions or commentary.
If we go into marriage thinking it’s destined to be difficult, our demeanour will dampen the mood.
Reset any damaging beliefs you have from your previous experiences or what you’ve seen in the relationships around you. Those experiences don’t define yours.
You can build a strong foundation based on positive and empowering beliefs that will set the tone for the marriage.
The honeymoon is a unique time to truly live in your own bubble and tune out the rest of the world.
No to-do lists, no chores, no responsibilities and maybe the best part, nobody else to distract you from each other. This is the perfect opportunity to focus deeply on each other, getting to know yourself in the process, and transition into the role of being a couple.
And it doesn’t have to be the only time your marriage is fun and exciting. Set the intention to create the same fire and close bond throughout the journey ahead. Use this time to get clear on what you both consider to be your core values as individuals and as a couple and base your relationship on these values from the very beginning.
Start as you wish to go on.
Facing new scenarios
The honeymoon, just like all travel, challenges you by putting you in situations you wouldn’t normally face in your day-to-day life. You only have yourself, whatever you’ve chosen to pack with you, a handful of foreign words, and if you’re anything like me - no sense of direction either. But with these limited resources, you figure it out. This is exactly what develops your creativity and expands your problem-solving skills.
In a similar fashion, you may face sticky situations with your new partner, particularly in a new setting, in another country, far from familiarity and comfort, far from everyone you know.
Once again, you only have yourself, the temperament and disposition you have moulded yourself into up until this moment. But this time, you face clashes and external battles alongside the person you’ve chosen to marry. More often than not, these can highlight your triggers, your fears and insecurities, and perhaps parts of your character that need evolving. But they’re all opportunities for you to grow together.
Planning versus spontaneity
While she may love to plan a full 24-hour itinerary, he might wish to go with the flow and see where it takes him. Each half of the couple may have completely different approaches on how they wish to enjoy the honeymoon and plan (or not plan) their lives ahead too.
Here is where you can learn to cater for each other’s preferences and find a system that works for you without hitting the same hurdles time and time again throughout your life journey. Perhaps finding a balanced combination of both approaches will enrich both of your experiences.
Travelling with another is a good way to learn how to compromise. While travelling solo is a lot of fun and is designed to fit our schedule and our schedule alone, in reality, and certainly in a marriage between two souls, two lives, and two paths merging, we won’t always get exactly what we want. And that’s not a bad thing. But the way we manage it can be.
Travel can be used as a light-hearted way of getting the good practice you need on compromising and working around each other’s attitudes and perspectives. It can later help you navigate your future, more difficult standpoints that life will naturally bring.
Talk about intimacy
While being an important part of a relationship, many couples enter marriage without ever talking about intimacy.
Discussing preferences, fears and dislikes shouldn’t be taboo. Physical closeness is a natural human need and it creates a stronger emotional connection. After marriage it’s also akin to an act of worship, so talking openly about this topic will allow ease in creating a healthy life together.
Even the Sahabas, companions of the Prophet pbuh were surprised to learn that you indeed get blessings from Allah swt for engaging in this intimate act as narrated in the following Hadith:
They said, “O Messenger of Allah, if one of us fulfils his desire, is there reward in that?” He said, “Do you not see that if he does it in a haraam way he will have the burden of sin? So if he does it in a halaal way, he will have a reward for that.” (Narrated by Muslim, 1674)
You can have an honest and open space for it whilst still keeping it a private matter. Talk about your expectations both during the honeymoon and beyond and you’ll both feel more secure and optimistic for your future.
Respect differences of opinions
There’s more than one way to skin a cat. That’s not the most pleasant imagery, but it sure isn’t comfortable seeing your ‘forever person’ have completely different views, opinions, and ways of doing things. In some cases, it can cause serious rifts and even contempt.
Creating a healthy marriage doesn’t come from agreeing on everything but rather from learning how to manage the differences.
Respect that you are two separate individuals who have been on very different paths. With that come deeply ingrained beliefs which may never change.
When the other isn’t being affected or hurt by the ‘difference’ then acceptance is usually all that’s needed. If there are fundamental differences (refer back to your core values), these are much more difficult to negotiate.
Both parties should truly try to understand and get insight from the other person instead of immediately closing off, then compromise and sacrifice equally where necessary, finding an equilibrium that’s reasonable to both.
You’d be surprised how easy it is to end up on opposite sides of the world, metaphorically and literally because of poor communication.
In fact, sometimes we can argue with someone for hours, both increasing in frustration and hurt only to find we had been on the same side of the argument the whole time but just hadn’t realised.
With all the flying accusations and criticisms, the true point of the conversation gets completely lost.
“Good communication is the bridge between confusion and clarity”
- Nat Turner
Learn the art of conversation.
Use ‘I’ statements instead of the accusatory ‘you’.
Give each other space in the more heated moments.
Express gratitude towards one another.
Try to hear and understand what’s not being said.
Discover your love languages
We all want love but we receive love in different ways.
Gary Chapman, author of the ‘5 Love Languages’ developed the idea that love can be expressed in five ways:
Words of affirmation
Acts of service
He explains that if we don’t speak a person’s primary love language, they won’t feel loved even though we may be speaking the other four.
You can cook for someone, fill their car up with petrol, iron their clothes and dote on them all day but they’re not responding to you. You feel you’re giving them so much love and putting in so much effort but it’s not being appreciated. This may be because ‘acts of service’ is your love language, not theirs. All they wanted was to eat dinner together and talk (quality time). Speak their language instead, understand their true needs and you’ll spark intimacy and connection between you.
We all have a combination of the five but there will be one or two more dominant ‘love languages’. Discover them together as a couple at the start of your relationship and learn how to love each other and be able to reciprocate in each other’s languages.
Travel is the perfect break that helps us rise above the mundane and the responsibilities that overwhelm us and sometimes take a toll on our relationship.
It reminds us of what’s most important to us and of our highest purpose to travel on the beautifully designed Path to Allah (swt).
Actively choose to travel periodically to connect to your soul and your Creator, the ultimate source of invigoration and love that encourages you to be a better person, for yourself first and naturally for your partner too.
Embrace it and take flight together.