Plan the Honeymoon of Your Dreams
- Monday, June 11, 2007
There’s much more to do beyond just booking reservations for the trip, because your honeymoon isn’t just a vacation – it’s a critical time that lays the foundation for your new life as a married couple.
Here’s how you can plan the honeymoon of your dreams:
Deal with tough issues ahead of time. Discuss issues like money, in-laws and the division of household chores well before your honeymoon so they don’t surprise you by popping up during your conversations on the trip, turning into arguments, and ruining your honeymoon. Make sure you and your future spouse take a premarital inventory test that reveals valuable information about your personalities and helps you understand each other better. Go through premarital counseling from the pastor who will marry you, or another trusted source. Learn about each other’s finances, and meet with a financial counselor to discuss how best to merge your finances after you’re married. Find a couple (perhaps through your church) you admire who have been married a long time and are willing to mentor you and your new spouse.
Save sex for later. If you’ve kept your relationship sexually pure throughout your engagement, keep up the great work and continue to wait until after your wedding to consummate your marriage. If you’ve already had sex, stop doing so and commit to being chaste until you’re married. Understand that it’s crucial to wait until you’re married to have sex for many reasons, such as being faithful to God’s design for marriage, developing the self-control you each need to be faithful after you’re married, building trust in your relationship, and making sure your relationship is truly based on love instead of just on lust.
Know that research shows religious married couples have the best sex lives – by far – of any other types of couples, in terms of frequency, satisfaction, fun, and duration of their sex lives together. Realize that research shows that living together before marriage dramatically harms couples’ relationships and makes them statistically far more likely to either break up before marriage or divorce after marriage than couples who choose not to live together before they get married. Recognize that it’s worth it to save sex for after you’re married. Abstain from all types of sexual activity until you’re married. Ask God to help both you and your future spouse keep your thoughts pure and control your media habits so you don’t fall prey to temptation to have premarital sex.
If you’re having trouble remaining pure and are facing a long engagement, consider moving up your wedding date so you can get married sooner. Remember that your sexual purity is more important than a fancy ceremony. Talk with your future spouse openly and honestly about whatever fears you each have about your sex life together, and pray for God to help you overcome each one. Pursue healing from God for any painful sexual issues from in your past, such as sexual assault, promiscuity, immorality, fornication, pornography, and sexual abuse. Enlist help from a professional counselor or clergy person if you need it. If either you or your future spouse has had any prior sexual relationships with other people, be sure to get a thorough medical exam and tests to check for sexually transmitted diseases. Share the test results completely with each other; never hide crucial health information. Pray for God to help you forgive each other for past mistakes and not carry bitterness and anger that can poison your relationship over into your marriage. Discuss your family planning options thoroughly and think and pray carefully about which option is best for you and your future spouse.
Get your health in order. Don’t let physical exhaustion ruin your honeymoon. Develop healthy habits during your engagement that will set a strong foundation for your marriage, as well as give you stamina during your honeymoon. Eat healthy foods. Get plenty of sleep and exercise. Schedule regular medical checkups. If you smoke, quit. Update your immunizations. Plan to deal with special health concerns that relate to your specific honeymoon destination, such as altitude sickness, malaria prevention, seasickness, water and diving safety, jet lag, and sun and heat safety. Talk with your future spouse about what health goals you each have, and how you can best help each other reach those goals.
Make travel plans wisely. Keep your honeymoon simple so you’ll have a minimum amount of potential complications and can relax and focus on each other as much as possible. Don’t strive for the most exotic location, the most extravagant vacation package, or the most packed itinerary. Instead, plan for a trip that allows you plenty of quiet and privacy, allows you to get to your destination without hassles and stay there for the whole trip, and features activities you and your future spouse both enjoy while also providing the downtime you’ll need to relax together. Remember that you’ll have plenty of time later for fancy vacations, but your honeymoon will help you get your marriage started best if it’s simple. Don’t go into debt for your honeymoon; make sure your trip is affordable. Instead of leaving for your honeymoon right after your wedding, consider giving yourselves at least several days to rest at home and recover from the stress of your wedding and reception before taking a trip. Consider spending some downtime between your wedding and honeymoon with close family and friends who will support you as a married couple. But don’t bring anyone along with you on your honeymoon; focus on each other alone, without distractions from others.
Pack a honeymoon kit. Include first aid items (like pain relievers, upset stomach relief, multivitamins, cold relief, and band-aids), prescriptions that either of you take, female health items, and items to help set a romantic mood (like love letters to each other, a book of poetry, candles, lotions, massage oils, and bubble bath liquid).
Celebrate intimacy together. Relax when it comes time to consummate your marriage. Take the pressure off yourselves to perform sexually in a certain way; understand that it will likely take some time to get to know how to best please each other. Expect your sex life to get better as you grow in your marriage. Talk openly and honestly about each other’s sexual concerns and desires, and be sensitive to that information. Know that it’s common for couples to vary on the frequency that they each desire sex. Don’t pressure or rush each other. Instead of focusing on your own needs, focus on what your spouse needs and ask him or her to do the same. Do your best to meet each other’s needs and expect everything to work out fine in the process. Keep sex in perspective, realizing that you can (and should) bond on your honeymoon in non-sexual ways as well. Plan to talk, pray, eat, laugh, etc. together as well, to build intimacy.
Start sharing daily devotional time as a couple. Use your honeymoon to begin the habit of praying together every day (if you’re not doing so already). Bring along a couple’s devotional book that you can continue after your honeymoon. Consider celebrating Communion together to share even more spiritual intimacy.
Adapted from The Honeymoon of Your Dreams, copyright 2007 by Walt Larimore, M.D. and Susan A. Crockett, M.D. Published by Regal Books, a division of Gospel Light,Ventura, Ca., http://www.regalbooks.com/.
Walt Larimore, M.D. is one of America's best-known family physicians and is listed in the Best Doctors in America and Who's Who in Medicine and Healthcare. He received his MD from Louisiana State University School of Medicine and his Family Medicine and Sports Medicine residency at Duke University Medical Center. After practicing medicine for more than 20 years, he turned his attention to medical journalism. A nationally known television journalist who hosted Fox's Health Network program, Ask the Family Doctor, Dr. Larimore has been a guest on television programs such as The Today Show, and CBS's Morning Show. He is the author of several previous books, including Alternative Medicine and Going Public with Your Faith. He has been married to his childhood sweetheart, Barb, for more than 30 years and has two adult children. Susan A. Crockett, M.D. is a nationally recognized board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist who spent several years in private practice preparing patients for the honeymoon and marriage. Dr. Crockett received her medical degree from Texas A&M University and her residency training in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Georgetown University Hospital. She is the founder of MediHOME, Inc., a medical management company providing services for the underserved and poor and Medical Home Builders, dedicated to planting medical homes for primary care in underserved communities. She and her husband Dale have four children and reside in San Antonio, Texas.
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