My Marriage Survived “The Honeymoon Stage”


Typically when a new couple is going to be wed or soon after, several older, wiser married couples will drop the phrase “Aw, enjoy this, it’s the Honeymoon Stage”. I understand their “knowing looks” and appreciate the fact that they’re telling us to enjoy the first couple months or years before things get really hard, but I look back and think my Honeymoon Stage was the worst, most challenging part of my marriage thus far, and could not be more relieved when it was over.

My husband Drew and I grew up together and had dated ever since high school. Once we both graduated from college, Drew proposed and then decided to…enlist in the Navy. It was nearly impossible to try and set a date around his training schedule and made all the huge details like booking a venue and ordering invitations quite frustrating to accomplish.

I was home for Thanksgiving break when Drew called me, and what came out of his mouth changed the course of the rest of our lives. He told me that we would have to get married over Christmas break or wait at least 8 months until he was done with training. I enthusiastically informed Drew that Christmas break was FOUR WEEKS from now, and that I was in an intense, full-time graduate program two hours away from where we would be planning our wedding! The reality of our situation began to sink in, and we decided right then and there…two days after Christmas was when we would have to get married. Drew’s family and mine were wonderful in helping us make quick decisions in making a wedding happen in just four week’s time. All too quickly, December 27th came around and our close family and friends were able to witness our union as husband and wife.

Nine months later, I graduated from school, had packed all our belongings and was on the 2200 mile drive to California to finally live under the same roof as my husband for the first time. The transition period of getting used to living with this man in a completely new place I’d never been before was more challenging than I ever expected.

In our brand new marriage we faced:

• Living thousands of miles apart for the first nine months
• Being the most sick we had ever been on our wedding day and short honeymoon
• The sudden, traumatic death of our beloved Newfoundland dog
• The moving company taking 4 weeks to move everything we had from IL to CA. (Until they did, we had no furniture, one frying pan, and an air mattress)
• Living in the most beautiful, but expensive place in the USA while I was unable to find work for almost 3 months
• Being terrified of how we were going to make ends meet with each passing day
• Drew starting a language program that was so intense, it nearly drove him crazy with stress and lack of sleep for a solid year
• Having no friends or familiarity in this new place together

However, Drew and I learned that through pain comes growth and beauty. With those hard times we found that we had very little of our own comforts to rely on (money, vocation, family, material belongings) and had to look inward for the strength God so richly provides and figure out how we do this life together. Four years later, we look back and shudder a bit on our Honeymoon Stage, and appreciate how much better things are now. So, hopefully, someday we’ll be one of those knowing, wise couples who says to the newly weds, “Honeymoon Stage? Once you get past that short time period, then life really gets fun.” I’ll give a wink, smile, and maybe a bottle of wine to help them get through it!

-Christen Vermeulen


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