Separate Honeymoons Are Now A Thing. Am I The Only One Who Thinks That's Bonkers?
There are three things that stand out when I think back to my honeymoon.
I got incredibly sunburned (a terrible start to any holiday, least of all the one celebrating your marriage); I bumped into my father’s friend at the hotel dessert buffet and he dropped his jelly on the carpet, bent down, picked it up between his fingers, put it on his plate and ate a spoonful all while saying hello.
I’m not sure if I was more impressed by his dexterity or put off by the fact that he was eating carpet fibres with his jelly.
But the third thing I remember is the feeling of breathing again after the lead up to the wedding. That feeling of relief that the wedding planning was over and now my life with the man I love was about to start.
It’s been 28 years since that trip and we’ve been lucky enough to have had many more holidays together. Sometimes just the two of us, some with family, some with friends and many with our son. But none of them has been as celebratory as our honeymoon -- although our 25th wedding anniversary in Vegas and my 50th in Iceland came pretty close.
The term 'honeymoon' comes from the old English words 'hony' and 'moone'. 'Hony' being the old English word for honey, denoting sweetness, and 'moone' referring to a period of time. While we may see the idea of a honeymoon as a romantic getaway, it was first used as a 'warning' that the sweetness of marriage only lasts a short time -- a moon. But with the passing of time and the common usage of the word to denote that special 'couple time' after a wedding, the term 'honeymoon' has become synonymous with romance, sunsets, champagne and let's be honest, a lot of sex.
But now it seems that the honeymoon is passé. Maybe I was being cynical and old-fashioned when I actually tutted out loud as I read about the rise of the 'solomoon,' where couples separate for a holiday after their wedding. My jaw dropped when I looked through the Instagram hashtag and saw it was a real “thing”.
According to a report in The New York Times , more and more newlyweds are choosing to holiday alone after their wedding day. The article cites the example of a couple who wanted to go to different destinations; another couple where the groom wanted to attend a soccer match and his wife realised she would not be the best companion and a third where the couple tacked on their own holidays to work trips.
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The articles explains, “After their wedding in December 2011, William Powers, 48, and his wife, Melissa Crane Powers, a 41-year-old international development consultant, took separate honeymoons that they tacked onto post-wedding work trips. He went to Paris and she to the Dominican Republic. Mr Powers, an author and senior fellow with the World Policy Institute, walked past the Eiffel Tower sans his new bride, and when he phoned her, feeling romantic, she was busy in a meeting.”
I am no relationship expert, although I have navigated 28 years of marriage quite well, but I can’t help thinking that if you can’t compromise or come to some agreement on a shared holiday at the start of your married life it does not bode particularly well for future negotiations. Of which there will be many.
There’s also the whole concept of not wanting to celebrate together. I understand the desire to maintain independence in the relationship, in fact I applaud it, but there are hundreds of opportunities in the length of a marriage to commit to your independence. Surely the first step of your married life is not one of those times.
Helen Fisher, a senior research fellow at the Kinsey Institute, explained to The New York Times that when couples take holidays together, they can trigger all three brain systems: romantic love (which stimulates your dopamine system), feelings of deep attachment (orgasm boosts your oxytocin levels which are linked with attachment) and sex drive .
“Perhaps I’m old-fashioned, but I think [the occasion] should be marked,” she said.
“You are at a new stage in your life when you marry, and you are missing out on triggering the three most valuable brain systems for a lasting relationship.”
It should probably also be pointed out that you don’t actually have to have a holiday just because you got married. Either alone or together. It’s not a right, it’s just a custom to get to know the fleeting sweetness of a new relationship.
Maybe wedding planning has gone to such extremes that couples need to get away from each other after all that tight planning, financial layout and family squabbling, and to that I say let’s place more emphasis on the marriage and less on the wedding planning.
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The wedding is one day, the honeymoon is one holiday but the marriage should be forever.
I’m grateful my husband and I can still laugh about the jelly, complain about my sunburn and look back at the young couple we were with awe and fondness. We had a holiday that laid the foundations for our life together -- a lot of laughter, some complaints and a lot of love.