When we first got married, people often told me, “Enjoy the honeymoon phase while it lasts!”
I used to find it so discouraging and I could never understand why people felt the need to tell me this. On top of painting a dreaded pictured of the horror that was supposedly coming down the road, it also made me feel like I was missing something wonderful at the moment. I didn’t start my marriage with the supposedly “honeymoon phase”. We must have missed checking the box for that on our gift registry! We started our marriage in a “grieving phase” having just lost Vitaliy’s parents and little brother in a car accident. We also started with a “parenting phase” as we had just become legal guardians of his 15 year old sister. We lived in a new place, with no family nearby and friends we had only just made. There was nothing “honeymoon” about our life. But it was our life and it was a beautiful mess.
I’m now entering a new chapter of my life and I’ve found that there is a dreaded saying for this chapter too, “Oh, just wait…” You fill in the blank. I’ve lost count with all the ways people have told me my life is about to change…for the bad. And as quickly as they realize what they’ve said, they end it with, but it’s the best thing you’ll ever do in your whole life. I don’t doubt that there is truth to what they say and I’m sure their intentions are not malicious. But I’m always left just as confused as I was after I got married wondering how these things are helpful.
I called my mom crying one afternoon completely distraught after having yet another conversation filled with a string of “Oh, just waits”. Walking into motherhood is overwhelming enough, I don’t need someone forewarning me of all the difficulties that lie ahead. I will soon discover them on my own and figure them out for myself. My mother told me that life would change and some of those changes will be difficult, but it’s just like anything else in life, it’s what you want to make of it.
As soon as she said this, I was reminded of all the “honeymoon phase” warnings. Though they affected me, I didn’t allow them to define my own marriage. And as I work through my own fears of the future, I’m reminding myself of this yet again. Life is what you make of it! We were dealt a very difficult hand to begin our marriage, but we made beautiful things out of our mess. By God’s grace. And as my future fills with sleepless nights and poopy diapers and who knows what else, I’m trusting in that same grace to see me through life’s beautiful messes that lie ahead.
If you are single, quiet the voices telling you that marriage is everything or that marriage is bad. Neither is true. If you are newly married, quiet the voices that tell you to “Enjoy the honeymoon phase while it lasts!” Marriage is a personal journey and yours won’t look like anybody else’s. It will be filled with both beauty and mire, joy and pain, and all of it is worth walking through together. And if you are like me, about to embark on the road of parenthood, let’s quiet all those voices that cause us to fear and take it one day at a time. One moment at a time. Because that’s how life was designed to be walked through anyway.