I learned the most amazing and important things on my honeymoon.
Wow. I can't believe it's been 14 years since I met my husband. That's a long time by today's standards, and although I wish it wasn't so, it is a fact that marriages in the USA have over a 50% failure rate. But, one thing that stands out in my mind is how our honeymoon taught me something I didn't realize before, something that being disconnected from the rest of the world really brought to light. Therefore, I wanted to write a little about our honeymoon and what made it so great.
We didn't have any money for a real honeymoon. We were both single parents and had a great deal of obligations and demanding careers. We planned a small service at Edward's Mansion in Redlands with only some direct family attending. Little did I know that when I brought up my wedding to my boss he would be really shocked. "Wedding? Oh no!" he said. "We have a conference to attend in Italy that week and you need to be there. Just bring him." Being the wonderful boss that he was, he had no objection to me bringing along my new husband.
We were moving to Atlanta, Georgia directly after our ceremony, which meant we had the U-Haul trailer hitched to the back of my truck to take off right after we got "hitched." I would be working from an office in Atlanta, and my husband already lived there. We drove to Blythe, where we stopped at a truck stop for our wedding night. Then we drove straight through to Atlanta, non-stop. We made it in 42 hours.
During the trip I realized two things as a newlywed: First, I could talk all day and night with this man. It seemed we had tons to talk about. Second, we trusted each other's driving skills. This was the first of many discoveries on my honeymoon.
We arrived in Atlanta and had 6 hours to unload the U-Haul, pack, and catch a flight that night to Europe. After making wild passionate love, we clonked out for an hour, then hurried to shower and get ready for our flight.
To say Venice is amazing is an understatement. During that time of year, the spring, it's extraordinarily beautiful. We arrived at the airport which was basically on the water, and we had several options to get to the ancient city of Venice. We could take a water bus, a water taxi, or swing around inland over a land bridge on a regular bus. We opted for the water taxi, which was, essentially, a speed boat. It bobbed quickly up and down the waves for about 10 minutes of excitement until we reached Venice. As the water sprayed on my face, the morning sun made Venice look like a city of the Gods.
We toured the usual spots, and ate the most delicious food I have ever enjoyed in my life. But what I really learned was that, to me, the secret to Venice was it's feeling of permanency. So many things in our lives are temporary—our houses are built to last about 50 years, old buildings in our neighborhoods are torn down to make way for new malls and housing developments, children grow up seeing new partners come and go into their parent's lives, sometimes moving cross country for a job offer.
In Venice, I felt I could touch and feel the past. I felt the spirit of Marco Polo docking into the port and bringing his "pasta" back from China. I could feel the holiness of millions of hours of prayer inside Saint Marc's Cathedral. I was inside buildings that belonged to the same family for 500 years. How wonderful to offer your kids a place to call home, a place of comfort and memories for their whole lives; and not just their lives, but their children's lives, and their grandchildren's lives.
In Venice, and during my whole stay in Italy, I realized how the culture is in love with romance. Everything is made to enhance the beauty of life, love, romance, art, and music. Venetians celebrate in gratitude for being Venetians. Maybe we are all in search of something that can be our security, our permanence; something or someone we can count on until the day we die; something that won't change, so that when we experience it, it brings memories of love, peace, comfort and belonging.
Honeymoons were traditionally for a couple to get to know each other, especially in cases of arranged marriages. Although most couples think they know each other, it takes at least five days away from all comfort zones, and no cell phone or Internet, to really "connect."
So what is sacred to you two? Make sure you take that "totally" alone time to define it on your honeymoon. And for Pete's sake, keep your cellphones off all day.