The morning following our wedding, my husband and I went to Sunday Mass, ate breakfast at a diner where we were given a free piece of pie, and spent the next eight hours in the car en route to Wilmington, North Carolina. We spent the next week exploring the gardens, downtown, and beaches of this beautiful seaside town. Its small-city feel, with its mix of opportunities for culture and relaxation, suited us perfectly. Simplicity.
Before marriage, I’d listened with awe to my friends’ stories of running through the streets of Rome in wedding attire, eager to get a good spot in the sposi novelli section of the Pope’s weekly audience. Their trips sounded amazing, yet I knew that immediately following our wedding, time and budget constraints would mean a Roman honeymoon just wasn’t a possibility for us. I felt at peace with this fact and, moreover, was excited for a slower-paced trip that I knew suited our temperaments.
Even in the absence of international travel and a papal blessing, though, my husband and I talked about maintaining a disposition to prayer on our first-ever trip together. If you and your spouse-to-be are among those graced with the opportunity for a honeymoon in Rome, it will surely bear fruit in your new marriage. Yet it would be a misperception to believe Rome and the Vatican are the only locations where you can enjoy your first days as husband and wife in a deeply spiritual way.
If your honeymoon plans are stateside or if you’ve chosen another country or type of trip for your getaway, know that your choice is an equally worthy one and that it’s possible to have a prayerful, intentional honeymoon no matter where in the world you and your beloved are.
Here, our recommendations for bathing your honeymoon in a spirit of prayer.
Chase the Eucharist.
Commit to daily Mass, or even a daily holy hour, for the duration of your honeymoon. Depending on your destination, you might make one parish your home base, or prefer to explore different churches in the area. The Mass Times app is a valuable tool for finding Masses and Adoration, even internationally, and might surprise you with new--or old favorite--saints to whom you can pray in a particular way. The parish my husband and I frequented during our time in Wilmington was named for Saint Therese, whose intercession played a major role in our relationship. Coincidence?
Read a spiritual book together.
Diving into new-to-you reading during this sacred time, like Elise and her husband did, offers not only material for contemplation, but an experience to remember your trip by and refer back to in the future. See recommendations from us and some of our brides here.
Develop a prayer routine.
Newlywed life, particularly on your honeymoon, offers significantly more time together than you’ve had in the past, including time for prayer first thing in the morning and last thing before bed. Use these first days of your marriage to expand upon the prayer rituals you employed while dating and engaged, or create a routine for the first time. Rest, however, in the fact that there’s no pressure to have everything figured out by the time you head home. Developing a spiritual intimacy takes time, and the Church offers such depth and richness of options that suit you and your spouse, ranging from rote prayers and devotions, spontaneous prayer, lectio divina, music, and the Divine Office.
Consider a mission statement for your marriage.
This might sound official, but it doesn’t have to be! Men and women called to marriage are tasked with the mission of bearing Christ’s love to the world through their love for each other and, God willing, for their children. Taking time to converse about your hopes for your life together and ways you’ll live out your particular call to marriage can act as a touchstone for your vocation: principles to live by, words to turn to during dry or difficult seasons, and a succinct reminder of your path to heaven. A mission statement for your marriage puts into words the universal truth of the married vocation, in a way specific to you and your beloved. You might write your own statement, or you might turn to a particular word that arises in your hearts or a quote from Scripture or a saint.
I have to admit that my husband and I have never officially done this ourselves, but over time, there have been two quotes we’ve consistently turned to that express our relationship; ones that encapsulate the standards we strive to hold ourselves to in our marriage. One is “freedom exists for the sake of love,” from the old translation of Saint John Paul II’s Love and Responsibility, and the other is Saint Teresa of Calcutta’s exhortation that each of us “be the one” to quench the thirst of Jesus on the Cross, in the form of daily acts of love and prayer.
We love hearing about your own journeys and the ways, small and large, you enrich your spiritual life with your spouse. If there are practices that helped you look to Christ on your own honeymoon, be sure to share them in the comments and on our social media.