The Marital Blues | Navigating the Unexpected Emotions of Transitioning into Newlywed Life

MARIAH MAZA

 

I got married on a warm, sunny December day in the desert of Arizona. It was a day I had spent the better part of a decade waiting for.

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My fiance and I were high school sweethearts, so we had known each other for over seven years by the time we walked down the aisle. We spent the last three years going to college two hours apart, meaning I only saw him every couple weeks. It also meant I spent most of our engagement and wedding planning without him.

To say my heart desired for the day when we could finally go home together, and not face one more tear-filled goodbye as I watched his Chevy truck fade into the distance again, was an understatement.

Now, looking back on our wedding pictures fills my heart with joy every time. We were both beaming with excitement and anticipation, and our families rejoiced with us.

During the quiet minutes in the car between our nuptial Mass and reception, I remember watching my new husband’s face behind the wheel.

He was quiet, in the way one is quiet when contemplating a new and profound mystery.

I was his wife. He was my husband. These were realities we had only dreamed or joked about for seven years. In our minds, we had moved from forty years in the desert into the Promised Land. The veil of the married life had begun to lift. All was celebration, community, and grace.

Two days after the wedding, on New Year’s Day, we packed up the rest of our things and drove two hours north where my husband was still finishing school. I looked at our tiny one-bedroom apartment like it was a castle, and we were the king and queen of our little kingdom.

Most importantly, it was ours. I could tell him “let’s go home” if we were out at the store, and “home” was finally the same place. “Goodbye” meant he would be back later that evening, after school. “Goodnight” was something I whispered to him laying beside me in our bed. It was everything I had wanted for so long, and I was happy.

That’s why the sudden mood swings hit me so hard.

After a week or so, I started crying. A lot. I cried everyday, and I couldn’t figure out how to tell my husband “why” in coherent words. I was just sad. For no reason. Life suddenly felt pointless. The motivation to do anything seemed to be gone--even after four intense, hard-working college years.

I was a bad wife because I wasn’t joyful anymore. At least, that’s what I told myself.

Something was wrong with me, and my poor spouse didn’t know how to help. Newlywed life was supposed to be the land of happiness, and I felt miserable.

On top of my unexplained crying fits, the crosses of marriage started to slowly appear. I realized how easily I was provoked, how little I actually desired to sacrifice out of love for my husband, and how often I snapped at him because of the smallest annoyances.

Little conflicts over little things pierced my already hurting heart, and the differences in our personalities and habits reared their ugly heads. Even seven years of dating had not perfectly prepared me for living with this other person.

It wasn’t until I desperately opened up to a friend over the phone that I started to understand my own feelings. I had just graduated, just quit my job, just moved away, and just left the single life behind.

In almost every way, my life had just changed in exciting, sacramental, and good ways, and yet it was overwhelming.

Where had all this free time suddenly come from? I was used to barely keeping my head above water on a full-time school and part-time job schedule, not to mention clubs and a social life.

Where were all my friends? I was used to living in a townhouse with five other women, going to sorority events, and being surrounded by thousands of people every day at Arizona State University.

What was I doing? I had no job for the first time in four years and no school for the first time in sixteen years.

Now I was finally able to begin to articulate to my husband why I was acting so strange, and that it wasn’t because I was upset we had gotten married! In fact, our marriage was something profoundly beautiful to me, and I loved being a wife to a loving spouse.

I was never diagnosed with depression, but I know that a lot of what I felt was a deep emotional reaction to the immense change that had uprooted my life and ripped away my old “normal.” It was a jolt that sent me, finally, to my knees. “God,” I prayed (more than once), “I give you everything. My marriage, my future, and my life. I can’t do this. I’m too weak.”

After few more rough weeks, I began to slowly emerge from that dark tunnel into a brighter world. I realized that, with God’s guidance and strength, this new chapter was mine to make, almost from scratch.

For hours at a time, I jumped headfirst into a job search and ended up being connected with two wonderful families who needed a nanny and a tutor. I started volunteering at the local pro-life pregnancy resource center and made close friendships with all the other volunteers there. Once a week, I scheduled a phone call with my best friends so we could keep in touch. I explored the local library and checked out books I wanted to read. My husband and I found a new home at the local Catholic parish (where he had been confirmed only a year before!) and committed together to one Adoration hour there a week.

Week by week, I was crying less and less. The depressive states didn’t occur as often, and I felt a new sense of purpose awakening in my heart. My past was gone, but not dead. My family, close friends, and college experiences continued to shape my new life, and I began to see God’s miraculous hand in every new opportunity that presented itself.

It was a hand that had been there even in those darkest first weeks, carrying me.

It took three good months to truly begin to feel like I had my feet underneath me again. That was nine months ago. By God’s patient grace and mercy, I’m thriving. I love being married, and I love my husband.

There are hard days and new challenges constantly thrust upon me, but thus is the Christian life:

"Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed."

St. Peter tells us not to be surprised when suffering and persecution come our way. I, mistakenly, did not expect the darkness, as if the devil would not eagerly attack the holy institution of marriage, the foundation of our society. And I felt alone in it.

But we are not alone in our darkness.

Change, even positive change like marriage, knocked me off my feet. I didn’t think it was normal to mourn big changes, even the happy ones.

Just remember to kneel when you are knocked down.

Find a crucifix, the epitome of suffering love, lay it all at His feet, and trust. Talk to your spouse, call a friend, seek therapy if necessary, or walk outside into the sunlight and breathe. And pray. Always pray.

Because the newlywed life is beautiful and the sacramental graces innumerable.

In my twelve short months of marriage, I have already had to learn this, and learned to believe that it is a true reality, not just a pretty phrase. Fifty years from now (God-willing), I still plan on calling upon the bottomless ocean of marital graces we received one day last December to carry us through hard times.

And God wants us, his children, to ask for a lot. To depend wholly on him in childlike trust. He is the Cheerful Giver.

Since I am still a newlywed myself, I am still learning what it means to be a daughter of the King and a wife to my husband. Still learning to let go and let God. To other young brides out there, be not afraid. There is profound joy in your new vocation. And should the darkness come, you are not alone.

You are deeply loved, He has a plan for your life, and there is redemption in our suffering in the shadow of the Cross.



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About the Author: Mariah Maza is Spoken Bride’s Features Editor. She is the co-founder of Joans in the Desert, a blog for bookish military wives. Read more

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Let Something New Pursue Your Heart This Year.

STEPHANIE CALIS

 

You know the ones. The quotable movie lines, the Top 40 songs, the recent Apple launches you’re vaguely aware of and just nod along with when they come up, never having exactly experienced them yourself. Does this ever happen in your spiritual life, as well--a feeling that one day you should get around to a deeper look at some of the Church’s rich offerings you’ve only ever sort of known about?

As this new year unfolds, this opportunity to encounter the Lord in a new way, I encourage you to dive into a piece of spiritual reading or the life a particular saint, perhaps one you’ve long intended to get acquainted with, and let it lead your heart where it will.

Photography:    Zélie Veils

Photography: Zélie Veils

For me, this happened with the writings of John Paul II. Growing up, I loved the idea of love, thanks to a steady diet of Disney magic and romantic comedies. My high school youth minister occasionally mentioned the Theology of the Body and its powerful message, yet I put away the basic catechesis on a mental shelf, not considering it compelling or relevant to my current life.

Fast forward to college, and I realized my younger self’s concept of romance was little more than infatuation when compared to what it could really be. Saint Pope John Paul II introduced me to another view, and I fell in love with love for real.

Along with my boyfriend at the time, I attended a summer retreat in Allenspark, Colorado, where the Pope stayed when he came to Denver for World Youth Day in 1993. On the outside, much about our relationship looked happy and holy. Yet my heart had never experienced deeper unrest, in everything from physical boundaries to problem-solving to the voice I could never quite silence; the one that questioned whether even sacrificial love should feel like a constant weight.

That relationship wasn’t meant to be, but I’m certain the Father’s hand led me to that holy ground in the Rockies. There, I was introduced for the first time to Love and Responsibility, the book on sexual ethics and human dignity that John Paul wrote during his years as a cardinal. The person, he wrote, is meant to be loved, and things are meant to be used, yet so often we get it backwards. His observations on romance, sacrifice, and the ways we stumble in them were like reading a narrative of my relationship.  As I came to see it was built on sand, I grew aware of a hunger, an ache, I hadn’t even realized dwelled in my soul. It was a longing for authentic love, rooted in truth.

Months passed before I had the courage to end that relationship. All the while, though, I just couldn’t--and didn’t--want to put out that fire the Pope had lit in my heart. I started reading all I could about his take on love, sexuality, and chastity. It felt like putting on glasses I hadn’t known I needed. Here were the eternal, ancient truths of the Church, spoken in a language so immediate and insistent, so suited to the current culture and my own life. In my relationship, I’d been hiding so much from myself, my friends, and God. I was ready to become more fully alive; to take off the masks. One of JPII’s personal mottos, duc in altum, calls upon Jesus’ exhortation to “put out into the deep.”

A few years later, recently engaged, I found myself on a Theology of the Body retreat with my coworkers. I was familiar with the Pope’s series of audiences on creation, salvation, and the nuptial intimacy found in each vocation from a college study group, but had never delved deeply in.

For the second time in my life, everything I thought I knew about love fell away, replaced with John Paul’s blazingly beautiful vision of the human person; of love as a complete and unrestrained gift of self. His words were literally life-giving, and awakened in me a desire to live out that self-gift in all of my relationships, most especially in the one I’d have with my husband-to-be: the relationship that would sanctify me and bring me to Christ. I felt remade under this new lens.

Encountering this great saint’s writings and principles painted for me the clearest, most whole, most hopeful vision of who we, as humans, are: beloved daughters and sons; a revelation of the Father’s great love. His words have shown me to myself.

What about you? It’s become apparent in my personal prayer life that certain verses, prayers, and saints have seemingly chosen and pursued me at the times I most needed them. Some of those invitations have been whispers: constant, repeated mentions of a certain prayer, book, or person over months or years. And some have been shouts: instances where intercession and answered prayers ring clear and true. Who are the holy men and women who’ve been knocking at--or, alternatively, crashing through--the door of your heart lately?

Sit in the quiet and observe if any particular saints or writings surface. Consider whether any individuals, devotions, or books have been recommended to you more than once, from more than one person. Or perhaps there’s a particular aspect of the Catholic faith you’ve always wanted to dive into. As a new year unfolds, I sense an expanse of open space in my soul; a decluttered state of thirst. I desire to be filled. Satisfied. May my heart--and yours--find newness, discovery, and a deeper intimacy with Christ in these coming months.


About the Author: Stephanie Calis is Spoken Bride's Editor in Chief and Co-Founder. She is the author of INVITED: The Ultimate Catholic Wedding Planner (Pauline, 2016). Read more

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Readers Share | Spiritual Resolutions for the New Year

The start of a new year is a natural catalyst to reflect on the days gone by and to prepare for the days ahead with intention. We asked our instagram followers how they and their significant others are committing to begin 2019 with purpose-filled goals and mission.

We are inspired by your honesty and vulnerability as we read your New Year’s Resolutions:

Actually go down on our knees and pray together outside of Mass. - @jessicafaithsayegh

Read Scripture together every day. - @benandkrys

Save every extra cent for our wedding in September! - @aly_basley

Pray more! Pray together, pray for each other, pray individually. Let God be the center. - @atpeaceinchrist

Get married! (10.05.19) - @marykmiller.design

Start praying the rosary daily together. - @laurabwilli

Set a budget together (We’re engaged)! - @evercalmedrose

Pray together more. - @elizabethmsp

Me: Trust God more. Us: Be kinder to ourselves and others. - @jam.dykes

Return to the sacrament of confession once a month, like we used to. - @monicalau0101

From all of us to you, Happy New Year and a blessed Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. We pray 2019 brings your vocation, wherever you are, abundant fruits and graces.

How to Create, and Live By, a Family Mission + Motto

BRIDGET BUSACKER

 

My husband David and I recently celebrated our second anniversary. In just over two years, we have experienced the joys and challenges of married life and grown closer together in this shared adventure and vocation. 

A priest friend of ours reminded us that marriage is like two stones hitting each other to create a fine and beautiful sand. We will challenge and sharpen each other in this process. And, God-willing and with His abundant graces, be stronger together as long as we seek to view each other as partners and teammates on the journey to our final destination: heaven.

When my husband and I were engaged, we discussed a family mission and motto we could live by. This idea was sparked by our intensive desire to be well-prepared for our marriage and to look beyond our wedding day--although we quickly learned we can only do so much planning, reading, and discussing until we have to live out the reality of marriage. It’s when the rubber meets the road that we truly learn what it means to live out our vocation and choose to love in the big and (mostly) little ways of everyday life.

Our family mission and motto has helped us live out the ordinary days of married life and to refocus us when we’ve started to feel overly worked, busy, or the inkling that if we’re not careful, we may turn into ships in the night.

It is not perfect, and sometimes we can forget about our mission. But it’s through recollection, prayer, and redirection that we remember who we are living for and why it’s so important to stay on track.

The Busacker Family Mission

The Busacker Household is a pilgrim family bold in spirit and secure in faith in Christ. We defend and rely upon His universal Church for our daily life in God. As a thousand years is but a day to the Lord, we revere the commands of Saint Peter, humble heir to the keys of God’s Church made divine in the New Covenant.

We strive therefore to be “holy in all [our] conduct since it is written, ‘You shall holy, for I am holy.’” (1 Peter 1:15-16) We strive therefore to be hopeful, and to “be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls [us] to account for the hope that is in us, yet [to] do it with gentleness and reverence.” (1 Peter 3:15)

We strive therefore to be “ungrudgingly” hospitable, for “as [we] have received a gift, [we shall] employ it for one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” (1 Peter 4:9,10) We strive therefore to be as humble as Christ and to clothe ourselves “with humility toward one another, for ‘God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’” (1 Peter 5:5)

We implore the Sacred Heart of Jesus to grant us holiness, hope, hospitality, and humility in our journey towards Him.

The Busacker Family Motto

Verso l’alto.  

We purposefully picked this motto because of David’s patron saint, Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati, and his intense witness and love for adventure. Bl. Pier always went above and beyond for Christ, encouraging those around him to aim high.

David and I decided to take this on as our family motto, so that when life is challenging and there are valleys we are experiencing together, we remember that--no matter what--we can offer all for Christ, and can always lift our eyes to aim higher. We want our home to be one that pursues Christ and heaven above all else; to strip away the attachments of this life that keep us from going to the heights in order to hear Him more clearly.

A book that offered insight for us into mission and its importance for family life is Katie Warner’s Head & Heart: Becoming Spiritual Leaders for Your Family. We found it a wonderfully helpful tool to better understand what it means to be spiritual leaders, offering great points of discussion that are tangible and applicable for your marriage.

I encourage you, whether you are newly engaged or married for many years, to consider reframing your marriage with heaven at the forefront, creating a mission you can live by—and look to—amidst the joys and challenges of your vocation.

The most successful companies live by a mission in order to create change, make goals, and succeed, so why not create a mission for your marriage and family life? It is the most important job you will ever have and the most important organization you will ever be a part of on this earth. Our goal is heaven--let’s be sure to encourage our spouse, family members, and other couples to join us on the journey.


 About the Author: Bridget Busacker is founder of Managing Your Fertility, a one-stop shop for NFP resources serving women & couples. With her husband, she is also co-founder of The Beautiful Wounds, a collection of curated stories devoted to revealing and appreciating beauty in our everyday lives. In her free time, Bridget enjoys adventuring with her husband, fixing up their new home together, and actively participating in their parish life and lay movement, Catholic Advance, through Pro Ecclesia Sancta.

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Creating Advent Traditions in Your New Family

LARABETH MILLER

Advent has always been a season that puzzled me, especially when it came time to create my new little family with my husband. Lent has always been so clear to me because it involves serious contemplation and structure. The challenge with Advent is being able to make time for happy contemplation, while distinguishing the spiritual and material aspects of the season.  

Photography:    Leah Muse Photography

When I spent my first Christmas with my husband, I had no idea what kind of traditions I wanted to create. I did want to keep a few from my own family, but I had every chance to build something of my own. I wanted to incorporate details that would leave lasting impressions on my children as they grew up. But I also wanted these details to shape how we interacted with one another and the Church as we developed as a family.

It's been a work in progress, especially with a toddler who doesn’t even know what Advent is, let alone Santa Claus. Last year was the first time went spent Advent and Christmas away from family, so we haven’t had much time to experiment. I wanted to share a few of the thoughts I put into my Advent planning this year.


Personal prayer time


It’s a new liturgical year, which means it is a time for me to approach God’s mercy once again and examine my relationship with him in a deeper way. Primarily, I view Advent as a time for me to consider God’s will for me and to do so with patience, since this is the time of waiting. How does he want to shape my heart this year? What sufferings and challenges can I accept? What new efforts can I make in order to be open to his voice? This is the most important part, not only because it nurtures my soul, but also because I want Christ to make me into a better wife and mother for my family.


A celebration with my spouse


When it comes to my husband, I want to be intentional about creating moments for the both of us, especially since we have already seen how life sweeps us in all directions. I’ve found the easiest way to do this is by putting extra care into our lives during Advent. I incorporate more comfort food into our menu and buy little Christmas decorations to cozy up the house. After our baby goes to bed, I’ll surprise my husband with a batch of cookies and we eat them in front of a movie. It may seem like nothing, but after the general chaos, it really holds so much value. I use these goals to draw myself out of my crazy Christmas plans for everyone else to show my husband he is the most important person at the end of my day.


Together, we are still figuring out Advent as a couple and as a family. For now, we both look forward to each Sunday, where my husband  lights the Advent candles before dinner. Even that simple act makes our prayer more meaningful and draws us both into that time together. Whenever we talk about building on this, we consider the best memories from our childhoods and remember  details that highlighted past seasons.


For him, it was revisiting the family Advent calendar, especially when it yielded chocolate. For me, it was setting up the nativity scene, with the exception of the baby Jesus--who was usually hidden in someone’s sock drawer until Christmas Eve.


Feast days


One of the best things about Advent is its abundance of feast days. Even if you cannot observe each one, they provide ample opportunity for pre-Christmas celebrations. If your family has cultural ties to certain feast days like Our Lady of Guadalupe or St. Lucy, it can make this time extra special. For me, this was usually the time when our parish would come together for a celebration. Depending on your region, many parishes plan events around these feasts. This is a perfect time to be involved in the Church community. For our family, I know it will be worth the effort to experience the special Masses and practice the traditions attached. Our plan is to learn about one feast day each year and to incorporate our favorites as our family grows.


The best advice I can give for this season is start small and simple. These traditions are supposed to hold special meaning for the new family you make with your husband. They are there to provide the comfort of familiarity and togetherness. Most importantly, they are there to point each member’s hearts towards Christ. You don’t have to do everything. Even one small thing means everything if it is rooted in Advent graces.


This is the very thing we want to build on as our family grows; just as the joy and anticipation of Christmas grows with each flame that is added to the Advent wreath.


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About the Author: Larabeth Miller is Spoken Bride’s Associate Editor. She is the owner of Graced by Color. Read more


On Advent and Waiting

ALEXA DONCENCZ SMITH

 

It’s no secret: Advent is a time of waiting.

As a kid, I always looked forward to the week at Mass when the Little Blue Books would appear in the vestibule for Advent, free for the taking. In the weeks that followed, I was diligent in reading the reflections each night before bed, carefully absorbing every saint quote or nugget of spiritual wisdom. I was kind of a nerd, truth be told, but I loved the aura of waiting and preparation that always surrounded the weeks leading to Christmas.

As an adult, waiting can be a bittersweet subject. While anticipation breeds excitement, waiting for the things we desire isn’t always a pleasant feeling--especially if their eventual arrival isn’t guaranteed. Waiting for anything--from a vacation, to a promotion at work, to meeting one’s future spouse--is filled with a vulnerability that can give way to doubt and discontentment.

After spending a bit of time reflecting on Advent, it seems like no coincidence that the Church dedicates a whole season of the liturgical calendar to the meaning and purpose of waiting. Though it may not seem like it, waiting can be a blessing in disguise that can help guide us along the path to Heaven. Here, five ways we can benefit spiritually from this season:

Waiting provides the space for God to work.

Life can get so busy that it becomes easy to get caught up in our own plans, wrapped up in a universe of which we are the center. We have our days scheduled down to the minute and our calendars booked up for weeks, so it can definitely be frustrating when the unexpected comes in and messes with our carefully laid plans.

With our days are booked solid, spent constantly running from one obligation to the next, this doesn’t leave a lot of room for God to work in our lives. We might even find when we’re too busy, our meaningful attempts at prayer fall to the wayside. While God is always present, he often chooses to speak to us in the silence.

And if there’s no silence, or if our lives are just too hectic, we may miss our chance to hear him. Waiting has a way of slowing us down. The resulting pause can produce a helpful reorientation of priorities.

Waiting is an invitation to trust.

When our plans get stalled and things don’t happen how we think they should, it can cause disappointment and even helplessness. This is an opportunity to humble ourselves, remembering God is in control--not us). That there is a greater plan we cannot see; even if we’re confused about how things are going to play out, we know that the one in charge loves us and always wants the best for us.

Waiting forces us to be present.

Frustration with waiting can indicate that our minds or hearts have gotten ahead of us, and we’re trying to live in the future. Two years ago--ironically, during Advent--I was not-so-subtly waiting on a proposal. My fiancé and I had been dating for several years, and we’d had countless talks about moving toward marriage.

We both agreed getting engaged was our next step. But I felt this to the extent that I failed  to appreciate our relationship in the present moment. I had myself convinced nothing more could be accomplished in our relationship or preparation for marriage until we were officially engaged.

Waiting pulls us out of our daydreams about the future (sometimes not so gently), and challenges us to ask, what does God want me to do right now? 

As I  anxiously awaited my proposal, I believed--whether I realized it or not--that engagement was the next thing God wanted me to do in life. But maybe engagement and marriage were a few more bullet points down on the list, and he had other gifts and blessings in store for me first.

I could have easily missed how God was working in my life during that time because I had unconsciously tuned out the present, preoccupied with what I thought should be my next endeavor. Waiting can be a gift that keeps us living in real time.

Waiting is a reminder: our time is precious.

When we’re stuck in line at the grocery store or sitting in traffic, we have two options. We can either grumble and complain, letting our annoying situation get the best of us, or we can remember those very minutes are an irreplaceable gift from God. It might be challenging to view being trapped bumper to bumper on the highway as a gift, but these instances serve as a reminder that all our time is borrowed: it all belongs to God, and we should always use for good the moments of life he has given us.

Waiting gives us hope for a bright future.

When we are so stuck on achieving certain desires that we end up devaluing entire periods of our lives, or we begin to feel as though we are killing time to get to a particular accomplishment or milestone, we are called to remember something: God’s plans are higher than our own. God can give us gifts we never would have dreamed of. And yes: they’re even better than the things we’re pursuing for ourselves.

The feeling of waiting sometimes indicates our timeline doesn’t quite match up to God’s. Rather than giving ourselves over to despair, this is an opportunity to realize that God may be saying no or not yet to our prayers.

Because he might be about to give us something even better than what we imagined.


About the Author: Alexa is a 2013 graduate of The Catholic University of America, where she earned degrees in biology and psychology. Since 2014, she has served as the Assistant Coordinator for Youth, Young Adult and Family Ministry for the Diocese of Allentown. Alexa and her husband Patrick got engaged in December 2016, and were married in June 2018. Together they’ve enjoyed Cracker Barrel breakfasts, long walks around Barnes & Noble, and deciding which bridal expos had the best cake samples. Alexa's hobbies include writing, photography, and drinking coffee. 

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Newlywed Life | How to Plan a Honeymoon Staycation

Are you and your beloved unable to go on a honeymoon immediately after your wedding?

Whether due to work, financial, or other limitations, if a getaway isn’t in the cards for you right away, the first days of your marriage can still be an elevated experience and sacred time. Consider planning a honeymoon staycation over a three-day weekend or, if possible, a longer period off from work. Here, our suggestions for making your staycation distinctive from the everyday.

Allow yourselves leisure.

When you’re staying at home, particularly right after your marriage, there are temptations everywhere to do: open gifts, organize belongings, clean, write thank you notes. Don’t forget, however, to be: this is a vacation, after all! Consider designating a time of day to end working on projects and chores, spending the remainder in a state of carefree timelessness.

Make specific plans.

A staycation is ideal for exploring areas of your city you might not otherwise prioritize: plan a day trip, make brunch and dinner reservations at new and special spot, visit the natural or cultural sites you love or have dreamed of seeing. Creating an informal itinerary cultivates the getaway feel and brings structure to your time.

Consider a local overnight.

If your budget allows, spending a night--or two--in a nearby hotel or Airbnb feels distinctively special and set apart from your everyday.

Dream together.

If your “actual” honeymoon is months away, enjoy the anticipation! Page through travel books for your destination, dive into Yelp, and begin planning your forthcoming trip.

Add a spiritual component.

Take advantage of time off from work with daily Mass, Adoration, and a self-planned retreat or pilgrimage. Find more here on planning a spiritually significant honeymoon.

We love hearing the stories, insights, and surprises of your newlywed lives. If you and your beloved had an abbreviated or local honeymoon, or are planning to, share your own tips and experiences in the comments and on our social media. See the Spoken Bride team’s handpicked honeymoon essentials here.