Figs was recently featured in an article on Brides.com. Check out the full breakdown he gave on why honeymoons can be game-changing for couples, exclusively on Empathi.
Planning and implementing a wedding can be stressful…Did you know that it can be a big point of contention between couples? Before even tying the knot?!
Many couples hope that the honeymoon will be an antidote to all of that—and they’re not wrong!
See why in this Q&A with Figs O’Sullivan, emotionally-focused couples therapist and founder of Empathi:
Why are honeymoons important?
The honeymoon is a time that a newly married couple gets all to themselves—in an intimate setting away from all distractions—that is relaxing, nourishing, and rejuvenating. It’s a meaningful and important ritual to strengthen the bond between the newlyweds where they can create lasting memories together.
How can a honeymoon help your relationship?
1. The honeymoon provides guaranteed time that is just for the couple.
Not for the mother of the bride.
Not for your extended community.
It offers something to look forward to during all of the work and stress of the wedding. It provides a supportive container to focus on your connection—just that intention alone is beneficial to your marriage. This way you start your life journey together as spouses who are prioritizing the marriage bond.
2. The time you spend together on your honeymoon creates memories you can share for the rest of your lives.
You are the stories you tell yourselves.
You know yourselves by retelling your memories. You are creating stories of your togetherness that you will remember, retell each other, and use to reconnect to your love for each other for decades to come.
3. On your honeymoon, you intentionally invite joy to be experienced and shared between you, and only you two.
For many people, joy is kept in our “shadow”—it’s an emotion that can actually be very vulnerable to feel and to share.
Your honeymoon is a joyful celebration of your love and commitment to each other, as well as your shared responsibility toward the life you are co-creating.
It’s a great benefit to have time and space to be in-joy with each other, and to hardwire the habit of celebrating your partnership together.
What are the best types of honeymoons for relationships?
Your honeymoon is time for deep rest.
This type of honeymoon is an escape from the travails and stress of everyday life. For some of you, it’s even a needed break from your own kids!
This is so wonderful for your relationship, to have a respite from the overwhelm of life’s day-to-day demands.
Your honeymoon is a time to be beginners together.
This kind of honeymoon is a commitment to your couple’s journey, as symbolized by the trek or adventure you undertake together.
Whether climbing a mountain, scuba diving for the first time, or photographing wildlife together. A first-time experience together helps you set the tone for your married life as an adventure.
You are two brave souls developing a growth mindset together, and committing to having a beginner’s mind for adventures in your life ahead.
Your honeymoon is a time for connecting deeply and emotionally with self and each other.
This honeymoon type is focused on encouraging the deepest bonding possible.
As newlyweds, you explore the profound questions about what it is like to live as both a couple and individuals. You use your honeymoon to prioritize getting to know and care for each other’s vulnerable selves.
This will help strengthen your relationship for years to come, ensuring you are a team ready to meet all that life throws your way.
Is it normal to fight during a honeymoon?
Yes. Do not expect to be happy every moment of the trip. In fact, often, what comes with greater expectations of connection and joy together also brings greater chances to be triggered and disappointed, which can result in a negative cycle between you.
It is essential to be aware that the more important an event is, the more probable you will get into a disconnection. So give each other some grace!
And if you find you’re struggling with fighting a lot, check out our premarital counseling options.
How can couples plan the perfect honeymoon?
First, remember that your longing for perfection is the enemy.
Next, be intentional! Don’t just go with the flow and say, “We are going on a honeymoon just because that is the tradition. That is what people do—and, hey, we love to travel.”
Instead, be explicit and let your hearts feel how this honeymoon is a symbol of the importance of “us”. It is a time that we are gifting to “us” to acknowledge, prioritize, celebrate, and be in gratitude.
I recommend that couples develop some simple rituals during their honeymoon that they carry together through life.
Plan the honeymoon with heart.
Take some time before you dive into logistics to share your answers to the following questions:
- What does a honeymoon mean to you?
- What are your goals for our honeymoon?
- Are there any expectations you have about what a honeymoon is supposed to be like?
- Are there any expectations you fear I have about what a honeymoon is supposed to be like?
- What experiences would you like to have for yourself and for both of us? Is there any must-have experience? Is there a must-not-have experience?
- What are some of the feelings and or thoughts you are worried you may have on our honeymoon?
- How can we emotionally support each other to create a honeymoon that includes our desires, needs, and feelings?
- Is there anything you need from me to support you in experiencing the honeymoon you desire?
- How do you feel and what thoughts come up for you about the financial expense of our possible honeymoon?
Most of all, be curious about the process and your partner’s perspectives.
What honeymoon mistakes should couples avoid?
Do not invalidate each other's visions!
Make sure you are taking into account what enjoyment means to both of you. Do not plan a thrill seeker trip just because one of you is a daredevil when your spouse prefers chillin’ all day at the best local coffee or donut shop in town.
Plan a honeymoon that can satisfy you both individually and together. Both of your ideas on how to enjoy a vacation are valid and important.
Keep the honeymoon about you two.
Protect your time together, especially if one or both of you love to socialize. Don’t avoid connecting with others who you meet, but stay focused on fulfilling the primary intention of your trip—to prioritize “us.”
Make sure your bond is the priority of the trip.
What activities can couples do to make their honeymoon special?
I am a big believer in setting the stage right by formalizing your intentions and prioritizing your emotional bond. That will make the logistics much easier.
A straightforward way to do that on your honeymoon is to incorporate a simple ritual into your daily routine when you share your present moment experience with each other. You can do this in the morning or evening, I just recommend being consistent every day.
- Set aside 15 minutes of uninterrupted time (don’t forget to turn off your mobile phones!)
- During the first 5 minutes, one of you shares while the other only listens. The topic is simply, “your present moment experience”. What are you feeling, thinking, processing, experiencing right now, with regard to this relationship?
- During the next 5 minutes, you switch: the other spouse shares while the other spouse just listens. Same exact topic.
- During the last 5 minutes, you ask each other these 2 questions: 1. What was it like for you to share with me? 2. What was it like for you to listen to me?
With this simple exercise, you have prioritized being with yourself and each other exactly the way you are in a living, breathing moment.
You took a break from DOING and spent time BEING with each other.
This will set you up nicely to stay connected to each other throughout your honeymoon.
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