Community & Solitude: Key Ingredients to a Successful New Marriage
My wife and I just got married and are settling into life as newlyweds. We had a huge wedding and a small honeymoon. Each was exactly what we needed, and we wouldn't have it any other way.
Our wedding and honeymoon were each crucial aspects of our transition into life together.
We got married at St. Ignatius Orthodox Church in Franklin, TN. The wedding was beautiful, traditional, and sweet. It was also standing room only!
We had more than 300 guests, plus a full wedding party, two priests, and a deacon. We had a packed reception afterward full of food, music, and dancing. Our wedding day—let alone the months spent planning it all—flew by, and we loved every minute of it. My wife and I were blessed by the love and support of more people than we could possibly talk to! Everywhere we turned, there was another dear friend waiting to congratulate us and wish us well. We were so encouraged.
After we left the wedding reception and spent the night in a local hotel, we traveled to Pigeon Forge, TN, and spend most of a week alone in a cabin. We watched the Lord of the Rings trilogy (extended edition, of course), visited the aquarium and a few local attractions, and generally spent time relaxing together. We didn't have a schedule, and we didn't have any commitments that week—except for the commitment we'd made to each other.
After we had time to reflect on the way things had gone, we realized why it was all so amazing. Relationships need both community and solitude, and we had opportunities for both.
Being able to share our wedding & celebration with so many of our friends & family was symbolic of our dedication to relationships and community. We learned the importance of a strong, positive community during dating and engagement, so we took the task of surrounding ourselves with loved ones very seriously. In fact, there were many people we couldn't invite to the wedding simply because there was no more room! Perhaps because we've made it a point to remain involved & invested in our communities, we received a much higher “Yes” rate to invitations than we were told to expect.
Have you ever seen a newly-infatuated couple become so focused on their relationship that they seem to forget everyone else around them? We have, and we've seen relationships suffer because of it. The best way we knew to commit to a community-grounded marriage was to share our joy with as many friends & family as possible!
As much as we've learned the importance of community, we also know the importance of solitude. We had a simple, low-key honeymoon because we wanted some alone time to rest and recuperate. This was the best thing for us because we had ample opportunity to adjust to married life in a calm, peaceful environment. Our small honeymoon gave us the flexibility and solitude we needed to set up our marriage for success. After talking to numerous married couples about our experience, they have confirmed again and again that designing a peaceful honeymoon was the right idea.
Many people we know who went on adventurous, international honeymoons immediately after their wedding struggled with sickness, frustration, and exhaustion during their first weeks of marriage. Although we both love to travel—and hope to go on international adventures together, beginning soon—we knew all the time, energy, and resources going towards our engagement & wedding day would leave us physically and emotionally drained, so we took time to recharge and breathe.
We made time for us, as well as time for them. I wish I could say we realized the importance of that when we planned our wedding & honeymoon, but we didn't. Despite that, the fact remains that we made time for community and solitude before we needed them.
We've only been married a few weeks, so I can't speak with a lot of experience under my belt, but I cannot emphasize enough how important community and solitude have already been in our marriage.
Question: Do you need to build more community or solitude into your life?