Sunday, April 21, 2013

Every couple needs time out.

Different Spin 12th April, 2013
Metro, The Star
by Daphne Iking

I am sipping a sinful cup of ciccolata calda at some random sidewalk in Rome, breathing in the cool spring breeze and enjoying the deep sounds of Church bells ringing from afar. My husband fiddles with his huge camera that he carries around in his equipment bag. Sometimes I wish he was more of a "point-and-shoot-with-small-camera" sort of guy. Instead, photography is his hobby and along with this huge sling bag, is a tripod. I get tired just seeing him lug all his toys from one subway to another, but I've learnt, that in marriage, just like any good relationship, sometimes, it's best not to say anything and just let things "be".

This is our first real honeymoon together, 3 years after tying the knot in a simple akad nikah. Our first 'two honeymoons' were spent with friends and the next, with our kids. Not exactly the truest definition of a honeymoon. Having said that, my boss pointed out that this was not a honeymoon either because we've been married for 'so long' (at least in my definition).

A honeymoon is a traditional holiday taken by newlyweds to celebrate their marriage in intimacy and seclusion. The Merriam-Webster dictionary reports the etymology as from "the idea that the first month of marriage is the sweetest", hence many refering to the word "honeymoon" as a temporary relax, sweet phase. For example, I remember a time after SRP/PMR, my headmistress Mrs Matthews, kept reminding us to not treat Form 4 as a 'honeymoon' year, but a preparation to the big exam- SPM.

SPM. That seems so long ago.

Now, here I am finally doing my Europe roadtrip with my husband. Our honeymoon challenge: 7 countries, 10 cities - all within 17 days.

"Quite a feat and definitely not a honeymoon," says our goodfriend Endie.

"Aren't honeymoons supposed to be relaxing? Where all you do is you-know-what," he cheekily adds.

I guess that's what honeymoons were originally created for. Back in the days when most marriages were either arranged or courting each other was always with a chaperone; the honeymoon right after the matrimonial ceremony, was to enable the newlyweds to be intimately acquainted without prying eyes.

In this era, most couples see each other everyday or some even choose to live-in together before taking the leap of marriage. Are honeymoons then neccessary with this new arrangement?

I guess it all boils down to tradition and a nice excuse to get away from the hussle and bussle, especially as more and more couples start planning their wedding at least a year ahead in schedule. So, by the time the happy couple say "I do", they are running on empty and a break away from a year of planning, would probably do them good.

It is interesting to note that back then, more women were homemakers. Now, the number of dual-income families, where both husband and wife work, have increased. When a contemporary couple ties the knots, chances are both partners are employed, so this means the honeymoon is the first long vacation they will have taken together.

"But you see each other every single time since both of you work together!" exclaims Endie.

 True. But there's pros and cons to that. The latter would be that we talk about work everywhere we go.

My husband needed his wife. Not the mother to his children. Or his business partner.

"I miss my wife."

In one of our rare quiet dinners together (that was not work related), he asked me,

"If you had to place more importance on the relationship between your kids or your spouse, which would it be?"

Trick question. Having the cancerian trait in me, I refused to take sides.

He answered,"You must take care of your spouse, because your children will always be your children. They are your flesh and blood. The bond will always be there. But you can 'lose' your spouse by the snap of your fingers if you fail to nurture the relationship, to sustain it."

His answer hit me like a brickwall.

In short, the honeymoon is nothing more than an excuse for two people to enjoy some time off without the complications and distractions of the real world creeping in. Our version of a honeymoon may not be as sweet or romantic as how some people may think it should be, but it was conjured and thought about sincerely, together - from our hearts. And that's how a marriage should be. It's not just about the love and passion, but about compromise and honesty.

I'm done with my delicious drink. I think I'll be his tripod holder for this trip. One more week till I see the kids, Oh how I miss them! But for now, this child needs me more.

Follow her microblog and holiday pictures via her Instagram: daphneiking. She's added #yogaposesaroundeurope as part of her challenge. Her husband thinks she's a bit of a nut. But he tolerates her eccentricities.


  1. Have an enjoyable vacay-cum-work-cum-assignment.
    PS: Can't wait till my next backpacking trip by train.

  2. I bet you had a great time. Couples with young children need to make a special effort to spend enough time alone. It's one way to put more romance back into your marriage. I never had a real honeymoon. I think it's time to plan one. And i'm sure it's going to be as exciting as planning a wedding. :)


  3. hey enjoy your stay. glhf

  4. I don't know how you going to enjoy your honeymoon because to me, going to 7 countries and 10 cities within 17 days sound tiring. However, I love your honeymoon photos :-)

  5. "3 years after tying the knot in a simple akad nikah". Akad nikah?? I tot ur non-muslim.

  6. Hi Daphne :D thanks for this article. Your husband's answer also hit me like a brickwall. Ever since my husband and I had children, all I wanted was holidays together as a family and my husband had always wanted just for us to go on our own holidays sometimes. I'm going to plan a surprise "honeymoon" just for us. Thanks to you and your husband.

  7. yr husband's answer on who's more important gave me a pang too. i have been ignoring hubby's feeling ever i hd my baby who is now 11 mths old.
    it's time for at least a romantic dinner in kl.. vacay will have to wait.. thanks Daphne.. thanks esp to Joe.