Capitol Advice: What Fiji Taught Me About Marriage

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  • January 20, 2015

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[Image: An adorable selfie from The Plannery]

I was so VERY excited to start working on one of my 2015 business goals and get my very first marriage-focused guest post from Katie of The Plannery fame. I’ll mention again here that I def want to spend more of 2015 focusing on marriage and relationships and would love to hear from all of YOU on what you’ve learned either from planning a wedding in the area, or from being married in the area. Today Katie shares some insight from her honeymoon to Fiji and what it taught her about marriage. Love this. Take it away Katie.

What Fiji Taught Me About Marriage

My husband and I honeymooned in Fiji. At the time we were both working 9-5 office jobs, and we reasoned that we’d never know when we’d get 2 weeks off in the future, so we might as well go for the fantasy far-flung honeymoon. It was extravagant. We managed it by using miles and staying at a slightly more budget-friendly B&B the first week, and then moving to a higher-end private island resort the second.

Before the honeymoon, I assumed my most memorable times would be dinners on the beach by sunset, the afternoons gazing at each other poolside, and enjoying the beauty of the island while in our perfect honeymoon bliss.

I was wrong.

The beach we stayed on had two very small islands right off of the coast. The guides at the B&B mentioned there was a great snorkeling spot between the two islands. We could kayak out, simply tie the string attached to the kayak to one of our legs and then snorkel out in the ocean. So the next morning after breakfast we decided to go for it, both of us in a two-person kayak, with our snorkel gear in tow.

I was immediately concerned – the wind was really high and the waves were quite big, the ocean was rough, and I was having a tough time paddling (my upper arm strength is really awesome). What I call waves, my husband calls simple white caps, so we soldiered on and gave it a go. Exhausted, we got to the first little island and the waves were practically crashing us into the rocks. Refusing to be defeated, we steadied ourselves, got our snorkel gear ready and paddled out to the middle section. The water was much more protected between the two islands, but I was still a bit wary. I jumped in anyway and immediately realized the ocean was still too rough for leisurely snorkeling. Hubby, after tying the rope to his foot, jumped in after me. Unfortunately he’d tied the wrong string to his foot, so this was the short rope intended for the paddles. Yup, he was clumsily half-drowning (I say “half-drowning, he says “awkwardly untying himself”). I held the kayak steady while treading water and while he untied himself. His drowning avoided (for now), we both agreed we were exhausted, in the middle of the ocean, and drifting fast. If we didn’t get back to land (or if we dropped a paddle or lost the boat), we’d literally wind up in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. As a side note, my husband also quite intelligently opted not to mention the risk of sharks, as I would have absolutely lost my sh*t.

So. We both miraculously managed to get back in the kayak. Neither I, with my aforementioned lack of upper arm strength, nor he, with his 6ft frame, flipped the kayak. Once I safely made it on board and up front, I used the paddles as a tightrope walker might, pulled in my core, and my husband managed to get on-board. As he did, he said “we’re home.”

We paddled furiously back to shore, managing to sneak one selfie with our old-school waterproof camera. We hit the sand, feeling ridiculously relieved, and ran back to our bure (the small hotel room cabin-type dwelling of ours on the beach) to stay the hell away from the ocean for the rest of the day. We spent the afternoon lying in bed, eating the Fijian version of cheese puffs, getting drunk on Fijian beer and watching TV shows we’d downloaded on our Ipad.

And that’s where my lesson was learned. We had gotten ourselves in quite a pickle. But we’d worked together to get out of it. It was because we’d been challenged together and helped each other that the aftermath was so lovely. I realized then that this was marriage.

My education continued throughout the trip. Our horseback ride was on two very scrawny horses, on an afternoon filled with soaking rain while our Fijian guide sang oldies tunes with the wrong words. Our romantic dinner on the beach was delicious, but also filled with some slight anxiety regarding the 3 ft fruit bats flying over our heads.

Fiji had graciously given us a glimpse into what real marriage is all about. While romance, and adventure, and exotic locales are all awesome – what’s really awesome is having a partner to help you through the tough times.

I loved the delicious, decadent meals we had; I loved the glamorous pool, the unreal scenery, the exotic location. But I’d give it all up for a languid afternoon in bed, fingers coated in cheesy powder and buzzed on beer. Or for a very wet but laughter-filled horseback ride. Or a white knuckle hand grab over the perfect meal because an enormous fruit bat just breezed by your head. Marriage is all about the challenges, big and small, near-death or small disappointments, and having someone there to get you through them (or just make them a hell of a lot more fun). As my husband said, when we’re together, safe and sound, whether it be after a terrible day at work or a near-death kayak adventure, we’re home.

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