Almost exactly ten years after our memorable honeymoon to Orlando, Florida, I returned there this week. Only this time, I was traveling with two of my co-workers on a business trip — a site visit to help us plan out our upcoming company convention in January. The trip consisted of traveling to lots of potential venues for our welcome reception, including Universal Studios, Harley Davidson and a NASCAR sports grill. Since the people at the places we visited were trying to impress and win our business, they insisted on giving us lots of food and free stuff like T-shirts. Needless to say, I’ve probably put on a couple of pounds over the past couple of days.
As fun as it has been to be in the theme park capital of the world, it was much more fun 10 years ago with my new bride. When Robin and I began to plan our honeymoon, we thought that perhaps we’d go to Jackson Hole or someplace relatively close. However, when we heard about $109 round-trip fares to Orlando, we couldn’t pass it up. During our four day stay in August 1997, we visited the Orlando Temple, Daytona Beach, the Magic Kingdom and Epcot Center. The day at the Magic Kingdom was probably our least favorite because it was so hot and humid (kind of like it is now here in Florida.) Our favorite experience was walking along the beach at Daytona at sunset, and then enjoying a delicious (and somewhat expensive) seafood dinner.
Anyway, being here in Florida again, ten years later, has made me ponder the experience of being a newlywed. First, I have realized that a honeymoon can never be re-created — you’re only newly married once. Our honeymoon was a mix of bliss and frustration, intense emotional bonding and some feelings of insecurity. Everything was so new and exciting, and it was thrilling to ponder and plan our future together.
Ten years later, everything has changed. Even if Robin were here with me, things would be different. We’ve gotten used to this “being married” thing. We know each other much better than we did back then. We understand one another. And while we’re still planning our future together and anxiously anticipating the next step, things are different. We’re done with school. Robin’s almost done with birthing babies. Our path is a little more set and we’re a little wiser too.
I have to say that the most significant change has been my love for my sweet wife. I thought I loved her back then. And I did. But that love is deeper and more permanent now. Whereas ten years ago I got butterflies thinking about being with her, now our love is more solid, deep and significant, based on years of shared experiences — trials and joys. I am grateful to be able to return to her tomorrow from the land of our honeymoon. I look forward to continuing our marvelous journey together.