On the Eve of My Honeymoon

Sara Nash, PhD, LMHC
4 min readJun 29, 2017

Of marriage, the philosopher Alan de Botton has written, “Marriage: a hopeful, generous, infinitely kind gamble taken by two people who don’t know yet who they are or who the other might be, binding themselves to a future they cannot conceive of and have carefully omitted to investigate.”

My husband and I were married four months ago on a farm with our closest people watching. “Your vows were real,” they told us afterward as they smiled and swarmed. It was a perfect day I would relive again and again, and with same man, too.

The days that came before and after have rarely been perfect, of course. Marriage, as they say, is not the wedding.

For our honeymoon we are going west. Big mountains and sky, and dry, dry, dry. Georgia O’Keeffe country, my friend Christy calls it.

Yesterday I asked my husband what he was most looking forward to on our trip. I can’t remember what he said because I was only half-paying attention…

As for me, I am most drawn to an image I hope we will naturally create at some point while we’re out there: Standing, near but not touching, under a stupefyingly large horizon, screaming and laughing at its vastness.

During my long and circuitous path to finishing my PhD (and to getting married), a therapist mentor once told me that any long-term commitment was the kind of constraint that, if we’re lucky, eventually leads to a freedom that wasn’t possible before. I believed him because I trusted him. I trusted him because he was honest, and because of his 30-yr marriage. He said, “Some ambivalence in a long-term commitment is inevitable, but on the day you are married, if possible, it is nice, on that day if on none other, to be sure.” On my wedding day I was sure. But before and after, other feelings — fear, doubt, contentment, frustration, joy, optimism, boredom, sadness, anger, peace.

Sometimes I just miss aspects of the many years I spent single. Thankfully, we talk about it. I don’t have to hide and there’s no good place to hide, anyway. I feel nostalgic sometimes because back then I felt brutal heartbreaks, but also, no matter how bleak it got, a sense of unbounded freedom and yet-unrealized potential. I nursed every loss and disappointment with the consolation that one day the right man would make it all…

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Sara Nash, PhD, LMHC

Sara Nash is a counselor, breast cancer survivor, and women’s health advocate. Find her at saranash.com.