I just finished reading through some of the ugliest stories I’ve ever seen—full of sickness, injury, storms, crime, voracious insects, escapes from death, and terrible odors.

And all these horror stories came from you, describing your honeymoons.

Mary Larmoyeux wrote a Marriage Memo on “Our Honeymoon Nightmare,” and at the end she asked for readers to send us stories of the trials they experienced.  I’ve enjoyed reading through them, and I also rejoice that all have a happy ending.

“Oh, yes, we have a story,” began an email from Ronna Privette, whose wedding day was bad from the moment she woke up feeling terrible.  She ended up sleeping until 2 p.m. even though her wedding was at 4 p.m., and her father literally had to hold her up as they walked down the aisle.  Two days later she was in the hospital having her gall bladder removed.

Bobby Sue Gildroy described a honeymoon highlighted by her husband’s flu, a cut foot, and a mosquito bite under her eye that made her face look like “the Hunchback of Notre Dame.”  Virginia Bouton wrote of her honeymoon in Alaska, where she nearly ran over her husband with a boat while he was on a jet ski.  As it was, her boat did slice his foot open.  She was so upset that she could barely drive him to the hospital.  “I didn’t completely lose it until we got to the hospital, and while he was being treated I ended up on the gurney next to him dry heaving, light headed, and dizzy. The doctor working on his 17 stitches assured my husband that I wouldn’t be reacting this way if I didn’t really love him.”

If you think your marriage had a rough start, consider the experience of Rostosha Foy, whose husband came down with three types of food poisoning during their honeymoon in Cancun.  Or Emily Talaga, who went online to book a peaceful, secluded, rustic cabin … only to notice a disgusting smell when they arrived.  “It turned out that we were smack-dab in the middle of a major chicken farming area. The outside of the cabin smelled. The inside of it smelled. The smell was unmistakable and unavoidable.”

I think my favorite story came from Caleb Breakey, a newspaper reporter in the state of Washington.  He and his bride, Brittney, were depositing money at a bank which, coincidentally, was being robbed at the same time.  Their car was mistakenly identified as the getaway vehicle, and police pulled them over as suspects. They were both handcuffed, and three officers aimed weapons at Brittney.  Caleb heard officers refer to them as “suspects” three times.

The story ended happily when a witness cleared them.  And I was struck by the number of times the couples who also wrote of happy endings, saying that their unfortunate honeymoon experiences had taught them some valuable lessons.  “We have now been married 36 years this coming August,” wrote Ronna Privette (the one who had a gall bladder removed), “and look back on that time and wonder was it part of God’s plan to help us cope with some of the trials that our marriage has gone through during the past 36 years, and to learn to trust in Him during these times.”

Another reader, Malia Oliver, told the story of being stuck on a Hawaiian road for hours until a landslide was cleared.  “At the time, there was nothing positive or funny about the situation. However, today we are both able to look back and have a good laugh, as well as, see that we were given a taste right off the bat to what real marriage would look like—roadblocks, rain, and potential for blame, but we persevered and learned to tackle our problems together.”

Those are great lessons to learn.  But I do have to say that I’m glad that my wife, Merry, and I did not have to learn them quite so soon!

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