Keepin’ It Fresh

By Bradford F. Spencer, Ph.D.     (Spring 1994)

The honeymoon theme of this newsletter came about at our annual company Christmas dinner, which happened to be Dara Brown’s first day back from her honeymoon. She and her new husband, Steve, beamed as we observed them across the table.

Much of the discussion that evening involved the question, “How was your honeymoon?” Which brought to mind the similarities between starting a new job and beginning a new life with a spouse. We found this topic worth discussing in this newsletter.

We each have different experiences or ideas of the honeymoon period. For the most part, we find it to be a time of exploration and discovery. As we enter into a relationship, whether with an individual or with a company, it is a time of getting familiar … a learning time. We are excited about the newness and others experiences a freshness about us. Why does this period of excitement seem to disappear? Does it have to? What can we do to recreate the spark?

Just as Steve and Dara stimulated us to re-spark our honeymoons, we hope this newsletter stimulates you to think back to your own honeymoons and to renew them in all aspects of your life.

Keeping the Honeymoon Alive

By Steve & Dara Brown

After many years of waiting for the “right timing,” we made a commitment to each other for a lifetime on December 4, 1993.

The “honeymoon” began as we departed for Negril, Jamaica. What a wonderful time to be together, basking in the sun and swimming in the crystal-clear Caribbean. We talked, relaxed, and laughed as we spent our quality time together, away from daily routines and various distractions.

The honeymoon is a new and exciting time. There is flexibility and a willingness to please, along with an accepting and forgiving nature. These characteristics and others need to exist on a continual basis in order to keep the honeymoon alive.

We have retuned from Jamaica, but that does not mean the honeymoon is over. Through balance and a conscious effort, we believe it is possible to make the honeymoon last forever. Sure, there will be tough times and disagreements in the future, but anticipating these problems, and resolving them as they come, is vital to maintaining a lifelong honeymoon mentality.

The same is true in our workplace. When things become routine and we become distracted, losing focus of our “first love,” the excitement disappears and we find ourselves wondering how we ever got “locked-in.”

It is interesting how people tend to look at us and think, “Yeah, you’re happy, but wait until the honeymoon is over and you wake up to reality.” Is it that the honeymoon ends or is it that we allow other people’s views to sour our own perspective? If we are told it will end, will we not automatically think that when conflict occurs, the honeymoon is over?

Take, for example, the new hire who is excited and energetic about the company. So many of us find ourselves taking away his or her energy with our negative, know-it-all attitudes. Why do we want individuals with less experience to see our way? Why not learn from them and attempt to catch the freshness, energy, and new ideas they have to offer us as a newcomer?

After time, when individuals’ perceptions have been altered by conflicts and daily routines, the existent honeymoon period of excitement seems to disappear and the energy once put into making good impressions fades away.

Perhaps the problem lies in our definition of “honeymoon.” Let’s think of honeymoons in a broader sense. Could it be that when others speak of the honeymoon period, they are speaking of a time before differences surface, a time before the effort or work part of the relationship becomes reality? Yes, this time is special, but we believe it is possible and necessary to go through the honeymoon period mentally prepared for the rough times to come in order to prevent the energy from dissipating at the first hint of conflict.

Who says that the honeymoon period has to be free from hard times, frustration, and pain? These things make up what life is all about. Could it be, with this unrealistic view of honeymoon, that when conflict occurs, we automatically think the honeymoon has ended? What makes the honeymoon enjoyable is looking at it realistically, approaching the problems head-on, and working through them together. It is important to expect those times to come, prepare for them together, and work them through as they surface.

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