By the time my husband and I wed, we’d (separately) stockpiled a slew of adventurous experiences. Jaime grew up on water. When it was frozen, he played hockey. When it was liquid, he waterskied, wakeboarded, and, eventually, wake surfed. He drove a 1980 CJ7 Jeep with a lift kit and a winch that rescued him and his friends from the consequences of their escapades. He mountain biked and whitewater rafted. He’d left the country and his comfort zone for mission trips.
As for me, I hiked. I skied cross-country (badly) and downhill (uncharacteristically well). I taught worried adults and nervous kids about reptiles using a boa constructor who spent our instructional time winding his way around my arms and neck and exploring the space between my glasses and my eyelids. (His name was B.C. and I was fond of him, probably more than I should have been.) I coached rappelling and led groups of students into the woods so they could learn about themselves and the world. I white water rafted, shot the rapids in rivers of glacial runoff, and canoed lonely backcountry lakes. I’d lived and worked in a national park.
This is how we grew up.
Jaime lived on the wild side and I loved the wilderness. Before we met, he’d never been to Yellowstone and hadn’t done much hiking. I’d lived in Yellowstone but I’d never learned to love the trail.
In the early days of our marriage, Jaime’s go-to response was “sure.” This, I thought, meant that he wasn’t particularly excited about anything. I was wrong. It meant he was willing to try just about everything. Let’s just say I was . . . less so.
If you’re married, chances are that your adventure quotient is not exactly the same as your spouse’s. That’s not only normal, it’s probably as it should be. About marriage, Ruth Graham Bell observed that if you don’t argue, one of you isn’t necessary. The same holds true for building an adventurous life. It’s in our differences that we sharpen one another and bring each other along.
Individually, Jaime and I arrived at our union with our own unique set of skills for living an adventurous life. He’s good at stepping into the activities. I’m good at fostering the mindset. It plays out like this: Even though, Jaime is open to new things, when our life takes off like a high-speed chase on a California freeway, the one thing he isn’t open to is doing anything outside of the bare necessities. And while I’m not as comfortable with new things, I’m aware that if we want to stop feeling like we’re being chased we need to slip onto a side road and do something different for a bit.
So what does all this mean if you’re an outdoor-loving guy sharing a life with an outdoor-hesitant gal and you’d really like to get out and do things together? It means there’s hope–and little work. Everything takes time.
2 Steps Toward Living an Adventurous Life Together
Despite my early exploits, I am an avid indoorswoman. I spent a lot of years more interested in looking at the wilderness than getting out and experiencing it. My husband invites (and encourages and accompanies) me into experiences I not would choose on my own. I get him out of the rut of everyday living because I pay attention. We value each other’s strengths. It’s how we bring each other along.
And that’s where we begin.
1. First, we need to understand that, when it comes to living an adventurous life, you and your gal each carry a unique set of skills. Some are obvious. Most are subtle.
2. Second, we need to identify those skills. Name the hard skills such as hiking, finding your way in the woods, hunting, fishing, fire or shelter building, climbing, rappelling, or whatever it is that you know. See the soft skills—the ones centered on soul and beauty. Look at them on your own. Look at them together. Explore them and grow them. And remember this: In order to live an adventurous life, the ability to find our way in the wilderness and know where we are in the midst of everyday life both matter.
Pause and Reflect
Here are some questions to get you started. Give them some thought. Use them to spur conversation. Let us know what you discover. And, as always, let us know how we can encourage you in living an adventurous life.
What skills do you have?
What skills does she have?
Which of these skills contribute to adventurous outdoor activities?
Which skills contribute to living an adventurous life?
What skills need to be bolstered?
take heart & happy trails ~ Natalie