I’ve always been more of an inside kind of girl.
Well, not totally inside. I love riding quads (on trails where I won’t get too dirty) and I love hikes (as long as it doesn’t require moving anything out of my way) and I also love gardening (as long as my seeds grow perfectly and when I pull a weed no more grow back). So, mostly inside. Loving my books, loving my television series. Loving technology and literature and cozy blankets and quiet Sunday afternoons.
And then I married my husband. The love of my life is one of the football-obsessed hunting types who looks darn good in camo. We are different in many ways, and these rough edges are some of which that have refined us well while others have rubbed us raw. But with a few differences, it’s looked like me just taking a step out of my comfort zone to meet him in one of his favorite things, and we end up having the best time.
Take canoeing for example. I have always loved boats… as long as they were big enough to not tip over. The first time my hubby (before he was my hubby) wanted to take me out in a canoe in the river, I put on my brave face (I was a blushing soon-to-be-bride so I basically pretended like it didn’t scare the heck out of me) and hopped into this little boat looking thing and grabbed my oar. While not my first time in a canoe, it was my first time on a river in one, and that felt terrifying. But as I let him teach me and let myself relax, I discovered how wonderfully fun and relaxing it was, and now it’s one of our favorite dates!
Then there’s football. I have always loved the Seahawks, and after about six years of actually watching I knew when to yell for a touchdown. But my husband, well he knows the game inside, outside, and upside down, as well as played a bit in high school. I liked the game enough to know that I wasn’t going to be the wife in her chair reading a book while the game was on, but I also didn’t want to be confused alongside his immense knowledge. So we made a deal on the last day of our honeymoon, the day after I made my first fantasy football team. We agreed that I would be willing to learn all about football that season, the ins and outs of all of it, but he had to be willing to answer any stupid question I had.
Two years later, I’m still asking stupid questions and he’s still patiently answering. I know that he loves that I’ve taken a true interest in something that matters to him, and now that we both love it, it’s turned out to be something that we both truly enjoy. And I’ve learned to love the entire game of football, now college included. He’s still working on me with baseball and soccer though.
And then… there’s hunting.
The first year of our marriage, I heard a lot about hunting, but he didn’t do any so I got to imagine the idyllic days of my handsome man out in his camouflage gear, all hunter and gatherer style. Having been a hunting guy from a hunting family, this was something deeply engrained in him and something he truly loved. Then the next fall, he got to start hunting again and I got my first experience of having goose breasts washed in my kitchen sink and oohing and ahhing over pictures of dead birds lined up in a row. I made my first teriyaki stir fry that had the occasional feather in it. I felt very brave, a little disgusted, but the smile it brought out in my husband to have his wife share in this with him made it all worth it.
This year, he set his heart on deer hunting. Fast forward to this morning.
After a few different attempts, my hubby headed out first thing this morning with a friend and his bow. About a half hour later, I got a call.
“Did you get one?”
“Yeah, a nice buck too.”
“Wait, you’re serious! (gulp) That’s awesome!”
A little while later he called me again, telling me a bit more of the details (I’ll spare you) and was little sad because they didn’t have a good camera there to take pictures.
“I’ll grab my camera and I’ll be there shortly!”
And honestly? I was excited. While I was slightly freaked out as I headed out to where he was, I knew that he would be delighted by my interest and enthusiasm. And truthfully, I was darn proud of my man and I wanted him to know it. So out I went, traipsing through the woods with a baby on my back, to take pictures of my beaming hubby in the woods with a dead deer.
All of that to say that I really think a lot of this has made a difference in our marriage. I’m no expert by any means and there’s still a lot of things that he does and enjoys that I can’t wrap my mind around, but I find that when I reach out of my comfort zone a little and try to understand what he really loves, what I find in return is unity and a little extra tenderness added to our relationship. And it goes both ways too, when he does the same for me, I feel all warm and fuzzy, affirmed in the things I enjoy.
As well, when you show your kids that you take part in each other’s interests, they will see the value and sacrifice you place on your relationship. So it’s really a win-win-win.
Today, love looked like taking pictures of a dead deer.
What could it look like for you?