Something pretty ordinary happened in my house a few weeks ago: my husband worked a long day. He came home for a few hours around dinner time to eat with the family and put the kids to bed before heading back to work.
But before his workday turned into a 16-hour marathon, he’d planned on going to the gym that day (yes–the same gym that’s now 5 blocks from our house). I told him go anyway–you’re trying to establish healthy habits, you’ll be home in 40 minutes. Just go.
It wasn’t a big deal to me.
I was surprised when he mentioned a few weeks later that it was a big deal to him. He was really encouraged by my willingness to let his athletic adventures be a priority.
The local gym may not sound very adventurous (even if it is a Crossfit gym), but setting your man free to pursue adventures both small and large will do good things for both of you. Every man needs adventure to be happy, and a happier man is a better partner.
Here are some practical action steps to ignite your man’s adventurous spirit:
1. Structure your schedule around small adventures.
Does your man like to hit the gym? Run the trails? Go camping? Help make the time in your schedules to fit it in. Don’t make a big deal out of it–just let him know he’s welcome to go mountain biking Saturday morning if he’d like. Or to stop at the gym on the way home from work.
2. Give him gifts that play to his passions.
Encourage your man with a thoughtful gift. Following last week’s Gift Ideas for Men post, Christine shared an excellent suggestion for supporting your man’s adventurous pursuits: “Some of my guy’s favorite gifts have been the ones that support his hobby. He loves 4-wheeling, so last year he received boots specifically for riding. I don’t know which he liked better, the boots, or knowing that I want him to have special time to “be a man”!”
3. Give permission.
In her cult classic The Tightwad Gazette, Amy Dacyczyn recommends giving the gift of permission to your spouse to pursue a favorite activity. Has your man been wanting to buy new sports equipment, or to spend a weekend skiing with the guys? Give him permission to spend the time and the funds on his adventure.
Now, this is not an alternative to sending your man out to find his own adventure–but it’s a nice corollary. You can hike, or travel, or take scuba lessons–together. You can even involve the whole family.
5. What if my man doesn’t want to climb Everest/shoot the rapids/tube Niagara Falls?
Not every man dreams about roughing it in the Great Outdoors! The thing about his adventurous spirit is that it’s his alone–so focus on your man’s goals, passions, ambitions. Don’t try and make him something he’s not. But encourage him to become all he can be.
Photo credits: Haystack mountain, sailboat, Tirol Bike trail