How to Encourage the Man in Your Life: Ignite His Adventurous Spirit

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 husband adventure ignite adventurous spiritEncourage 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.

encourage your man seek adventure together husband4.  Seek adventure together.

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

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  1. Hannah says:

    One of the greatest joys in being married for several years is learning that it’s a good thing to encourage him to have some interests apart from me. I’ve also noticed that having a wife who encourages him gains him admiration from his friends, and there’s no better way to honor him than that!

  2. I love this post for so many, many reasons. Thanks so much! I have to say that encouraging your hubby to pursue his interest is not always easy, but it is worth it. Last weekend was my hubby’s first summer 4-wheeling weekend. He took our oldest son with him (great father-son time) and had a great weekend. I missed him greatly, and told him I would, but that I still wanted him to go. He had a great time, and he is refreshed and encouraged. Missing each other for a weekend reminds us of how much we mean to each other.

  3. Amber @ says:

    My husband is a triathlete. With a toddler and a 5-month old, there are times when I wish he wouldn’t need to train so much (boy ol’ boy I would love 2 hours all to myself, on a run..). But I keep my lips sealed and give him a kiss on his way out. When he comes home he is more than willing to give me some alone time and takes on the kiddo responsibility with zest. I figure, give a little, get a little and we all end up the happier for it 🙂 Great post!

    • Leigh Ann says:

      What a good reminder. I can get so bitter sometimes when my hubby goes for a bike ride, even the short ones. I have a 5 month old and 2 hours of alone time would sure be nice. 😉 Heck, I’d love to bike ride too … BUT it is so true that he comes home refreshed and ready to dive right into serving his family again!

      • Anne says:

        It’s great to encourage your man–but if you could use a bike ride too, try to make it happen. Post on that coming soon….

  4. I ADORE this post … on so many levels.

    I’m trying so hard to do this, too. When my husband and I met, he rode mountain bikes, scuba dived, and ran. Since the kids came along, it’s been years since he rode or dove. My solution to this — I send him info I see about bike races, triathalons, etc.

    I’m planning on buying him some trail running shoes for his Father’s Day Gift … to let him know I celebrate HIM, and what he loves to do, and that I want him back out there again ….. it’s good for his health, his sanity, and our relationship.

    • Anne says:

      Brochures and race info sounds like a great way to encourage him! And, you know–when I was writing this, I was remembering a post I’d read of yours: endorphins make you happy!

  5. Leigh Ann says:

    I don’t know which he liked better, the boots, or knowing that I want him to have special time to “be a man”!”

    This was my favorite quote from this post. What a wonderful reminder. I think this is a perfectly good Father’s Day gift for my hubby. 🙂

  6. Emily Scheid says:

    I recently found your blog and have been encouraged and challenged by it! This post was an excellent reminder, and definitely some things I need to work on.

    But I’d also like to say that although I agree with the idea of #3 (Give Permission), I would suggest a different wording. I think of permission as something granted to someone under your authority. I am not my husband’s “authority” and so I feel like giving him “permission” to do something is belittling. Maybe saying that we should offer our “enthusiastic support” (or something similar) to our husband’s pursuits would better convey this idea in a more respectful way?

    Either way, this was a great post, and I appreciated it! 🙂

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