According to author, counselor, and teacher John Eldredge, a man needs three things:
- A battle to fight
- A beauty to rescue
- An adventure to live
For the majority of my marriage I have resisted and resented any time my husband spent away from me and the family. I saw his time away as bad. I assumed that his time would be better spent with us. Plus as a mom I felt like I was trapped at home and he enjoyed more freedom than I did. We got in several arguments about my attitude. He felt guilty each time he left. Needless to say, my husband didn’t go on many adventures. After arguing and having some heart-to-heart talks I tried to shift my thinking. I started paying attention to the benefits that came from my husband going on adventures. Not only did I get to choose the movie that night after the kids were in bed but more importantly my husband came home happier. It turns out that adventure and hobbies gave my husband energy and enthusiasm for life. He needed adventure. With a young family we couldn’t always go on those adventures with him and so I needed to allow him time away.
Something else that helped me see my husband’s need for adventure was when I experienced it myself. The past two years I have started going on my own adventures and I have experienced personally how beneficial they are for the soul. Each time I come home empowered and awakened. This is exactly what my husband was feeling. I had the aha moment.
Now I am far from perfect and I still struggle with Ben leaving sometimes. Just this past weekend he got invited to go canyoneering with his brother down in St.George. I wasn’t thrilled about it but I reminded myself why it’s important. He ended up having a great time and I’m glad he had the opportunity to go.
Having learned this, Ben and I encourage each other in our hobbies and adventures. We are okay when the other person goes away for a bit, knowing that their soul needs it. It doesn’t mean it’s always convenient but it means that we support each other in this aspect as much as we can. As our kids get older we are able to adventure more and more as a family, which is a lot of work but also a highlight for us. We adventure together as a couple, as a family, and also individually.
My advice to you is to let your spouse enjoy their hobbies and go on adventures. Go together as much as possible. If your spouse has a hobby try it out yourself and see if it can become something the two of you do together. Also allow them to go on their own. Witness the benefits of adventure. Make sure you have your own hobbies and go on your own adventures. Experience the good that it does for your own soul and I promise it will open the doors to you giving the same gift to your spouse. You need it. They need it. You have one life, live it. Get out there!
Disclaimer: Everyone’s “adventure” is different. Find yours.