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.
I have four young children ages 10, 8, 4, and 2. They keep me busy. Sometimes just keeping their fingernails clipped feels like a full time job. Those things grow fast! I love being a mom. I love being the CEO of my home and the primary caregiver of my kids. Being a mom gives me purpose and there is nothing I would rather do. Yet at the same time being a mom is also the hardest thing I have ever done. It stretches me to my limits daily. Those little people that I would move heaven and earth for also drive me to insanity and get me angrier than I would like to admit. I have found it hard not to lose myself entirely in motherhood. The yoga pants, quick showers, grocery shopping, house cleaning and owie kissing take up my days. When I let those things define me I find myself depressed. Not that I don’t appreciate that I have people to do those things for but I drown myself in them. Every once and awhile I go out to dinner with girlfriends and I get my head above water. I do something that I used to make time for and the passion for life awakens inside me.
Two weeks after I had my fourth baby we went on a spontaneous family trip to Moab, Utah. We went because I was tired of being in the house with my boob out nursing my constantly hungry baby. I figured I could feed my baby on the red rocks of beautiful Moab just as well as I could on the couch. That trip wasn’t easy. Between sleeping on a chair in a camping trailer and waking up every hour to nurse I was sleep deprived and uncomfortable. I wondered if the trip was worth it. Then we went exploring. I enjoyed myself and changed my attitude. I was glad we came. The struggle was worth it after all.
While we were driving and enjoying the sites of the beautiful red rocks I had a moment that changed the way I live my life. God whispered to me. It was an undeniable moment that I have played over in my mind a thousand times. He told me that I needed to get out and play. I had one life and I needed to live it. I needed to get out and enjoy the things that made me feel alive. I came home from that trip determined to play more, to go on more adventures and do things that made me happy. No more excuses. However, I had a couple of very good excuses.
I have four kids and a busy husband, who as much as he supports me in getting out of the house has a thriving career of his own. To solve this I decided to start getting a babysitter more. Instead of waiting for my life to settle down and arrange itself in a manner where I had time to get out of the house I made the time. I got on Care.com and started interviewing babysitters. I hired a few of the ones I loved and I started getting out of the house weekly. I didn’t wait for my husband to be home and watch the kids. I didn’t feel guilty about the money I was spending on the babysitter. I changed my perspective and knew that it would make me a better mom and wife if I took care of myself as well as them. And you know what? It has. This past year I have felt more alive and have done more of what I love than I have since I became a mom 10 years ago.
I also still take care of my family. In fact, I would argue that now I do it better than ever. I am happier, more confident, and better able to take care of my family and keep up with household tasks. Instead of surviving life I am thriving in it. I don’t wait for opportunities to come to me I make them happen. My advice to all moms is get the babysitter. Your kids won’t be abandoned if you leave for a few hours. Do them a favor and let them see the light for life ignited inside you. Let them see you thriving at life instead of just surviving it. By doing that you actually give them permission to thrive in life and do what makes them happy. Be their example of work hard, play hard. Live your best life. You only have one. #OneLifeLiveIt #GetOutThereGirl #Adventurette #GetTheBabysitter