Christmas day 2009 I should have known Adam was up to something. Sitting in my parent’s living room I was asked to close my eyes before receiving my Christmas present. I heard the clicks of cameras turning on from our family members as they sat around me. I didn’t even look at the ring when I responded to the question asked. As it turns out the ring was beautiful but the man who gave it to me was even more exceptional.
I should mention that I dislike surprises.
I witness many relationships that are time starved. Lives that are lived almost entirely separate of one another. Spouses who remain detached from each other’s passions. Couples who validate that “date night” is the key to staying committed. I can’t fault anyone for making time for one another but personally, I hate that term. There, I said it. Save me the stuff about how when I have kids I will think differently. Maybe, maybe not. I think I dislike the term because it isn’t used to describe my idea of a memorable time together. Unless date night means flounder gigging I highly doubt I will ever look back on our marriage and remember the restaurant we ate at 100 times or the best movie we saw in the theater (we haven’t been to the movie theater together in over three years).
Being outdoors plays a huge role in our marriage. It is almost an obsession of ours and it is where we spend the majority of our outings together. Without it so deeply rooted in our lives I think we would be lost as husband and wife. Instead of date night, I will remember the time two sandhill cranes flew into the feeder while we were whitetail hunting, or when we got off a plane in California and hiked to the tallest peak in Los Angeles county (over 10,000 ft. elevation). When we trained and completed two 10ks in two different states, worked tirelessly in the Texas humidity to build duck pens or worked together to reel in a 7 ft. sturgeon on the Columbia river.
Our society is caked with stereotypes about hunter’s wives. Painting the picture of an ultra girly wife who nags on their husband when they want to spend money on hunting or fishing gear. The husband who sneaks into a tree blind just to get away from his family. And don’t forget the curse of the pregnant wife during deer season. I am sure this merits some truth to folks, but for me it couldn’t be farther from reality. I can’t imagine how empty I would feel if Adam and I didn’t share and support each other’s passions, especially those involving the outdoors. It doesn’t mean we have to always be together when we do them however, I definitely don’t want to play the sour wife left at home role. I know plenty of non-hunting wives who support their husbands going afield in search of game.
Yes, there are nagging wives who oppose hunting and men who don’t want their spouses to come along; but there are plenty of couples out there who bond over shared hunting experiences and who support each other! Women should never let the disparaging remarks of a man discourage them from hunting. I taught myself to hunt and have had plenty of men laugh in disbelief at the notion I hunt and can gut my own animal. So, I say not to wait on a man for permission. You’ll be waiting a long time and will miss a lot of gorgeous sunrises.
-Whitney Klenzendorf, Whit’s Wilderness
Hunting with your spouse is just as beneficial as it is hunting with anybody. In my opinion, it is even more rewarding. I firmly believe if you share a similar passion for the outdoors, then hunting with your spouse can provide so much more than a memory together. It fosters all the important basics to any relationship: patience, teamwork, communication, and fellowship.
You don’t have to be a hunter for very long to know it requires a patient mindset. Often cold early mornings give way to warm afternoons without seeing more than a squirrel. I am not known for inhabiting a lot of patience (especially if I am hungry), so I get A LOT of practice when I am afield. Often times I feel as though more experienced hunters lose their tolerance for the less experienced hunter. This can lead to an unsafe and ill received hunt. Adam has a lot of intuition and knowledge, even if he is hunting something for the first time. He teaches me a lot when we are hunting together and that requires a lot of patience on his part. In the end he is always there to encourage me. The patience of the hunt and with each other is what strengthens us and makes us a good team.
Teamwork is very important in hunting and in marriage. All the goals that we have reached in our lives together are because we have supported one another. Hunting promotes this idea of unity. Not only is it safe to hunt with another person it is also beneficial. For example, two set of eyes and ears are better than one as you both work towards the goal of harvesting the game you seek. Or sometimes teamwork simply means helping out. Whether it is carrying an extra firearm, setting up the ground blind, tracking a blood trail or processing your game. It is your accomplishments together that really feel good at the end of the day. In fact, sometimes teamwork doesn’t mean hunting together at all
Now that we have a baby, we do have to hunt alone while the other watches the baby. But we’re still there on the journey, supporting each other and making sure the other succeeds. Having that support system and learning the ways of hunting, really brings us closer together.
-Morgan Garcia, Armed Rogue
Communicating is often difficult in a marriage. Even the happiest couples struggle with it’s daily conundrums. Hunting with your spouse leads to a lot of quiet times but it also leads to a lot of various conversations. Whether it is strategizing about the hunt, or debriefing, you are forced to talk it out with your partner. In addition, for you and your spouse to hunt together I believe it is important that you share some of the same ideals about hunting. Even so, talking about it can often lead to good conversation. I didn’t always hunt, but I never let that stop me from having a conversation about it. Having communicated with Adam about the ethics of it I have come to develop my own ideals and reasoning. As our lives developed with more opportunities to share our hunting passion, especially with youth, it is nice to know that we are unified in our beliefs and advice to others. We are more unified as a couple because we share these same ideas.
We both pretty much have the same point of view on hunting and the ethics surrounding it and each pull our own weight in the field so we make a good team.
-Andrea Haas, Huntress View
Life is never boring when you’re married to your hunting partner! I can’t tell you how many times I have laughed and cried with Adam in the field. The fellowship that we get from being together is irreplaceable. We bond over the memories made and we gain a deeper understanding of one another because of them. Ultimately, for me it boils down to being best friends.I trust him and enjoy our accomplishments together. Whether it be hunting, hiking, camping or another outdoor activity we are sharing in our passion which makes us happier people and therefore happier as a couple. That is why Adam makes the best hunting partner for me.
That Christmas day over six years ago I was really saying yes to so much more than being a wife. Since then we have accomplished so much together and we continue to strive towards our passions and goals. It turns out, I was saying yes to a lifetime of friendship and togetherness in the great outdoors.
I was saying yes to the field dress.
Disclaimer: This is not meant to be a “how to” post about marriage or a “why my marriage is better than yours.” I am far from perfect but I am proud that Adam and I enjoy living our outdoor lifestyle together. Happy hunting!