Dinner was good and the movie was boring. The babysitter had texted my wife a total of five times. We started some decent conversations, but most turned to chatter about work, finances and the like. There wasn’t much laughter, and we returned home no more relaxed and connected than when our “date night” had started some five hours earlier.
A few weeks later, I suggested a different approach. I invited my wife to join me on a turkey excursion to Oklahoma. The trip required us to be gone from home for a few nights, and though my bride was a little reluctant to leave our three children, she finally agreed to join me. Truth be told, this was the single most enjoyable trip of my hunting career, and it certainly trumped any dinner-and-a-movie date night.
Even if a few days away on an out-of-town hunting trip aren’t feasible, you may find that a hunting excursion with your spouse – whether they’re a hunter or not – is still better for your marriage than any standard date night.
Here are five reasons why
1. You’re disconnected.
If you’re over 30, you can probably remember a time when people were pretty much unreachable when they left the house. Sure, parents of young children might leave the phone number of the restaurant they’d be at with the babysitter, but that was pretty much the extent of their reachability. You know who didn’t have that restaurant’s phone number? Rick from accounting. You know who else? Your mother-in-law. In the old days, when you left the house, you left behind all those little phone calls that, while they sometimes seem so important today, can almost always wait until tomorrow. Your treestand or ground blind may have cell coverage, but it’s okay to pretend that it doesn’t. Turn off the cellphones and take some time to stare out the window of a ground blind and watch the beauty of nature pass by.
2. It’s exciting.
My wife has seen plenty of movies. What she hadn’t seen before our hunt is a turkey commit to hen talk and decoys. She had never heard a booming gobble or watched the first rays of morning tease the woods to life. For her, the sight of a puffed-up tom and a rooting hog made her heart race a little faster than any Hollywood movie could. As you’ll see from the video, my wife thought an arrow zipping through a jake was “so cool.” Even if your spouse has spent plenty of time in the outdoors, what you’ll see together in the woods will be far more of an adrenaline rush than, say, watching The Age of Adaline.
3. You’ll make memories.
Sure, it’s fun to try a new restaurant or take a long walk on the beach. But those things aren’t often very memorable. But a day in the field will provide experiences that the two of you will share forever – experiences that no one else in the world will be a part of. Whether you have a successful hunt or just spend a few hours watching birds dive bomb squirrels, you’ll most likely return home with some cherished memories.
4. It’s cheaper than most date nights.
Okay, I know hunting equipment isn’t cheap. But if you already have a ground blind or two-person stand and you’re driving to your hunting site, it really doesn’t cost much more to bring along your spouse. And considering the price of movie-theater concessions, a few hours on stand look pretty wallet-friendly in comparison – not to mention a successful hunt will net you some free-range meat that’s definitely better for you than one of those giant buckets of butter-drenched popcorn.
5. You’ll connect in a different way.
They say that you don’t really know someone until you’ve spent 30 minutes sitting with them in silence. Seated across from each other at a restaurant, a half-hour of silence is going to feel pretty awkward. So you’ll fill the silence with small talk or those well-worn conversations about bills and the minutiae of daily life. While you may clock some time together, it’s not the kind of quality time that sitting in the woods together can deliver. There’s no pressure to talk to each other. When you do talk, you may be surprised to find that the conversations you have are deeper and more meaningful.
By the end of our hunt, my wife and I were holding hands as we walked through the woods, gazing at each other like we did when we first met and laughing uncontrollably for no particular reason. The irritations of daily life faded away, and it was just her and me sharing stories about the memories we made and planning more trips for the future.
So cancel your Friday-night dinner reservations, tell your spouse to trade their dancing shoes for scent-free boots and spend your next “date night” 20 feet up a tree.