Every man has a passion. You know they do. Whether it be football, golf, computer games, hunting, or whatever, they all have a passion. Ideally, they have a passion for more than just these things – like Jesus or us…
But if you are like me, you got more than you ever thought you would when you married your man. I now own more plastic ducks, camouflage attire, and mounted deer heads than I ever thought anyone needed. I married into these things and have even acquired some of my own camouflage attire in the past ten years since I met the man of my dreams.
When we first got married, I was not so sure about this hunting thing. I would call him on the weekends when we were dating, and he would many times answer the phone with a whisper as he talked to me from the deer stand. While dating, I hiked to the top of a mountain in Kentucky to hunt for turkeys I never saw. At seven months pregnant, I hiked that same mountain in a December drizzle to hunt for deer. When we got to the top on that cold December day, he set me up in a camp chair on the ground. By the time he got up the tree, I was asleep. It was not quite six o’clock in the morning and we had been up since about 4:00am – an hour that does not come naturally to me. I was awake by the time he found a doe that day and helped carry stuff back down the hill.
In the years since, our children get excited to go with daddy to do the same thing – sit as quietly as they can in a deer stand and help look for deer. They love it – and so does their daddy.
These are the wonderful memories of what has become a wonderful marriage.
But these passions that seem to run through his blood have not always come easy to me. The days when I am tired and feel like I am raising these kids on my own, and he heads for the deer stand. Or the moments where it would be nice if daddy were home to play a game or something, but he’s looking for a turkey. I can easily fall into a trap of frustration and annoyance – which as you can imagine, always makes for a wonderful marriage.
I am for sure I am not alone in this. Your husband does it too, no doubt. He may not be looking for deer or turkeys, but he may be playing a computer game till late in the evening or head out early Saturday morning for a multiple-hour round of golf or even taking over the living room as he watches that all-important ball game. Those passions we saw in our men when we met them, or even ones they have developed over years, can be sources of great joy and intense frustration.
The joys, well, those are good things. But how do we deal with it the when they become frustrations?
I know what happens at our house. I have expectations of what I would like my husband to do or how I would like him to do things. Most of the time, though, I just assume his priorities line up with mine, and, of course, he can surely read my mind. So when my expectations are not met, I get annoyed. And the longer he is gone, the more annoyed I become. What to do? Well, a couple of things. I know in our case this was my sweet husband’s passion when I married him. If I really expected him to give it up or cut it back to next-to-nothing, then I was only fooling myself. It is a part of him. It is the way he relaxes, the way he processes, the way he thinks. He has spent more time talking with God out there, wrestling even at times with life and circumstance, coming back with peace and hope. These are good things.
I know not all passions seem to allow for such things, but I do know that men need time in “the zone.” I have heard it referred to as a “nothing box.” They need this time to shut down for a minute and take the weight they carry for our marriage, for our family, and even for their work and lay it down – if only for a time. This shut down time helps them start again, going at it another day.
Their passions, no matter what they are, can be a struggle for us as wives. I have found that I should never take that passion away or even wish for it to go away, but some things I can do.
I can enjoy the passion with him. I know this doesn’t work for everyone, but it does for us. I don’t get to go with him often these days because of children and such. But when I can, I happily sit in a deer stand and look for deer with him. I even shot a deer once, and he was overjoyed. See picture :).
This time with him can be looked at as a sacrifice on my part. I get up early, hike through snow and sleet, sit in a freezing deer stand, and try not to go to sleep or have to go to the bathroom. But if the truth were to come out, I would not trade these moments for anything. To sit with him and talk to him, uninterrupted for hours, seeing his joy and excitement, listening to him as he tells me what he sees, how he does things and what he is looking for – these things you cannot replace. I get to spend time with that man I love. Not really a sacrifice at all.
The frustrations? Well, they still come sometimes, even when I remember the good things this hunting does for him. I still would like him home instead of in a stand sometimes, but I have found that a little talking to him goes a long way. Not nagging and whining – this doesn’t seem to work. I tried it. Trust me.
But sitting down and sharing with him how I am feeling and why, sharing with him that I am glad he hunts and am thankful for what it does for him, and what I need, taking this time to share my heart with him really does go a long way. This doesn’t always mean he goes hunting less. Truth be told, hunting season doesn’t last all year anyway. Talking, though, does put us both on the same field again, understanding the needs and desires of the other. It doesn’t fix everything all the time, but it is not really my job to fix anything – not me, my husband, or my marriage. My job is to allow Christ to fix me.
These frustrations that come along in marriage are not always there because my husband is doing something wrong or there is an issue in our marriage. Sometimes they come along to challenge and change me. God uses crazy things just like that to work on me. Crazy, yes?
It is this perspective that has changed me many times…and saved my husband from some not-so-nice words. I love my husband and his passion. I love what God has done in him. I love what God has done with our marriage. And at the end of the day, if the biggest frustration I have is that he goes hunting a little more than I would like – well, I am doing pretty good.
When our husbands frustrate us, when we don’t understand the passions that drive them, step back and see what God is doing. Is He working in them, is He working in me, is it a chance to build our marriage? Love them for who they are and what God is molding him to be, including that crazy passion you may never completely understand.
What passion does your husband have and how has God used it?