The Importance of Adventure as a Married Couple

adventure as a married couple

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The Importance of Adventure as a Married Couple

I’m a Christian mental heath therapist. I work with married couples from all walks of life and in various stages of their marriage. Some of the couples are wanting to focus on addressing situational issues. Other couples are fighting tooth and nail to keep their marriage a float.

Therapy can be hard to go through. Marriage counseling is even harder.  As the therapist, I am asking couples to identify their own past wounds, faulty logic, and vulnerabilities. Then we have to see how those issues coming together are causing problems. It takes work. Obviously the payoff can be huge though!

One of the recommendations that I give couples seeing me for therapy is to have an adventure together. An adventure is not going to solve their problems but it will help them feel connected and create positive memories.

I explain it in terms of a bank account. If you as a couple are struggling and strained and having arguments you are withdrawing from the account. You can only withdraw so many times before your account is going to go negative. You need some deposits in the account to keep it from going red!

Adventure as a married couple is important and can increase connection!

Adventure increases dopamine

Dopamine is a chemical that gets released when we experience something exciting. It can be physical activities, exercise, sex, risk taking, thrill seeking etc. When a person experiences an increased level of dopamine you feel invigorated, a sense of alive, and engaged in the world.

Wouldn’t that experience be good to have with your spouse!?

Going on an adventure with your spouse increases the connect to that person because our brain also connects the increase in dopamine to that them. And whether you are having marital issues or not, having your brain connect your spouse to feelings of invigoration, a sense of being alive and feeling engaged in the world is a good thing!

Men desire adventure

All little boys at sometime or another played cops and robbers, good guys and bad guys, superheros, knights and dragons. They all have one thing in common – overcoming adversity! Succeeding! Winning the challenge!

Then somewhere down the road that desire and passion can get lost. The themes of protect and provide turns into careers and budgeting. And it loses the adventure. Unless a raise was involved, I don’t know many men who get an increase in dopamine while doing the budget!

Men want to experience the thrill of excitement! They also want to do those things with their spouse. As long as the spouse is willing and not dragging her feet! (I can’t stress how important that is!!) Men want to show off. Think about the animal kingdom. God made the male creatures more colorful and vibrant than the female to show off and win the affection of the female creature. Do we really think humans are much different in this way?

Our men also have a desire to protect and save. Think of the games boys played. There usually was a girl to rescue! This is not because boys think girls can’t do anything it is because boys want to be important to the girls! Our husbands want to be important to us and they want to protect us!

John Eldredge wrote the book Wild at Heart. It is the best book I have ever read to explain a man’s heart! It explains this desire for adventure far better than I could dream to in this post. I highly recommend the book for both husbands and wives to read.

Women yearn to be a part of an adventure

Remember the games boys play? Little girls love to be the one rescued! But then they want to fight right along side them! I see this theme over and over again with my son (age 7) and my daughter (age 4). She initially gets taken by the enemy, bad guy, dragon, etc. and then brother has to fight to rescue her. Once rescued, he hands over one of his weapons to her and they fight side by side until the adversary is defeated. They love it! And I love watching it!

It is so true of a woman’s heart. We want to be sought after and desired. Women want to know we are important enough to be protected. And then we want to help! We want to show our value, too! John and Staci Eldredge wrote the book Captivating. It is my #1 recommended book for my female clients and their husbands to explore and understand the desires of a woman’s heart.

Going on an adventure with your husband allows this desire to take place.

My husband and I went backpacking in Yellowstone when our son was about two. We sent him to the grandparents and we drove from Northern Wisconsin to Yellowstone. To have more time in the park we even drove through the night. We hiked to each of our camping sites and stayed four nights in the woods.

It was amazing to have four days with just my husband and no other distractions beside the beautiful nature all around.

And their is risk involved. There are grizzly bears in Yellowstone. There are also rattle snakes and the potential of mountain lions. To cook you have to make sure you are down wind from your tent. You also cook separate from where you store your food, which is also away from your tent. The food you pack should also be in an dry bags to keep the elements out but also to reduce the smell.  It is also a good idea to not sleep in the clothes you were cooking in.

Adventure is subjective

You may be reading this and thinking there is no way I would go backpacking in Yellowstone for four nights! That’s okay. Your kind of adventure doesn’t have to be what my husband and I do. It doesn’t have to be the same thing your friends or neighbors do. Find adventure that you and your spouse enjoy together.

Adventure as a married couple also doesn’t have to be only outdoor activities. I have known couples who find excitement and adventure in going to auctions or antique stores. One couple were avid readers and collectors of first addition books. Their adventure was scouring through old used bookstores for priceless and signed additions. Some couples are collectors of agates.

My husband and I also enjoy geocaching. It’s like a big treasure hunt all over the world. You use a handheld GPS and plug in the coordinates to find the cache. There’s not the level of risk as going backpacking in the woods but it’s an adventure. I get to help my husband find the treasure! You are not finding anything of value, sometimes little trinkets, and other times the cache is so small it only fits a slip of paper to sign so you can brag you found it. It’s about the time together and the challenge of completing the task.

In closing, adventure as a couple is not going to fix your marital issues. But adventure does increase your connection to your spouse! Adding to your connection as a couple is important at any stage of your marriage!

I sincerely pray that this post finds you and your spouse exactly when you need it!

For more information about marriages check out Why 50/50 marriages don’t work and When you put your marriage first the whole family wins.

God Bless,

Melissa Gendreau

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About Melissa

Melissa is a Christian mental health therapist, wife and mommy of two. She works with children, teens, adults, and couples to better manage their distress and hopefully become closer to God in the process.

20 comments on “The Importance of Adventure as a Married Couple

  1. I know our idea of an adventure as a couple is more tame, but we love to explore a new place together. It’s been awhile since we did that. But even just trying a random new restaurant can be a bonding experience. There is definitely an emotional reaction to being in a new experience together.

    • Adventure certainly doesn’t have to be a focus on thrill seeking or risk taking! My husband and I enjoy seeking out new coffee shops. Even if we are reading out own books and sitting in silence it is connection! God Bless!

  2. Thank-you for reminding me of the importance of connecting with my husband through adventure. It’s easy to get caught up in parenting (especially when it’s the high needs of a child impacted by trauma). I’ve ready Captivated, but not Wild at Heart. Perhaps it’s time I check that out.
    I’ll be intentional about finding time for an adventure. Thanks for the inspiration!!

    • Time connecting with your husband is all the more important when parenting a child impacted by trauma! Parenting can be stressful, overwhelming, and all-consuming! It’s amazing how a small adventure with your favorite person in life can be refreshing and connecting! God bless!

  3. What a fun idea, to go on regular adventures with your spouse, to make life more interesting. We recently took a trip to Guatemala to see the country where I grew up as a missionary kid, and our adventure caused our hearts to be woven together in ways that staying at home would have never evoked. My husband found out interesting things about me he never knew because of the adventure.

    • What a wonderful time together! I’m sure it will be something you remember and share for a lifetime! Thank you for stopping by and commenting! God Bless!

  4. I have always wanted to try geocaching, especially as I’m already into camping/hiking/backpacking, but I haven’t tried it because I try to go technology free when I’m out in nature (cell phone packed in case of emergency but mercifully turned off). You’ve inspired me to give it a shot anyways and take advantage of the cooling temperatures this time of year to try something new outdoors!

    • I love hiking with my husband! It’s so wonderful to be out in God’s country with my favorite person in this world! I’m glad you found some adventure to share with your husband! God Bless!

  5. My husband and I adventured a lot pre-baby era. Now we have two under 4 and our biggest adventure is getting through the day without poop on our hands. 😉 We don’t have family in town for date nights and babysitters are out of our budget for the time being. We need to figure out a way to implement even a small bit of this back into our lives. <3

    • When our two kids were little (We had two under 3 so I get it!) we tried to bring the adventure to us! We would order-in from a restaurant we had never tried or attempted to cook some different cultural cuisine. We would add some music from the area for added effect! I hope you can find something to stay connected during the difficult toddler years! God bless!

    • Sometimes part of the fun of adventures is planning them! I hope you have one on the schedule soon! Thank you for stopping by and commenting! God bless!

  6. My husband and I have undergone marriage counseling and workshops before, so I can agree that date-nights are so important. Even as a mom, I have learned to appreciate time to just be silly as an adult, with and without my kiddo, which is very healing to the soul! Thanks for sharing what I think so many marriages are quick to place on the back burner!

    • Oh it is so healing to the soul! Just the other day, my husband was wrestling with the kids and and I added myself to the match. It was so much fun! Actively participating and seeking out “fun” is so beneficial! God Bless!

  7. Oh, yes! Adventures for husbands and wives are a wonderful way to build connection!

    Our latest adventure is traveling and living in our RV full time. We dreamt of it before we married (33 years ago) and still have the letters where we wrote to each other about our ideas. It’s been a desire during our married life that had to wait till the kids were grown, but it happened.

    I can also attest to your point about leaving the children for a bit to have adventures with just the two of you – husband and wife! We’ve been asking our adult children if they ever felt bad because we did this all their growing up years, and they’ve assured us that it didn’t impact them negatively at all. Rather, they were/are thrilled to have memories of “alone” times with their grandparents, and the trusted friends we left them with.

    What delights us now is that our adult son and daughter-in-love (married 7 years) are taking time to adventure together. They’ll leave the grandboy with us (we’re kinda tethered to where they live because of that little boy) and we’re all thrilled! 😉

  8. My husband is my full time carer as I’m physically disabled but we create special moments every day at home. Morning tea in the garden, watching a favourite show together, reading together etc.
    Our crazy adventures are when I’m feeling well enough to get out to a local cafe with him. We both relish it. It’s a massive effort but we get such a sense of achievement. It’s all relative isn’t it depending on life’s circumstances.
    Love your post xx

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