We are seeing more and more husbands and wives, significant others, and newly dating couples that are basing their relationships around being outdoors. Instead of dinner and a movie, the new norm is target practice and grilling out something that either of you have recently harvested.
Acquiring “His and Hers” weapons is now perfectly acceptable as wedding gifts.
One of the most common questions that people ask me, after they feel comfortable enough to begin asking personal questions, revolves around my ability to balance a marriage and happy relationship with the person whom I spend all of my time at work. Daniel Lee and I literally spend every waking moment together running our production company, hosting a television show together, and living as gypsies on the road while we chase our dreams. I’ll share what I’ve learned, although it might not be what anyone expects a girl like me to say…
- He knows a lot more than I do. Let’s face it; the more years we survive living on this planet, the more knowledge we accumulate in our little human brains. Daniel Lee has been here longer than I have; therefore I listen to what he has to say. When we hunt together we hunt as friends. Just as you would respect your best friend in the woods, we take into consideration what the other is thinking. Our hunting styles are different.
He is patient and calculated. I go in like Rambo. He is a talented outdoorsman who is knowledgeable on all things that have to do with hunting and fishing. I am self-taught and typically pretend my way through when I don’t know what I’m doing.
He has a built in compass. I get lost.
So, I listen. This is the guy I have to live with on days when we aren’t hunting. Giving up the need to be right all the time was one of my biggest accomplishments. And, fortunately for me, I married someone who is right more often than I am.
Anybody who has had the pleasure of meeting Daniel Lee will know exactly what I’m talking about. He’s an absolute riot, and one hell of an outdoorsman.
- Walk in separate directions. Some of my best moments have been spent in the woods when I’m alone. I like to know that I can be there without anybody’s help, just like when I first began learning about hunting.
It’s great to have a hunting partner who you respect and enjoy being with, but there is something healthy about walking separate directions and determining a meeting place at a certain time.
Our time for this is mostly when we hunt hogs. We are both fiercely independent, and hog hunting brings out the caveman in both of us. It’s a no-stress hunt, and neither of us has ever been afraid to get up close and personal with pigs. Therefore, it’s our form of private therapy.
We have learned to choose an area on the property, determine shooting boundaries, set a time to meet back up, and then go our separate ways. In this way we continue learning from each other, all while having some distance between us.
Just like two big Oak trees that grow in the same field. We need space to grow, but we like to look across and see the other thriving in the wild.
- Don’t wear pajamas on road trips. We put about 40,000 miles a year on our truck driving from one location to the next for our production company. We sit side by side in that truck to get from point A to point B, and it’s nice to actually enjoy looking over at the person next to you. I’m not saying that he judges me by my clothing of how my hair looks, but putting a little effort in can go a long way.
Whoever says that television production work is glamorous hasn’t witnessed us on the tail end of a 24 hour road trip.
- He is perfectly capable of driving without my input. We pull a 43 foot production trailer behind our truck everywhere we go. It’s taken me a while to learn that my white knuckled grip on the door handle will not make him press the brakes any faster. It will, however, manage to annoy him. Driving with an annoyed husband is no more fun than driving with a wasp in the cab of the truck. I’m allowed to hold on for dear life, just not every 10 miles.
- Have the same conversations that you had when you first began hunting together. We still talk about the anticipation of a hunt. We still talk strategy on our way to the woods. And we still play our “rally song” on the drive in to ensure that our hunt will be epic. (Our rally song is by Molly Hatchey, “Dreams I’ll Never See)
The moments in between hunting can be just as crucial to your success as the moment you pull the trigger. It all adds up to an experience and a culture that has been passed down to us to ensure our time spent here on Earth is meaningful and fulfilled. For me, talking about the hunt with someone I love brings me back to reality and keeps my feet on the ground. Instead of looking for the next thrill, we re-live the amazing moments we’ve shared in the field.
- Respect their quirks. Sometimes when we hunt I think that I’m the stealthiest girl in the world. I can walk over a trail of dry sticks believing that I haven’t made a sound. Our rule is that when the leader stops, the follower stops immediately also. It’s common courtesy. At times I have thought that Daniel Lee was being loud on purpose. Obviously, he wouldn’t do that, but the hunter inside of me couldn’t help but wonder if I would have better success working alone on that particular stalk.
And then it happens…. I step on a twig that gives out under the weight of my boot, and suddenly I’m a mere mortal again. Just like my husband.
In the same way that I judge his ability to be stealthy, he judges mine.
And we both know that we hunt better together. We have accomplished more as a team than we could have alone. And even if we don’t accomplish our goal, or if our stalk doesn’t work out for some reason, we both mutually agree that the other is just as loud as we are.
- And finally, set your goal ahead of time. When we travel to destinations we have an ultimate plan. We have a production schedule, paperwork to file, budgets to work within, cameramen to organize, shot lists, camera gear to clean and organize, people to entertain, and animals to harvest. It’s a full time job just getting everything ready for the hunt most of the time.
Before we ever arrive on location we determine what our responsibilities are. If Daniel Lee will be hunting and I will be behind the camera, then he is allowed to talk to me just like he might talk to any cameraman. And I can talk to him just like a cameraman would talk to a producer. That boundary and level of respect cannot be taken for granted.
When those rules are set in place we all know what is expected of us ahead of time.
Seeing it all come together makes the long hours worthwhile. We create something amazing every time we go somewhere. I know that I couldn’t do it on my own. My success is completely determined by his.
Keeping that in mind is what makes us work well together. I know he’s typically right more often than I am, we both practice our skills so we don’t let the other down, we remember where we came from, and we enjoy every moment as if it might be our last time taking that walk through the woods in this lifetime. Even if neither of us are stealthy at all.