I live in a cabin in the woods, 25 miles from the nearest small town. It’s just me, my husband, our baby, and our dog out there—and we wouldn’t have any other way. And, actually that’s just the start: our dream is to own a large piece of land and live as much of a self-sustainable life as possible. My husband is learning to hunt and I’m planning a garden so we can have food throughout the year from our own land. At some point, our goal is to have a dairy cow and goats.
I grew up a city girl, so living in a cabin in the woods is something I never would have thought of doing if it weren’t for my husband. But it’s amazing how your dreams can change and shift when you meet your spouse. When I first met the man who was to become my husband, I was unaware of how our relationship would change the way I look at the world. But by exploring each other’s interests—my husband has an amazing love for being outdoors; I am very crafty and a big DIY person—we developed a dream and set goals that we could never have achieved on our own.
It was evident from the start that camping and outdoors were a priority in my man’s life. The same Christmas that he proposed to me, I bought him a tent. We started planning our wedding, and camping trips. Of course I was a little more excited about the wedding, but I was willing to give camping a try when the time was right.
Shortly after we got married we set out on our first camping trip. After that weekend, we started to camp a lot—and by a lot I mean almost every weekend that the weather was good and I wasn’t working. We’ve gone so many places now, that I can’t remember where we went first!
In the beginning, camping was something novel and fun just to try. I didn’t realize that it would become a deep-set passion of mine that would develop into a crazy love for nature. But through opening myself to pursue a passion that my husband loved, I found something in me that I didn’t know was there. I am so happy that I stepped out of my box and jumped into a new world of camping, backpacking, and exploring nature. Now I love taking walks and hikes in the woods any chance I get.
Our love of nature led us to our first big adventure at Yellowstone National Park. After about a year of marriage we quit everything and hit the road to go work at Yellowstone for a summer and explore its amazing beauties. That was one of the best things we have ever done. It was a huge risk, and one we didn’t take lightly. Here we were, a married couple with jobs—me, a barista at Starbucks; my husband a data entry clerk—with rent to pay and a fair amount of college debt. But I can say that I don’t regret it for a minute. We were able to experience one of the most beautiful places on earth together.
After that adventure we settled back down to “normal” life with jobs and a dog and a cabin in the woods. Of course, a cabin in the woods isn’t so “normal!” Again, this wasn’t something that I thought I would love, but after allowing myself to give it a try, I found that I don’t ever want to live in a city again. My husband feels similarly. He also grew up a city person and it was new to him too to live in the country. But we have both decided it won’t ever be any other way. We’ve even started to realize our dreams of living off the land by slowing building up our skills and taking baby steps to create our homestead. We now have chickens, make our own soap, and built a beehive.
Neither of us would be where we are or sharing such an amazing dream and goals if we hadn’t first opened ourselves up to learning each other’s interests. My husband’s love of all things outdoors has instilled in me a love of nature, and sharing with him my DIY skills has instilled and reinforced his desire to live off the land. And it’s not just being knowledgeable about the other person’s interests and supporting them in words, but actively participating in their hobbies and spending time with each other.
Some of the best conversations we’ve had were around a campfire or tromping through the woods. It helps us to share our hearts when we are working on a project together. (And at times has tested our patience!) Building something together has drawn out character traits in us, too. There’s nothing like building a compost heap with your husband to teach and practice forgiveness and selflessness.
Your spouse has something amazing to offer if you will only take a moment to be active in his or her world. Imagine what kind of dreams you can achieve when you work at it together, and enjoy the surprises that you’ll discover in each other.