But You Could Die!

Over on The Generous Husband last week I wrote about a fellow with a wife and three young children who went on a three-day hike, fell, and spent 72 two hours at the bottom of a canyon with a broken leg wondering if he was going to die there.

But You Could Die!

One female commenter asked (perhaps predictably?) why anyone would put themselves at such risk. My thought is it’s a guy thing. Getting out in God’s world isn’t a guy thing, and neither are enjoying hiking or wanting solitude. But the whole man against the mountain testing of oneself does tend to be a masculine trait. It’s a form of risk taking, something men do way more than women. (Which is why more men than women have gambling addictions, and why more men can’t put down video games.)

We want to test ourselves, and without some risk, it doesn’t feel like a real test. If your husband feels this way, you can’t stop him. You might stop him from doing certain things, but if he has a deep desire to test himself it will come out somewhere. And all too often it comes out on the road!

My suggestion is for you to embrace his need to test himself. Aside from the fact this will make him feel loved and understood, it gives you the chance to add some sanity to what he does and occasionally veto or suggest a change to something that’s too crazy. 

So, for example, if he’s into hiking, make sure you know where he is going. Make sure he has water and food, a way to start a fire, a signal whistle, a small first aid kit and a flashlight. Buying him something cool like a hand-crank flashlight, a pocket fire starter plus, or a LifeStraw shows you care about what he desires to do, and also increases his safety. 

For other activities, you might research and learn about safety equipment or classes that would teach him how to be safer. The goal is to allow him do what he wants in a safer way.

~ Paul – I’m XY, and I solo hike in a safe way.

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12 Comments on “But You Could Die!

  1. a buddy’s wife is obnoxiously scared of everything even remotely dangerous. She has huge amounts of anxiety over small things, like him doing a triathlon because “he could drown”. The same about us going off shore fishing, or that we will shoot each other hunting when both of us are very experienced and safe hunters. She misses out on a lot of fun things in life because she seems scared of everything, and it creates a lot of stress in their marriage because he has drawn a line in the sand that he will not allow her to pass on her fear of everything to their kids.

    • I have compassion for your buddy and you’re right, she’s missing out on much. I have found that if I go with my husband a time or two and see how smart & careful he is, my fear lessens greatly. However, when he has been injured and I can see how it was preventable, my trust goes down and my fear increases. I still ask him to be careful and I pray when I am uncomfortable with what he is doing. And I try to keep my mouth shut!

      • People are irrationally afraid of things they are unfamiliar with and overestimate the danger, but are the complete opposite of things they are familiar with and underestimate the danger. My buddy’s wife is scared of the ocean because of “sharks” as there was a shark attack in California (they live on the complete other side of the country), despite the fact that getting killed by a shark is slightly less likely than winning the lottery. However, is perfectly fine driving in a major metro area, which kills hundreds of people in their area annually. The same can be said about worrying about drowning in a triathlon, which does happen but is pretty rare, again is perfectly fine with him eating himself to death with fast food……which will absolutely shorten his lifespan.

          • @Paul, of course she thinks it’s dumb to do some of what he likes to do, so much more convenient to throw the dangerous flag on something you don’t like.

        • Hubby believes, and I to a certain extent, that we will die when and how God ordains. I am,personally more cautious, but I don’t hound my husband if he wants to go,shooting, hunting, or fishing. In fact, I welcome him to enjoy these activities.

          Where we differ a little is what we allow our children to do. I may keep my mouth shut, but I am wringing my hands, sometimes. I also wash my hands of more dangerous activities and say they are not allowed unless hubby is right there with them, like archery or BB guns.

  2. Thank you for this post! My motorcycling hobby causes many others to raise the same questions. However, I am an “All The Gear, All The Time” (ATTGAT) rider. This year’s adventure will take me around Lake Superior in July. It should be noted that I’m not going alone and my schedule is fairly relaxed.

  3. It depends on the level of danger. I would be petrified if hubby wanted to take up skydiving. But fishing, hunting, motorcycles don’t bother me. I know he will be properly geared up for those and for the most part he is in complete control. I do also know that if he does go off and do something completely crazy and super dangerous he’s got s nice life insurance policy. If your spouse is prone to very high risk adrenaline pumping hobbies make sure he’s covered so you will be taken care of if the unthinkable happens.

    • You are about a hundred times more likely to die in a motorcycle accident than skydiving

  4. When I was eighteen I flew a small aeroplane through a set of 250,000 volt main transmission lines, and the experience changed me (well, in other ways besides the permanent Afro).

    Danger for its own save, or for ‘proving’ myself, became something unutterably stupid and wasteful; on the ten-minute flight back to the airfield, with my throat cut, the aeroplane in tatters, and fading in and out of consciousness, I pondered much.

    No-one impressed by our bravado is worth impressing, especially if we’re impressing ourselves, but dangerous endeavours have a place.

    They act as a reminder that our life is not really ours, and that the edge is rather closer than we think. They prevent comfort and complacency in a temporal permanence, and are a reminder that Aslan is indeed not a tame Lion.
    Andrew Budek-Schmeisser recently posted…Your Dying Spouse 442 – From Barbara {FMF}My Profile

  5. Great post! It is very true that women are typically more cautious than men are. Yet in looking at your example of hiking, I feel that doing those suggested things could be insulting to his intelligence! Of course, if he is about to set off on a desert hike with only one 16 oz bottle of water and no hat, then a warning would be in order. :) However, I really don’t think most men would take too kindly their wives “smothering” (over-mothering) them. I mean no disrespect at all, but am I off the mark?

    • @Wendy – There can certainly be an issue if it comes across as mothering or thinking he’s stupid.

      Getting involved to the point of understanding it is a good way to go. Know enough to discuss it, and that becomes a tool for nudging him without sounding like his mother. Gifting him “toys” for his activity shows interest and gives him good tools.

      Then there is “would you do it for me, it will make me feel better.”
      Paul Byerly recently posted…Friday Flashback: Caring Less Provides Power, Not HappinessMy Profile

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