Happy wife…

My wife and I just celebrated our 9th anniversary. She is most certainly my best friend, soul mate, the rock in our relationship, a fantastic mother, and all that good stuff, but what keeps our relationship strong is her tolerance of me.

I’m sure this sounds harsh. There’s nothing wrong with me per say (others may disagree), but I can be a major pain. I’m a big kid at heart and a hobbyist. I’m always doing something frivolous that usually has little impact on my “real world”: guitars, drums, paintball, online gaming, comic books, Magic the Gathering, hockey, softball, etc. I could argue its in the human male’s nature to take to frivolous activity. Our social networks are usually built around said activities. That’s my theory at least and my social network would support it.

Jessica has been patient through all of this and supported me, but it became harder when the girls were born. My stress spiked and my need to do things outside the family increased. I always had something going on, even when at home, and out of all of these hobbies archery/bowhunting has been the worst (by far). Becoming the president of an organization hasn’t helped matters.

But something special happened in my pursuit of all things bow and arrow. Jessica found out about a semi-competitive ladies archery league at work and joined soon after. She began shooting every Friday night and shot more in 2014 than the passed two years combined. I had nothing to do with any of it.

I’ve been elated about all of the above for several reasons. For starters, I’d already done the “guy” thing a few years ago and bought Jessica a custom longbow from St. Joe River Bows. Tracey and Dave are close friends of mine and I wanted her to have the same kind of bow Aubrey and I shot. I even had Tracey tattoo a penguin (my nickname for her) on the riser in silver ink, which was a nice touch in addition to it being black and pink like Aubrey’s bow.

She loved it, but after a year of collecting dust, I was certain this was just another one of those things I tried to get my wife to do because I loved it so much. Now it’s something she enjoys on her own, in addition to being a family activity. In fact, I’m probably the last one she wants to hit the courses with when we go to a rendezvous.

I’m sure the teasing has something to do with that…but I can’t help myself.

On the other hand, practicing in the yard after the girls go to bed has been a lot of fun. I’m hoping we can do so more often and am sure we will as long as I don’t correct her form or mention how much the arrows cost should she break one.

These are important lessons guys. Take notes.

Archery can be a lot of fun, but is also addicting and can be hazardous on a relationship when done in a vacuum. Trying to find ways to get your spouse involved is paramount in making it a healthy activity. However, pushing isn’t good either. You have to let them (he or she) find something they enjoy about it and offer support when they do. Avoid leaving them at home or back at camp to watch the kids. It will become a job to them otherwise. I’ve found that compromise is always king.

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Arrows in the Yard

Since the dawning of my archery obsession I’ve enjoyed shooting within the privacy of my own home the most. Archery may be a wonderful social activity, but that isn’t why I picked up a longbow.

I started shooting to leave the world behind.

Archery was a way to leave the business of life and focus on something simple. Something pure. Something you can lose yourself in completely. In this regard, few things compare to an arrow in flight and the art of putting it there.

Archery is cause and effect and the complexity of the cause leaves little room to think about anything else.

Try to think about paying your bills while shooting a bow. You can’t do it – at least not very well. The act of casting an arrow requires a commitment – mentally as well as physically. You have to give yourself to it to do it correctly and once you’ve learned to do it well, the trivial details of the process suddenly melt away until only the arrow remains.

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “arrow therapy” by now and that is precisely what I’m describing, or prescribing for that matter. There are few things in life I enjoy as much as the solace of shooting arrows in my backyard.

Try it…and watch the stress melt away.

Note: I realize there are folks in urban settings who are not allowed to shoot a bow outdoors. I was once in the same situation, but found a way around it with a small practice range in my basement. It was an old Michigan-style dug out basement I couldn’t even stand up in, but I made do by shooting from a seated position. With only 7 yards to work with there wasn’t much I could do but work on my form, but that was enough. All you need is some kind of backstop. I suggest old fouton cushions or large Styrofoam blocks.





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