It is officially Fall, and that means one important thing around our household.  My wife will soon become what she (jokingly, I hope) refers to as a “Whitetail Widow” for a couple of months.

You see, I have a small seasonal hobby (i.e., maniacal obsession) known as bowhunting for whitetail deer.  In my defense, she has known about my disorder since we met back in our high school days, so she knew what she was signing up for when she married an outdoorsmen.

Before I go on, let me state for the record that I hunt too much.  Way too much, and my wife deserves better.  She is a Saint, and if I get a vote she’s going straight to Heaven for the good work she is doing to control the rampant deer population.  Sweetie Pie, when you read this (as I know you will), please know that I love you dearly and think you are the best!

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But Honey, Deer Hunting is Good for Our Marriage…Experts Say So!

I have always known that I felt a real primal need to spend time in the woods during this time of the year.  I thoroughly enjoy being outdoors, and I really do like chasing whitetails and trying to master the sport.  But only recently did it really hit me that bowhunting is true therapy for me, and something I need to feed my mind.

I am a fan of Dan Miller who is a career coach and the all-around motivational guy behind the 48 Days network.  I was reading his recent newsletter where he mentioned the idea of “Sitting for Ideas,” a term used by Andrew Carnegie to describe the hours he would spend sitting alone in a room, undistracted, to solve problems.

Likewise, Thomas Edison would go down to the water’s edge each morning, throw out his line – with no bait – and then watch the bobber for an hour until his thinking was ready for the day.  Hen r y Ford insisted that his executives spend a great deal of their work day relaxing to allow them to dream up new ideas.

Even the Apostle Paul would purposely take long walks between cities to give himself time to think and reflect.  See, it is Saintly to support my time in the woods!

The Outdoorsmen’s Version of “Sitting for Ideas”

As I was reading the article, I realized that I share at least one thing in common with all of these brilliant men.  I like to sit in trees!

If you are a hunter, and Midwest bowhunter in particular, you know that our sport involves a lot of isolation.  There is a reason my wife (and others) think I am crazy…a reason other than the fact that it is probably clinically true for a few months a year.

If you get serious about bowhunting, you will find yourself sitting in a treestand as much as an hour before the sun even rises in the morning.  In the evening, you’ll often be 20 feet in the air until well after dusk.  And your sits coul d last anywhere from two hours to a full 14-hour day (if your wife will let you out for an all-day hunt during the rut), often in freezing temperatures.

This time can be spent precisely as Carnegie and Edison described!  Aside from tuning in when a twig cracks under the foot of a nearby animal or movement catches your eye, the majority of time spent hunting from a treestand consists of, well, nothing.

It is just you and God’s creation. Silence.  Sunrises and Sunsets.  Nothing to do but think, reflect and create in your idle mind.  It is a period of true, beautiful peace.

Find Your Own Version of Sitting in a Tree

Now, I realize that not everyone who reads this article will have the desire to become a bowhunter (it’s already tough enough to find a good place to hunt).  However, I bet you can find your own way to sit for ideas, clear your head and open up your creative thinking by “tuning out” for a while.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Do some landscaping
  • Take a quiet bath
  • Play with your children
  • Take long walks
  • Put together a model car
  • Go golfing by yourself and walk the course
  • Take a hike in the woods
  • Try yoga
  • Listen to classical music in an empty room
  • Go fishing
  • Do some knitting

There are many ways to get away from all of life’s constant distractions and allow your mind to solve problems, create, and simply replenish itself.

And offer to watch the kids while your spouse gets their time.  I guarantee your life and your marriage will benefit from a fresh mind, and you may just find enough Zen to maintain your composure when the buck of your dreams sneaks into view!

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” — Henry David Thoreau

Tree photo by by vlod007, Think photo by Howdy, I’m H. Michael Karshis, Deer photo by Charles & Clint


About the author 


Dustin Riechmann created Engaged Marriage to help other married couples live a life they love (especially) when they feel too busy to make it happen. He has many passions, including sharing ways to enjoy an awesome marriage in 15 minutes a day, but his heart belongs with his wife Bethany and their three young kids.

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  2. Being outdoors is incredibly inspiring to me. My wife and I have a little camping trip planned to a favorite lake in an awesome national forest. I can’t wait. I’m sure to come back with some fantastic ideas!

  3. While sitting in a tree is not my idea of fun…I can say that I have always been thankfull that my husband rarely bats an eye at girls night, book club, and shopping ( well sometimes shopping:) or anyother “me” acitivties. He gladly takes the kids and gets what he enjoys as his “daddy only” time. But I on the other hand have not, over the years, been as understanding of his time…his “other true love” is baseball and the Cards. I have never been much for ALL of seemingly endless games he loves to attend. This year I have made an effort (and it was hard) to give him his time as he has always given me mine, and I have to say that we are both happier:)

  4. @Jeff Thanks for stopping by! It sounds like we share a love of the outdoors. While I enjoy bowhunting, I also get energized just being outside whether it be fishing, cycling or just walking with my wife and children on the area trails.

    @Jaycie I’m glad to hear you guys are finding more balance in the “individual fulfillment” part of your marriage. I really think it is important, and we still have plenty to work on when it comes to that. I have been supportive in encouraging Bethany’s book clubs and occasional girls’ nights, but my hunting/cycling/golfing time still exceeds her “alone” time by quite a bit! But that’s why she is a Saint, right? 🙂 We are definitely getting better at finding a balance as our marriage matures.

  5. Relationships are quite complicated one has to face when in trouble, but it’s also not as bad as one would be led to believe in it.Just try to brush away all those misunderstandings and believe in the fact of making-up that relationship all you have to do is to start knowing what really went wrong and what made two humans who loved each other in depth to part their ways, is it because of money mis-management or something else . You can always find the answer here.

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  7. Great post!

    A friend and I often joke that as busy of moms of many little ones, our best ideas ALWAYS happen in the shower. It’s 10 minutes every day when we have time to think without any distraction, and we use it to our advantage.

    I also find that routine tasks, like putting away the dishes or folding laundry, give me time to just think, and a lot of my best ideas come from the time spent doing those tasks. I don’t even have to get away; I just make the most of the opportunities I’m given.
    .-= Mandi @ Organizing Your Way´s last blog ..Organizing Your Way to a Simple Christmas: Baking =-.

  8. Thanks for stopping by, Mandi! I totally agree with you that we also need to take advantage of our daily “breaks” (whether real or just mentally checking out) to let our minds do their thing.

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