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Understanding my husband’s hobbies brought us closer together

I’VE LEARNED THAT little can prepare stepfamilies for the blended journey. Surprises are standard. So successful remarriages require adaptability. For me, this learning curve first appeared in the form of my husband’s interests — hunting and fishing.

Robbie is a 21st-century Daniel Boone. There’s not an animal he can’t kill, skin and fry up for dinner. I had never been around an outdoorsman, and I soon realized I was a fish out of water.

While watching a fishing show (something Robbie mysteriously finds entertaining), an angler explained he was “ripping the Rat-L-Trap out of the coontails.” My brow crinkled and head cocked. I was truly fishing for a connection here. The words sounded like English but made no sense.

A new language

Outdoorsman talk was a new dialect of the English language for me. Personally, I like reading, writing and crafting, and I don’t like sweating. So learning an “outdoorsy” lingo and lifestyle wasn’t my idea of fun. But I did know I loved this man, and if being closer to him meant giving up a little comfort, I felt the extra work was worth it.

I started my new education, fishing for a connection, by asking lots of questions. “What’s a Shakey Jighead? What’s a Whopper Plopper? How does a deer rut?”

At times, learning the jargon was exhausting, and I often felt stupid. Robbie was confused by my ignorance, thinking everyone knew these terms. But in order to communicate, fellowship and encourage this man, I had to learn his mysterious language. And soon he even enjoyed imparting his knowledge to me, an eager listener.

Speaking his language

Eventually, I chose connection and organized a fishing trip for our anniversary. Robbie teemed with pride when I caught a 6-pound trout. I’ve never seen him more in love.

Now, years later, I’m still not outdoorsy. I don’t anticipate deer season or practice duck calls. I’ve gained new experiences, though, including shooting guns at the range and reloading ammo. But the greatest gain is the ability to talk to my husband about what he loves, and best of all, catch that penetrating glimmer in his eyes when I join him on his adventures.

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