Sunday, 19 August 2018

10 Relationship tips from the great outdoors

On August 16th we celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary and, as I scrolled back through my "on this day in history" photos, I realised how much of our life we've spent outdoors.  Ours is a tiny milestone (I've warned Steve that he's got at least another 40 or so years with me!) but inevitably, when folks reach magnificent marriage milestones they are asked what the secrets to a long and happy marriage are.  As I pondered this I realised just how much of the advice given for life in the great outdoors applies equally well to relationships.  Things like...

1.  Be properly prepared

Make sure you are prepared for all eventualities.  Conditions in life can change just as rapidly as the weather on the fells tops.  Just because you start out in the sunshine don't expect it to be sunny for the entire journey; make sure you're ready to face the tricky stuff as well as the easy stuff.

2.  Beware of baggage

While it's important to ensure you have everything you need, don't over-encumber yourself.  We've all got baggage but, like a long hike with a large backpack, that baggage will wear you down if you insist on carrying it everywhere with you.  Only keep with you what you really need and leave the rest behind.

3.  Remember to get back to where you started

Burnham Beeches - one of our first dates
All good circular walks require you to get back to where your started.  You may start out bright-eyed and bushy tailed but, by the end of a long hike, you're probably grubby, exhausted, hungry and very glad to get back to where it all began.  It's the same with relationships; when you're worn out and questioning your sanity go back to where it all started and remember why you embarked on this journey in the first place.

4.  Eat well

Stunning food from the Burlington Restaurant
On the fells you need to have plenty of food with you to give you the energy you need throughout the day so load up on chocolate, nuts and bananas. We also need to eat together properly the rest of the time too so swap the occasional TV dinner for dinner at the table or head out for a meal.  We enjoyed a gloriously sumptuous meal at the Burlington Restaurant in the Beech Hill hotel for our wedding anniversary and were thoroughly spoiled - the blueberry souffle was utterly perfect - and the time spent together was just as wonderful as the food.  When you work together it can be doubly difficult spending "non-working" time together talking about other stuff but a stroll around the hotel grounds and a good old natter over dinner did us the world of good.

5.  Make sure you're properly dressed

Layers are the key to life on the fells, lots of layers.  Add them as you get cold and remove them as you warm up again.  Hats are also important - nice warm woolly ones for the winter and baseball caps or something with a peak for the summer.  When it comes to your beloved, don't forget to make the effort occasionally - remember the time and trouble you went to making sure you looked perfect for your first dates?  You don't need to do that every day but now and again is nice.  And as for other clothing you may choose to wear to spice things up - just remember that it's unlikely to be suitable for hill walking...

6.  Stick close together in bad weather

If you're on top of a hill when the weather closes in, keep close together to make sure you don't lose each other.  Sometimes it can only take a moment and someone who is just 10 feet away from you can disappear completely, so keep close.  And when life throws crap at you and things get stormy keep sight of each other, hang on to each other if necessary, but remember you'll have more chance getting through it together than alone.

7.  Close the gate

Probably one of the first things I learned when walking in the outdoors was to always close the gate behind me - it was that and "never drop litter".  Keeping the gate closed keeps the livestock where it needs to be and stops the sheep getting at the crops and scoffing the lot.  In relationships we need to close the gate on past arguments and disagreements - if you leave the gate open stuff is likely to escape and other things will get ruined.  Close the gate and move on.

8.  Work together when overcoming obstacles

It's honestly a bit rich for me to be writing this part as I am the worst person for this and need to be reminded of it regularly - we're in this together so we need to work as a team.  In the same way that climbers rope themselves together and work as a team to reach the highest peaks, so I need to remember that I don't have to fix everything on my own.  Maybe when you're out hiking one of you is better at map-reading and the other is better at making the packed lunches.  Play to your strengths, work together, and everything will be a lot easier.

9.  Know who to call in an emergency

If we get lost on the mountains, or things go wrong, we can always call Mountain Rescue and they'll either come out and get us or talk us down to a place of safety.  Sometimes even the best of relationships go through bad days, weeks and occasionally months when things just don't seem to click in the same way they used to.  Hang in there, talk to people who can help you get a fresh perspective and hopefully you'll be back on the right path again soon.

10.  Enjoy the adventure

Hiking shouldn't just be about ticking off the miles walked or the summits claimed, it should also be about having fun and enjoying the outdoors.  A life long relationship is a huge (and occasionally scary!) adventure, so enjoy it.  It's not all about paying bills and making sure the car gets MOTd in time (I'm looking at you Steve! 😉💝) it's also about enjoying the journey and seeing new stuff along the way.  You're on this crazy roller-coaster together, you may as well enjoy the ride!

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  1. thanks for sweet Relationship tips it help me allot, and hope you will share us more info with us

    Pieces of Perfect Marriage

  2. Brilliant blog, Beth. Made me smile, brought a tear and a great read.