How to be a better adventure partner for your better half

Common sense says it’s safer to adventure with a buddy, and chances are, if you’re in a committed relationship, that buddy looks a lot like a wife or boyfriend — which is great if both of you are equally passionate and experienced in the same outdoor activities.

Fat chance.

Common sense says it's safer to adventure with a buddy. It also says to be patient when that buddy is also your SO. Photo: Johnie Gall

Be patient when your adventure friend is also your significant other. Photo: Johnie Gall

Adventuring with your better half is going to take a little trial and error. At best, you’ll become each other’s most trusted partners, the ones you wouldn’t imagine exploring without.

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At worst, you’ll turn your partner off from your favorite pastime for good. Here are a few tips for keeping the peace and being a better adventure partner for your significant other (SO).

Approach new activities with caution

Keep an eye on one another — literally and figuratively — and your first go together should be memorable in a good way. Photo: Courtesy of Zachary Staines/Unsplash

Keep an eye on one another — literally and figuratively — and your first go together should be memorable in a good way. Photo: Courtesy of Zachary Staines/Unsplash

The quickest way to ensure your significant other learns to dread going mountain biking? By taking her to the top of a black-diamond downhill run and getting impatient when she won’t put her feet on the pedals.

Choose realistic routes, trails and weather conditions, and keep your first day out together a short one. Approach new activities with a lot of patience and understanding; try to put yourself in his or her shoes and remember what it was like to be a beginner.

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Your SO is probably putting aside a lot of fear and unease to get out there with you, so it’s your job to make him or her feel comfortable and appreciated.

Wait for your SO at difficult sections of trail, give her helpful tips without being condescending and, most importantly, don’t force anything! Know when you’ve reached your limit. There’s always next time.

Let a pro be the boss

Sometimes, it's best to leave the teaching to a professional. Photo: Courtesy of Johnie Gall

Sometimes it’s best to leave the teaching to a professional. Photo: Johnie Gall

Take a good, hard look at your own personality. If you tend to be impatient or become frustrated easily, maybe it’s best to let a stranger teach your SO your favorite outdoor activity.

A guide or instructor is trained to deal with a beginner’s mental and physical barriers with more knowledge and patience, and by allowing a professional to take the role of teacher, you get to be the “good guy” and cheer on your husband from the sidelines.

Another plus? There’s bound to be fewer angry words and tears when there’s a stranger with you.

Give yourself little breaks

Take breaks outdoors and no one will threaten to take a break for good. Photo: Amber L. Photography

Take breaks outdoors and no one will threaten to take a break for good. Photo: Courtesy of Amber L. Photography

When emotions run high during a challenging first backpacking trip or frustrating climb, give yourself a break from the activity to just enjoy each other’s company.

Schedule in plenty of rest breaks, make sure everyone is hydrated and well fed and make it a point to verbally thank your partner for his or her efforts.

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Talk about how great the weather is, how lucky you are that you both have the day off or how much fun it will be when you can both go surfing together.

Offer something in return

Another benefit of marriage: a lifelong adventure partner. Photo: Amber L. Photography

Another benefit of marriage: Getting a lifelong adventure partner. Photo: Courtesy of Amber L. Photography

If your girlfriend is giving up her day off of work to learn how to snowboard, the least you can do is go with her to her favorite bouldering spot.

Sharing in each other’s favorite activities allows you each to fill the roles of teacher and student, veteran and rookie, so that you can even the playing field in the relationship.

Compromise, compromise, compromise

One outdoor activity every couple can agree on. Photo: Courtesy of Spring Fed Images/Unsplash

One outdoor activity every couple can agree on. Photo: Courtesy of Spring Fed Images/Unsplash

Maybe your husband just isn’t cut out for rock climbing, or your girlfriend just can’t get into cross-country skiing. Don’t force your SO to love something just because you do.

At a certain point, it’s better to just move on to another activity. You can always go climbing with your friends and pick up a new activity you both can enjoy instead.