Adventure-Seekers Who Marry Comfort-Seekers


If you are an adventure-seeker, someone who loves to try new things and test your nerves whenever you can, you may find yourself attracted to and then married to your opposite, a comfort-seeker.
At some point, you may think you married the wrong person, that you have nothing in common with this person and would be better off with another adventure-seeker.
But there is a reason we’re attracted to our opposites. We just need to learn how to stand their opposite-ness, maybe even gain from it.
A pair of adventure-seekers will probably get out of the house more often and try more new things. However, they won’t see eye-to-eye on what’s an adventure and what’s more foolishness than adventure. While they might both get excited about skiing out of a helicopter down virgin snow, one might think taking salsa lessons in Miami would be a great next adventure while the other has no interest in dancing except with Asian villagers who have just fed them the lamb’s eye or some dung beetle soup.
A comfort-seeker will not challenge your self-image as an adventurous person. A comfort-seeker also will not leave you worrying about their safety.
When you come home from an adventure with a fellow adventure-seeker, you toss a coin to see which of you will throw some sheets on the bed so you can rest your weary muscles or bruised joints. If you live with a comfort-seeker, it’s likely there will be somewhere to unwind in warm water, a delightfully cushy, already made bed to sink into, and delicious things on hand to eat. If you haven’t ticked off this mate of yours, there may also be something more comfy than a wetsuit or tuxedo to change into.
After a string of “no thank you’s” to your invitations to try the local Ghanan restaurant, hit the rock-climbing wall after work, and go tent camping, you are likely to stop noticing how nice things are for you post-adventure. You might even start fantasizing about a partner who shares your excitement for these activities. But there is something better to try.
Find ways to make adventure more comfortable. Do the research to find an exotic restaurant where your spouse will feel comfortable with the service, the ambiance, and at least a couple of the menu choices. Think of an activity to pair it with that will enchant your mate. If it goes well, return a few times until it feels comfortable. Then you can suggest other places with now-familiar dishes and more options for you to explore.
The rock-climbing wall might look great to you, but if it’s not your mate’s cup of tea, find a friend (or make a friend) who will challenge you to climb higher or faster and follow your rock-climbing with some special time with your spouse, whether it’s a standing date for sex, a night out at a comfy, familiar restaurant, or just a TV show you both enjoy and make a point to watch together. Bring your great mood from climbing home with you, so you both look forward to it.
Want to go tent camping together? It’s likely your comfort-seeker cannot imagine it being comfortable. But that’s your challenge, and you like a challenge. One fellow I know took to heart his lady’s objection that she would need a U-Haul trailer to bring the things she needs to start the day right on a camping trip. He provided one. When I headed up a den of Cub Scouts, we went family camping with all of the kids and some of the parents in tents and the rest in rented trailers with air conditioning.
If you do such things, when it’s time to take a hotel vacation, you just might find your comfort-seeking spouse looking for places to get pampered and try new challenges. And he or she might feel safe enough to try some of them. And there is a good chance some of them will be challenges you never thought of trying, ones that expose you to different transcendent moments than mountaintops offer or to understandings you will not find in any competitive activity.
And should you ever go too far and need to rebuild your health after one of your adventures, a loving comfort-seeker is just about the best companion you could ever have. Especially if you have avoided mocking comfort to justify your adventure-seeking.

About the author

Patty Newbold

I am a widow who got it right the second time. I have been sharing here since February 14, 2006 what I learned from that experience and from positive psychology, marriage research, and my training as a marriage educator.


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  • My husband and I both like some adventure and some comfort, but not always the same stuff in the same doses. For example, he is sometimes attracted to adventures by boat, whereas I don’t like boats because I get seasick. But if he works with me to make it more comfortable sometimes I can do it and it is okay. For example, we were in Hawaii and there was a chance to take a submarine tour. He really wanted to do this. I don’t usually get seasick on submarines, but the problem was that we would have to ride a ferry boat (where I do get sick) out to the sub. So I interviewed the captain of the ferry and found out that the trip was only 10-15 minutes (usually I don’t start to feel queasy until at least 20 minutes have passed). I found out that ginger can help a queasy stomach, so I took some ginger capsules. My husband didn’t pressure me, but encouraged me to take as much time as I needed to get the facts and make a decision. When I felt comfortable with the plan, we took the tour and had a great time. (If I had decided not to go, then either he would have gone by himself or he would have stayed ashore with me. Either way, no recriminations.) Sometimes it works the other way and he tries something that I want. The point is that we don’t push each other, we have our own and each other’s permission to go alone if need be, and we find a way to share the experience, even if it is just through hearing the story and looking at the pictures.

  • Thankfully, Tammy and I have very similar tastes and we like to have the best of both worlds. A typical vacation day will having hiking with the snakes and bears and mountain lions, but a peaceful return to civilization with a few pints and a slideshow of our photos from the day.

  • Ah Patty. Another great post. I think CJ and I complement each other. When one of us wants to do something that might not appeal to the other, we come up with creative solutions. Even though I am not at all crazy about encountering snakes on one of our hikes, I know CJ would love to see a rattlesnake. After reading up on safety, strike distance, etc., I calmed myself enough to say, “Let’s look for rattlesnakes today” on our last hike in Tucson one anniversary. At the end of the search, I actually felt bad we hadn’t spotted one for him!

  • I think I am glad Ed would not like to discover a rattlesnake. But I have flown in a small plane with him at the controls. Nothing I ever would have tried otherwise, and it was fun!

  • Sage advice as always Patty! We have a classic adventure/comfort dynamic and have adapted the way we plan weekends away so we both get the challenge and comfort we need.
    Tammy/CJ we did find a rattle snake on one of our expeditions. He was hiding under a fallen down metal sign. I was more than happy to film him some 10 yards back with the zoom on whereas my hubby enjoyed standing holding the sign! Let’s just say I was kind of glad when we moved on but still an exciting encounter. Once is enough though!

  • And I am so glad CJ would not like to fly a plane! 😉 Play guitar, oh yeah. We are doing well just to get the car from here to there safely!

By Patty Newbold

Patty Newbold

I am a widow who got it right the second time. I have been sharing here since February 14, 2006 what I learned from that experience and from positive psychology, marriage research, and my training as a marriage educator.

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