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Every other week, we’re answering your questions about dating, breakups, and everything in between. Q: My boyfriend and I are going on a monthlong thru-hike this summer to celebrate finishing grad school.Our advice giver is Blair Braverman, dogsled racer and author of . I’ve been backpacking since I was a little kid, and he’s barely gone camping, so I’ve taken on most of the planning, which is fine with me. He’s agonizing over whether his backpack has the right kind of zippers (literally), whether his walking stick is long enough, what kind of whistle to buy, etc.Though my husband, Steve, and I recently celebrated our twenty-sixth wedding anniversary, our marriage hasn't been filled with the wedded bliss you might expect from such a committed couple.Through the years, our relationship has weathered the storms of Steve's struggle with pornography and a volatile temper, my severe PMS and incessant need for control, and our unforgiving spirits. While we've both relied on our deep faith in God, we've also hung in there partly because I have a stubborn streak that God's transformed into tenacity.And Steve's stint as a Marine instilled him with an mindset—in this case, his mission being staying married to me for a lifetime.As I hear others make excuses for withdrawing love from their spouse, I think of the motto Steve learned in the Marines: "No excuses—just results." Even though we continue to struggle at times, Steve and I still love each other very much.That’s archaic, sure, but it’s also probably real for him in ways you don’t even realize.Here’s a chance for you to assess your own biases as well. But if that question stings—even a little—take some time to process that patriarchal bullcrap and get it out of your system.

Maybe that annoys you, but you have to shake that off, because you’ll be dealing with each other’s insecurities a lot over the next 1,000 miles, and now is the time to start cutting each other some slack.

Here are some of the lessons I've learned about loving my spouse even in the tough times.

Tough Love: Dating and Relationships in the Outdoors JZr0P Welcome to Tough Love.

I could give you tips about outdoor safety, but I suspect you already know them all: tell friends where you’re going, don’t give personal information to strangers, bring a dog, carry an air horn.

The bar-goers suggested carrying a weapon, be it a knife or a gun or a two-by-four with rusty nails stuck through the end.

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—Feeling Exposed Full disclosure: a friend sent me this question via Facebook as part of a thread that included several of my neighbors in the Wisconsin Northwoods.