Fifteen years ago my life changed in a big way. I did not realize it at the time. Looking back on it now it was a HUGE pivotal moment that set a lot of things in motion for me. Fifteen years ago today I met the woman who became my wife.
I do not think many people realize that who they choose to marry has such a huge impact on their life. I have several friends who have gotten a divorce. I asked them one question and got the same answer form each one of them. I asked “Why did you marry her anyway?” The answer, “I settled”
So many times today we have a sexual relationship with the person we are dating. So many times this causes us to not see the person for who they are, and we don’t really get to know them. (Don’t misunderstand I am not judging. I am guilty of this. That is how I know). Both sexes are guilty of this. Years later when the blinders come off this may cause “things to blow up”.
I will not tell you that I am relationship expert. Often times my open honesty and directness puts a lot of my relationships under such heavy strains/tensions. When I met my wife she was a senior in high school, I was 20, a college dropout, and had a dead end job that I hated, but I had dreams. She was going to the snob college in NE, several months after I met her. So I figured our relationship would not go anywhere. As we continued dating I thought for sure she would meet someone else. Like some rich college boy with nice clothes, whose parents had money, and all that shit. We dated for eight years. I knew one thing. People change a lot at that age, so no point rushing in (That’s when my friends got married).
During eight years we went through a lot. Good times and bad. In all honesty the reason we are together today is because she did not give up.
She was not a farm girl. She is every bit a cattleman’s wife today though. I have hired boys, that is what they turned out to be, from the local ag college to help here. My wife will out work em. At branding she made them look like sissies. This one time we were baling small squares, and to this day I still do not understand why she could not follow simple instructions. I was on the rack and she was driving the tractor. I gave her clear hand signals what I wanted her to do. She did not do it. I tried my best to yell over the top of the baler, so she could hear me in the cab. She just turned the a/c a bit cooler and the radio a bit louder and paid no mind to me. She knew by the time we got the rack loaded I’d get over it.
When speaking to beginning farmer groups, I like to tell the story about Andre Agassi . These young people are too young to know who he is. He was the best tennis player in the world at one time. He married Brooke Shields. She did not support his tennis career. Sometimes she would get up and leave in the middle of his matches. His career corkscrewed. He wasn’t even in the top 100. He suffered an injury, and eventually drug use. Many assumed his career was over.
Andre divorced Brooke, and started seeing Steffi Graf. She supported his tennis career, (she was a tennis player too). Andre rededicated himself to the game, and eventually became the best again. They started a family and are philanthropists.
My point is, who you marry has a big impact on your life, and can affect your level of success in life. I doubt if I would have had as much success as I’ve had, especially at a young age, without the support of my wife. Like most farm wives she gives way more than she receives.
Now I’m gonna shift gears. I think it is of utmost importance to involve her in your operation. I don’t mean have her out in the worst conditions day after day. Having her out there once in awhile, especially on a bad day will give her an appreciation why you come home grumpy sometimes.
In all seriousness though. Drag her along to the CPA’s office. Take her to the Lawyer’s office. Take her to meet with the financial advisor. Keep her updated on what is happening day to day on your operation. This way if something should ever happen to you she knows where/who to call. I don’t care if you are in your 20’s, 30’s or 40’s. Get your affairs in order. Have life insurance. Keep her updated on things, so no one can take advantage of her. Get a will. Guys this is your responsibility. Take care of her. After all she is your cheapest employee. Most times she will work her ass off for a hug and a thank you.