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Traits of a Great Farm Spouse

I was planning on blogging again after school started, which was last week. I have all kinds of topics that I’d like to cover. This post was not on that list. This is going to be my rebuttal piece to “The Top Above and Beyond traits of a Farm Wife” that I read on Farmtalk Newspaper, written by Mark Parker. I feel very strongly moved to write this and hope the words that come through the keyboard mirror the thoughts in my mind. The strong feeling of emotion is because I cherish and value my wife so much more than washing a ball cap, which is my job by the way. You see I feel Mr. Parker took a swipe at my wife, my mom, my grand mother, and my great grandma

Before I begin lets clear the air on a few things. Mr. Parker’s piece could very well be a very poorly written attempt at humor. Anyone that has ever written an article or a blog has written one that they thought would be great, only to have it tank. It happens to all of us. Looking at the canned response from the publisher to some of the comments on that piece that’s how they are trying to spin it off.

Secondly, I have read a few of the rebuttal blogs written by ranchHers and FarmHers. You missed the mark too! Follow me on this for a second. When I go to some guys place and I am looking at purchasing some hay or cattle, or some other big purchase he always has a price in mind. He is always overpriced and I have to haggle with him to get the price down to fair market value. In the farmHer blogs I read the rebuttal still undervalued the farm wife.

Here is my list of outstanding traits of a farm wife

1A) Supportive I have blogged before about how necessary this trait is. I used to use the story of Andre Agassi in some of my public speaking, when talking to young people. I can never express enough how who you marry will impact your success.
Let’s take a look at the movie Rocky for a minute. In Rocky 1 he was trying to impress Adrian. In Rocky 2 he did not dedicate himself to training because Adrian didn’t support him. There is even a scene when Paulie, Adrian’s brother, confronts her about not supporting her husband. When Adrian woke up from her coma she said one word, “win”. Rocky rededicated himself to training harder than ever before and became world champ.

In Rocky 3 it played out again when Rocky was afraid and wanting to quit.

In Rocky 4 Adrian did it again when she traveled to Russia to be by Rocky’s side while he trained.

So ladies, there it is. Some of the things we do as guys, we are doing to impress you. Even after 20+ years of marriage. When the wife is supportive, of a determined and persistent husband great things will happen.

This might also be the place to point out that the book of Proverbs warns us multiple times about a nagging wife.

1B) Optimistic /Positive Attitude. I know one farmer personally who has a wife with a negative attitude. For years she has never had any interest in what he does. When times get a bit rough and she has to go sign some papers at the bank, for a loan, or at tax time, and she sees Mr. farmer didn’t make any money that year, he hears about it. I have no doubt her bad attitude has helped drag him in a downward spiral.

When one spouse is feeling down, it helps tremendously when the other half lifts them up.

Do not mistake this for the ole saying “next year will be better” That is betting on the come, and is gambling.

2) Flexible I think this is pretty self explanatory. For those who may not be very familiar with farming things happen occasionally that ruin family plans. For example the family may have plans to go somewhere that day. They are also expecting a load of cattle to arrive that morning. The truck driver may have over slept and the load will not arrive until after the family had planned to leave.

On my farm I have a saying, Whenever you are going to bring people, livestock and machinery together just expect that something is going to go a little off track. I feel Mr. Farmer should have a plan in place for most things, so that way he does not miss out on the important stuff in life if something would go wrong. The family needs to understand that sometimes that Mr. Farmer may miss some things if something goes a little off.

3) Initiative This one comes when the Farm Wife has an awareness of how things usually run. Now I am assuming here that she isn’t involved in day to day activities. She may call Mr. Farmer and offer to help if he’d give her some instructions.

4) Focus Things in agriculture take time. Sometimes those 1, 5 and 10 year plans just seem to take forever. This often times means delaying gratification, or giving up something to achieve a desired goal.

5) Faith Asking a farm wife to focus on the 10 year plan is hard to do when she can not physically see it. It requires her to have faith to believe in it, and be supportive of it.

6) Communication it takes a great deal of communication skill to send your wife on a parts run, or to the vet when she has no idea what she is supposed to get or what she’s getting it for. Yet they still manage to get it right!

Or how about those B.S. hand signals we give them sometimes when they are driving a tractor.

7) Tolerance When you send her on that parts run and the parts guy treats her like she’s an idiot. Not to mention the less than tasteful remarks she’ll over hear at some cattle auctions. We can’t change the behavior of others, so she just has to put up with it.

8) Humor having that special someone that can laugh at them self, and can also make you laugh is such a big stress reliever, and there can be an over whelming amount of stress with farming at times. This past weekend my wife was at a horse auction with me. A result of it was an inside joke that will have us both busting up for weeks

9) Will Draw a Line in the Sand Recall the clip above from Rocky 3. Adrian asks “What’s the truth dammit?” and “You have no right to blame yourself for what happened” That is a perfect example of drawing a line in the sand.

Usually drawing a line in the sand is keeping our egos in check, and preventing us from doing something stupid. For example, I was thinking of buying a horse to break. I used to do that when I was younger. My wife politely reminded me I was not in my 20’s anymore, and that maybe I should get something our daughter could ride too. My first thought was I’ll buy two. But, after thinking about it for a bit I realized she is right. I have too many responsibilities to risk getting hurt. Just as a point of reference I used to really pride myself on breaking the bad ones.

10) Smoking hot Ha. I can get away with this one. Look at some of the other rebuttal blogs written by women and some of them pointed out they can do all the things us guys can and look better doing it. No argument here

We all know the west would have never been settled if it were not for women. A strong woman is the glue that often times holds things together.

I still would like to give Mr. Parker the benefit of the doubt and assume his post was an attempt at humor that came across wrong. If it wasn’t I suggest that he may need to take some time and reexamine his values. I think if you look over this list I put together, that it’s not just a list of traits for women.

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Posted by on August 23, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Valentine for the Farm Wife

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.

 
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Posted by on February 14, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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