Christian. BoyMom. Farmer's Wife. Marathon Runner. Ag Professional. Bourbon Lover.
Advocate for all things agriculture and rural.
Advocate for all things agriculture and rural.
Tunis Sheep Hampshires heed
My farmer doesn’t write. In fact, he rarely shares his thoughts unless prompted. Below is a collaboration we worked on, written from him.
She didn’t understand. And I didn’t get that she didn’t understand.
When I came back to the farm, I was just continuing on what had been done for six generations in my family. I didn’t know we were so different - the hours, the seasons, the lifestyle.
Farming was completely normal to me. For a long time, I missed just how not normal it was for her. I missed how hard it was.
I’m not saying I’m perfect now, but going into our eleventh planting season, I can guarantee I’m better today than I was before.
I’ve figured out a few things about balancing a love affair between my wife and farming - and because my wife runs a somewhat successful blog, I’m being forced to talk about them.
We discussed this for a few hours, but here’s my top advice for being married to a woman when you’re also married to the farm.
1. Give her a time.
She’s going to call - each night - she’s going to call. And she will say something like, “Will you be home tonight?”
She will probably tip toe around the question because she’s used to getting a jerk response from you. If you’ve given her one too many this week, she might not even call tonight (call her if she doesn’t.)
I used to get irritated with the call because first, of course I was coming home. I always come home. Where else would I go?
But second, I don’t know when I’ll be there. I never know and just when I think I do know something breaks down or breaks out.
At some point, maybe after reading one of her blog posts, I started to realize how strange my hours were for her. I knew she grew up in a house where her Dad came home the same time most nights, I just didn’t respect how challenging that made this new life for her.
At some point, I realized she wasn’t asking for an exact time when she called. And by then, she knew well enough that things happen. She was only asking for a rough idea. Most nights, the question was really more about if they should eat without me or wait, if she should wait up, or go to bed.
I finally figured out it’s a simple thing - stop the tractor man, and tell her when you’re coming home. And when something breaks - cause it will - send her a text and tell her you’ll be late.
2. Respect her time.
I spent a few years thinking I needed to leave as early as I wanted and come home as late as I needed. Before kids, this wasn’t a huge thing. But after kids, it was. A major shift for us was when I started to respect her time. Five to 6:00 a.m. is reserved for her running. And if I can respect that most mornings, she’s much more understanding the mornings I do have to take off before she can get her run in.
I do what I can to give her time for her friends and family and her career. Usually I can’t go along, and I know that was weird for her, but I do what I can so she can be where she needs, or wants, to be. Family and friends are important - she needs those people when I’m stuck in the tractor and combine for weeks on end.
3. Give her time.
This farming thing isn’t normal for most people - it took me a while to realize that. Even once she’s living it, most of her friends still won’t be. Give her time to get used to it, listen to her when she’s upset, and finally, most importantly, give her your time.
Invite her into your buddy seat - don’t wait for her to ask. Take her along to check cows. You can’t always leave your world, but you can invite her into yours and when she’s with you, she’ll understand a whole lot more about what you’re doing.
And if she spends enough time in your world, she’s likely to fall in love with it too.
Finally - take your boots off. She just cleaned the floor and she has no idea how it’s possible for all this dirt to come into one house. (I’m still working on that one.)
3/4/2019 10:13:54 am
Very good read. I read to Bubba our lives are a little different because he works away from home on the RR but there are still similarities for when he is home. Thanks Kate and Matt.
3/4/2019 10:18:00 am
Thanks Alicia! Hope you all are doing well.
Wow this is exactly my life. My husband has gotten better but we’ve been married for 21 years. Before children I would go out on the tractor with him, but then you have kids and it gets busy. But I can totally relate with the dirt walking in with dirty clothes after I have cleaned all day! It’s like can the house stay clean for one day? Hopefully he doesn’t have regrets the kids grow up so fast so I always try to tell him to enjoy this time! Work will be there tomorrow.
3/4/2019 07:24:55 pm
Great post! This hits so close to home for me. I’m married to a John Deere mechanic/farmer, spring and harvest are always filled with unknowns! I’ve developed the ability to reheat supper a million times, realize that 5 minutes means 5 hours, enjoy winters etc. Most of all I’ve learned to join the fun, drive the combine and appreciate being married to a hard working man that does it all because of us back at home! And with that I say bring on another season!!
3/4/2019 07:29:24 pm
I love it and love your attitude!! At some point the whole crazy system breaks you down enough you learn to adjust expectations and just roll with it.
3/4/2019 09:30:47 pm
I'm married to an on the road railroader and farmer. Wish he could have read your article 30 years ago. One anniversary I brought supper to the field and had a rose in a vase that I set on the tailgate, I guess to make a point. He promptly lit some seed bags on fire and asked how I liked the candle light? Gotta love those farmers......
3/7/2019 10:24:55 am
lol, that is awesome!
3/12/2019 07:53:19 am
Luckly Lady! Blessed
3/12/2019 08:42:07 am
Sounds like my husband!!!
3/5/2019 05:35:13 am
I read this, and then had my husband read it. He said what I felt, "I feel like I wrote this" The similarities are almost exact, you two wrote our experiences and feelings, words we've spoken...
3/5/2019 05:58:30 pm
In 1979 , feels like a lifetime ago, bringing home twins as our first children just after seeding was done I thought he would have time to be there for me but he felt that it was only my life that had to change as he was brought up in a typical farm family. I felt so alone, he thought the answer was to bring my mother out to help. He didn’t realize that she was not the partner I married. All the discussions in the world could not change his mind. I really am glad to see my sons and son-in-law taking part in their marriages. I feel that my daughter and daughter in-laws are very lucky women to have an open line of communication with their husbands.
3/5/2019 07:08:46 pm
Oh man I've been doing this for 40 years and I still love my farmer man. Yes we do have conversations, some are good but not always but I still have confidence in him for working hard and making ends meet. I love my farmer boys that are taking on the responsibility as grown adult to help him out. I'm so proud of my daughter-in-laws that that have our precious little grandkis with long hours and helping. Thank God for the farmers that are still going!
3/6/2019 06:57:50 am
Matt and Kate, I can relate. Actually this read just reeled me in and reminded me that after almost 17 years with Sara by my side, I still need to remind myself that even though she knows what our lives consist of, she still needs to hear it from me. Truth is, I couldn't do what I do, without her. She is the best friend, wife, mother of my kids, business partner and balance that I could have ever asked for. We don't harvest, but we have a poultry operation, and a cattle operation. She had a big adjustment to the new life she took on. Long story short, no matter how many years pass by, take the time for her. Give her the time she deserves. God knows she has been more than patient with me and the unpredictable hours this blessed life has brought.
3/6/2019 04:38:55 pm
Oh man, did you hit the nail on the head! I married a farmer and an oilman. When he’s not on the road, he’s helping with the family farm & cattle. I knew who/what he was, but until you live it, you don’t realize exactly what those titles mean. Or how they affect your home life.
3/7/2019 10:22:40 am
This is SO true, and great timing. Having grown up a "city girl", but loving to be outdoors, this is spot on...as if you have been in our home on seen our phones! Brought tears to my eyes, touched my heart. Because my husband, like you, does not like to talk about feelings much, let alone WRITE them down, it is commendable, and almost necessary, that you have done this. Thank you for listening, or being prompted by, your wife. This is well worth reading, and I know for a fact will relate to many other farming couples as well. In the end, the farm is a wonderful place to raise kids, work together, and learn how to survive a LOT as a couple. Best regards!
3/7/2019 10:23:15 pm
Fantastic truths you tell. Great to see all sides of the story. This writes like something Paul Harvey (R.I.P.) would broadcast.
3/8/2019 12:34:42 am
This article is the factual truth. It has been 41 years now and I know not to even ask anymore. I have learned that I wait to eat with him, but if it gets too late I eat and fix him a plate and put in a warm oven. That way I can clean up before midnight. It has worked for us that way. He is grateful his supper is warm, and I am grateful for a clean kitchen to start the next day.
3/9/2019 08:55:31 am
We were both raised on a farm so we grew up knowing how it it. We were high school sweethearts and will be married 53 years this month. My Mother gave me this advice when we were first married, "If he asks you to ride along, go with him."
3/11/2019 07:28:38 pm
I farm very little, we ranch, we have a cow/calf operation and I run 1st calf heifers and during calving seasin, they require extra amounts of attention. On Sunday afternoon I had a load of round bales come in and I had to go unload them. My wife was rather upset and told me that I was married to work and the cattle. She's right, it is very time consuming, and after reading this blog, it's opened my eyes and made me realize that I need to work a little harder on family time.
3/11/2019 09:18:04 pm
This article is so well said. It’s exactly how I feel. I’m a farm wife if 11 years.
3/12/2019 08:47:41 am
Great article. I've been married to a farmer rancher for 37 years. He still has not fully embraced this. Stubborn 😁. I'd also add that we worry. Lots of things can go wrong around big machinery and livestock. So contact occasionally helps alleviate the anxiety that there's been an accident and you couldn't reach your phone... But this is just a great article and I'll be showing it to my hubby😀
3/12/2019 09:00:21 am
This is so true. When I lost my husband farmer to a grain bin accident, you look back on all those little moments spent together checking crops on Sunday drives, early mornings talking day over. Even dreaded breakdowns provide some time together. Also when he passed, having an understanding of the farm and it's workings helped make transition easier. Yes, I still live on farm and yes in Spring when first dirt is worked, that smell brings back wonderful memories and a few tears.
3/12/2019 05:54:44 pm
This also hit the nail on the head for me too, as when I first married my hubby 26 years ago, i was a townie, and didn't know much about farming and a Ag contractor, and hadn't realized how coming home late was sometimes really late ! Now I help out and drive tractors and drop off tea, even when the girls were little, they loved it seeing dad in the tractors, at least they didn't have to go to bed early. We even all had rides on the little seat. There is light at the end of the rainbow! Thanks for sharing!
3/12/2019 09:29:34 pm
A great little read. I am the farmer in my relationship. My parents are farmers, I’ve grown up on a farm, and the hours just seemed normal to me.
3/13/2019 12:22:52 am
Gday there. I am a ag contractor in southland nz. My wife messages me all the time with when will you be home. I no she misses me and i miss her just as much but sometimes you just cant stop the tractor. Or your out of service. She is amazing to me in what she does and sometimes when i cant reply to a text i feel im letting her down. But i am working the hours and days for her For us. We have been married for 6 months and we are goin on our honeymoon in june so im working hard to take her away on a cruise ship to new caledonia. Id honestly be lost without her and she understands that days jsut dont always go to plan and she nos i love her with all i have. I try when i can to text or phone her. And even after a rat shit day which in contracting happens alot its nice to hear her voice
3/13/2019 04:54:56 am
This is so very true
3/13/2019 12:47:28 pm
This is so true, I have been married 35 years to a farmer who also works in a family dairy, I grew up in town with a dad who was off on the weekends and worked 8 to 5. I was 19 when I got married nd farming life was so different to me. Now I wouldn’t change it for the world.
5/24/2019 05:18:45 pm
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Kate Lambert grew up in northern Illinois, not on a farm but active in FFA and showing livestock.
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