This past August as I was celebrating my sister’s milestone birthday in New York City I came across the parking sign which read “Don’t even THINK of parking here ! “

That pretty much sums up the attitude of folks in the “Big Apple”.  In the past year I’ve met with some disappointed men and women who are committed to their marriages, but can’t think of ways to get their relationships humming along again.

Marriage stress that pervades farm stress is not fun.

Harvest stress is hopefully winding down on your farm as you approach the plans for family gatherings at Thanksgiving. I’m a big fan of celebrating Thanksgiving every day all year round, and don’t pile up a lot of expectation for gratefulness on the second Monday of October. I am thankful for many blessings every day.

While it is true that strong families celebrate, I’d like to say that strong marriage partners date. This may be a sore point in your couple care assessment, since it is something that I see as a trend with the families I am coaching. Many farm folks spend more time checking the crops or cattle than they spend checking the “state of their union.”

I query the founders about the amount of time that the younger generation spends on relationship building as a couple with marriage time or “date night” only to discover that it “hasn’t happened in years !”

Why not?

We pay attention to the things that demand our attention. I think some women have gone into “coast mode” or just decided to pour their energy into the busy lives of their children, to the neglect of their mate. Some guys may be spending more time with their cows than their kids. If you have lost the courage to ask your mate for what you need, and then wait for them to respond positively to your request, I encourage to keep asking for what you need.

We are different. I get energy from other people engaging in conversation with me, but my introverted spouse gets energy from being on his own to reflect and process what is happening in his life. Can you respect that not everyone in your family is like you? Can you accept that you may have to be patient until your mate is ready to talk things through?

We think we have lots of time to “get this marriage thing right.” When you said “I do” to sickness and health, whether rich or poor, you had no idea what an adventure life on the farm could be. Some of you did not marry a farmer, but are now facing the reality of farm life as a farm partner. Time goes by, and one morning you wake up wondering  “ Am I ever going to get to do what I really wanted to do ?” Some of you have woken up this year as young farm widows, wishing that things would  have been different while you still had time together.

Romance that stirred you into a commitment of marriage has died like the last campfire of summer. When you were dating, you both likely focused on pleasing the other person, and made things fun. Now that the routine and ruts of farm life are in your scope, you need to remember how to have fun together as a couple, and leave your parenting role at home for  awhile. The grandparents or close friends would gladly give you a “second honeymoon.”

I don’t know what your definition of a “date” is. Mine would be an activity that is mutually agreed upon for fun, and time to talk, and build up the cords that bind the relationship with love and respect. I would hope that both you and your spouse would take turns initiating the social calendar, and delight in coming up with ideas that are inexpensive and intentional. We’ve taken sailing lessons, gone skating, and explored back roads .

Dinner (actually supper) and a movie are old hat. But some women I have met would be thrilled to be asked out for a meal they don’t have to plan and cook. Dates for us have been hikes in the provincial park followed by a campfire and treats while watching sunsets over the lake. Bike rides to explore local towns, or moon-lit walks in the dead of winter have been fun, too. Camping for us is an extended “date” in the summer, which converts to  bed and breakfast time in the winter season. Even if you live “off the beaten path” in Saskatchewan you can find some fun places to stay.

I don’t know your definition of the “golden years”, but each year of richness in relationship is golden to me. Many farmers are proud to disclose their net worth to me as a farm coach, yet my evaluation of true wealth is the health of the marriage bond, and the relationships shared in the family unit. I have seen too many 60 and 70 year old women complain that they are not being heard, they are ready to focus more on the marriage, and their mates are still focused on the iron, farm iron and machinery .

When is it your wife’s turn to get what she wants ?

Well, that’s the question that gets me fired in the head of the farm man. Women love that question. But it could be reversed. There are women who focus on the children so much that their husbands feel like they never count, so they just keep working and ignoring what is really going on.

Don’t even think of not dating your mate. Regardless how long or short your marriage days have been, the time is now to appreciate one another and be grateful for the synergy and energy of your partnership. As I see my last  lone parent failing in health, and see peers coping with widowhood, I have a fresh appreciation for a loving attentive spouse.

It’s time for you to focus on your marriage. It’s more important that your net worth statement.

This Thanksgiving make a  caring list of 12 points. List 12 ways that you like to be cared for by your spouse, and then share the list on your date. Have fun !

Fixing Your Time Stress Mess

60 minutes

Workaholics will discover helpful strategies for managing their time stress. Gain understanding for the tensions of your age and stage on the farm. Learn why some problems are not solvable, but just need to be managed as polarities. Self-renewing people are joyful and productive producers.


Rave reviews

“A joy to work with, heard loud and clear. When the farmers laughed or asked a great question, I knew they were listening and really wanted to learn from her. Her tips were easy to understand. It was just about understanding that conflict happens, and to have the confidence in yourself to ask for what you want. In the glowing review from farmers after her presentation, I knew they had heard that loud and clear.”
Maddy Berner, Event Planner & Communications Coordinator, National Milk Producers Federation National Milk Producers Federation
“I wanted to say a HUGE thank you for your virtual kitchen table chat with Arlan Academy. My wife and I signed up as it was exceptionally relevant to our current journey with potentially transitioning to her parents’ farm. The session was able to cover so many aspects of these crucial conversations and hearing you speak to both sides of the conversation was eye opening for my own perspective on this topic. It seemed to be very well attended and sounded like there were many other people who would echo my thoughts and feelings on it.”
N. Oakley, Farmer, Ontario
“Elaine helped me allocate $1 Million of assets the night I listened to her. Elaine’s presentation brings value to the use of my services in my office.”
Don Forbes, Forbes Wealth Management
“I recently joined in and listened to your Healthy Farmer Agriwebinar for FMC. I truly enjoyed hearing your perspective and even went and grabbed my Mom, away from her work, to come and listen in on some of your main points as well! One area that really stood out for me, both personally with our own succession plans and with our clients, was your discussion involving "Instant Influence" and how ready are you to change? I loved this concept!”
Annessa Good, FCC Transition Specialist, Alberta
“Elaine Froese truly is the Farm Whisperer. With her big heart and stern resolve, she guides families through uncharted waters and helps them arrive safely at their desired destination. She has been there, done that, and has helped hundreds of families come out on the other side. With your family and your farm legacy on the line, you owe it to yourself to start this conversation. You do not need to do it alone. Let Elaine Froese guide you through. Your legacy is being written day by day. How will you be remembered?”
Tracy Brunet, Host of The Impact Farming Show & CEO of Farm Marketer
“You speak like you’ve been sitting at our kitchen table! You know our family issues well. I am feeling more comfortable understanding what we now need to do. Elaine Froese is real.”
Audience Member,
“I attended the meeting you spoke at in Stratford Ontario recently. We held an emergency family/farm meeting today because of issues that I had enough of. We used a 'talking stick' like you recommended and wrote a chart of rules. The rest of the family thought the idea that we needed a meeting was worth rolling their eyes over, until we got started. The younger ones were quick to clue in that they now have an opportunity to be bluntly honest. The older ones took a bit longer to believe they could truly say what they think. In the end, the meeting needed two sessions because there was so much to talk about… and so many things people didn't realize were a big deal to the others. Your lessons and encouragement have given us the tools we need to get to a better place in our relationships and our business. Truly thankful.”
Kim Martin, Dairy Farmer, Ontario
“Helped me develop my framework to start having constructive and meaningful conversations around the farm.”
Tennille Wakefield, Farm Partner
“Some great lessons, Elaine! You continue to do some remarkable and potentially life-changing work.”
James Mitchell, Principal, Conversations Consulting
“Our family had a good farm meeting yesterday afternoon. Your Fairness video was a great topic of discussion. One of the action items after the meeting was to have my two non-farming siblings watch the video before the next big meeting they are involved with on the farm. It will be a great conversation starter as we catch them up on our current plan. As they are younger, we also hope it will help them to ask new questions that may not have been on their mind.”
G.G., Farm Family Legacy Coach, Alberta
“Elaine gives me excellent tools that help me work with my clients!”
Laurianne Osmack, Financial Planner / Partner, Doell Osmak Wealth Management
“She has a sense of “knowing” quickly what is happening in the family dynamic. Her messages to her audiences drive home what needs to be done next to solve the complex issues of farm transition and conflict resolution.”
Audience Member,
“Eye-opening. Excited to open the door of communication with my spouse and farm family.”
Ashley Hoppe, Farm Partner
“The Strong Farms, Strong Families session gave farm families an opportunity to meet face to face with Elaine Froese... hear her own story, experiences and skill set. From this information packed session and related materials, families could identify areas of success in their journey and other places they need assistance. The greatest take away was that participants could see that Elaine Froese is someone they can trust with the things that they hold most precious.... their family and their farm.”
Nancy Atkinson, Nobleford Ag Society, Alberta
“Elaine’s real-life scenarios help her audiences know they are not alone, knowing there are creative solutions to help them get the life on the farm they have always wanted.”
Audience Member,
“A long time female client who had refined the art of procrastination was so moved by the end of your presentation that she accepted your permission to “drop the bananas.” She contacted me soon after for an appointment to do some planning which included the selling of the family “Century Farm.” A very, very emotional decision on her part that was not likely to have occurred without your presentation.”
Don Forbes, Forbes Wealthy Management
“I just have to say… that your work is amazing and I have never forgotten your teachings from our session in Williams Lake at TRU. It is super important work. I know so many people going through the trauma of succession. I hate to use that word, but I was an “out-law” and know it can get terrible. I continue to forward your emails on to others. Keep doing what you do! You are amazing. You kind of walk into the fire regularly… and with a smile. Proud to have met you.”
Megan, BC Rancher
“As my husband and I eagerly started the course we were optimistic and excited to be taking this next step in our Farm Transition. We were starting to question ourselves and whether or not we were just being selfish and greedy, and if this Farm Transition was still an option for us. We barely got through the first Module and were already having such a huge relief. As we moved through the modulus there were so many times that we just sat back with our hands in the air and thought YES. My husband and I would smile with relief because all of the concerns that we have been struggling with were relevant and came up in the modules. We really enjoyed the course and are excited to move on to the next stages to find our farm resolution.”
Shannon Gilchrist, “Get Farm Transition Unstuck” online course participant
“My hubby farms with 2 brothers and parents, and it’s become a really toxic place. No communication, no respect, etc. Twelve months ago, my husband’s brothers told him they don’t want to work with him anymore and offered him a pay out. His parents did nothing to stop it! He had no choice but to leave. Three months later, we moved off the farm and into town. He has been offered heaps of jobs and is now truck driving and carting hay and grain. We have tried communicating with his parents about what happened but they are not interested. So basically my hubby has lost his family. Very sad but we as husband and wife are overall in a good place and moving on to create our own life. Please continue on with all your wonderful work in helping families on the farm. I continue to tell any farmers I know about you, that they must ‘google’ you, and read your books.”
Donna, Farmer, Australia

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