Ways to Increase the Cherish Factor With the One You LoveMy husband of 36 years just dropped me off at the Minot airport in his pickup. We enjoyed the two-hour ride together listening to inspirational tunes and laughing when we had to stop to help herd stray Angus back to their farm. As farm kids, we both chased lots of cows and it reminded us that some skills never die.

At the November 2017 Connect Ag Conference, some farm women shared with me their fears that their farm marriages were dying.  During “heart” month I cannot stop wanting everyone’s love relationships to be stronger and healthier in 2018, including mine.

How to be Intentional about Increasing the Way You Cherish Your Mate

1. Agree to Do the Caring List

Take a blank page and write numbers 1 to 12 down the left side. Brainstorm your 12 most favorite ways of being cared for by your lover. WHOA…..strong language there, hope you are still at least getting kisses! My hubby’s first point was “hot meals”. He misses me when I travel and we negotiate what is in the meal line up when I am gone. You might be surprised that your wife says “kisses on the back of the neck when I am doing dishes” or “taking out the compost without nagging”, “treating me as an equal partner” etc.

2. Protect Each Other from Verbal Harm

Words matter. There is great power in the tongue to cause harm, so think before you speak, engage the brain before talking. Words of affirmation are one of my love languages, so when my hubby says “You have an amazing brain” I feel deeply affirmed and validated. When slip-ups happen, be quick to make repairs and get the good vibes back on track.

3. Provide Certainty for Your Future Together

The “almost married” couples usually move to marriage when the kids are heading to school or sooner. No judgment here. Just an observation that the wedding ring is a symbol of commitment to being there for each other in good times and in bad. Yes, 50% of marriages go to rack and ruin, but that doesn’t mean you don’t start out with a firm plan to achieve goals together and pull each other up. Two cords bound together are not easily broken. What are you doing in your communication and agreements to build up certainty and trust with each other?

[Tweet “Be intentional with your partner. Increase the #cherish and #love with these 10 tips.”]

4. Be Present With Your Time

Have face to face conversations or be shoulder to shoulder in the pickup truck. An hour of honest conversation per week is called “marriage time” to address the current state of your union. The Alpha Marriage Course prescribes this as non-negotiable. If you are running kids to hockey, feeding cows, planting crops, and hauling grain…when are you scheduling to unplug your smartphone and be a smart confidant to your spouse?

5. Share Household Management

The book “Drop the Ball” addresses the stress women feel when they don’t feel supported on the home front. This is 2018. Many farm women are farm operators, managers, and administrators of the farm business. They practice addition of more roles, but would really like to subtract some as well. My husband’s answer to this dilemma was to buy me a robotic vacuum which we have fondly named “Woodman” after the guy who pretends to be our butler at parties. The robot helps save time, but the consideration of the gift was appreciated most. Now I would like to find one for the seed warehouse!

6. Find Romance Bonds

Coach Dietrich Demarais, a John Maxwell coach (Emotional Wealth Mgt.) talks about finding joy bonds in your day, things that you observe that make you feel good or joyful. Spectacular sunrises, birds in flight, and phone calls from friends would be joy bonds for me. What joy bonds or romantic things that you used to do as a young couple would re-kindle the marriage spark now? Watching a great movie, snuggling together? Hot tub? Walking down the lane in the dark with a flashlight? Candle-light supper? This is where the caring list could give you some ideas.

7. Listen More With Your Eyes Locked on Each Other

Communication or the lack thereof is likely the biggest complaint I hear from farm families. Give your partner the huge gift of listening to them tell their story, without interruption. Paraphrase what you hear. Use word pictures (see the work of Smalley and Trent) to describe what you are feeling. My hubby is clear that he doesn’t want the “restaurant’s brown paper bag of leftovers” when I get home from a road trip. He wants me to be more excited about seeing him and not totally depleted when I get home. “What is it you really need right now?” is a helpful question. Sometimes introverts want quiet and don’t want to listen or talk.

This is when extroverts need to adapt and wait for a better time for conversation.

8. Dream Together

I renovated a bedroom and found a hidden vision board of clipped magazine images which was a cool surprise. The photos showed a boat dock with the words “a boat of my own” and a woman in a hammock. This board was created in 2006, and the dreams came true in 2017 with our lake house. Vision boards for your family give your subconscious a strong message of what you really want in your life. Gather up the glossy magazines, find some scissors and glue and have some fun creating a dream board for your marriage. This is especially helpful to aging farmers who don’t relish the thought of leaving the farm roles behind. You may not have to move off the farm, but what would fun look like to you when you are no longer the main manager?

9. Physical Play…Love in Action

Not just sex. Intimate relationships are important and have different seasons. What sports do you enjoy together? Hunting? Flying? Fishing? Golf? Curling? Dancing? Board games? I feel cherished when my hubby plays Scrabble, and I usually lose, but it is the fun of being together that counts.

10. Cook Together

Chef Michael Smith reminded us about the joy of sharing the preparation of a meal together. For us, this means grilling, inviting guests, and helping children enjoy S’mores around a campfire.

Share your stories with me, as to what you do to cherish your spouse, here.

I hope you had a Happy Valentine’s Day and continue to work to build a strong marriage.

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.


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“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.”
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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.”
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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.”
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