Blogs

Let your father know how much he means to you with a unique Father’s Day gift. Order a  copy of Elaine’s book Building Your Farm Legacy or get the audio version here.

As the co-author of Farming’s In-Law Factor, I spent a year of Tuesdays researching, interviewing, and asking tough questions about marriage on the farm. There is precious little research on how to keep farm marriages strong. Young farmers tell me they don’t have time to read books. Spouses tell me they are longing for some marriage time blocked out from the whirlwind of raising a young family on the farm.

Divorce is not what anyone marrying envisions for their future.  The threat of a divorce stealing assets from a farm business causes premature greying or baldness in founders. (I just made that up!). But you know that anxiety over the uncertainty of your future is not a happy place to be.

[Tweet “It’s time to rekindle the flames of #love on the #farm. These tips to strengthen #marriage are perfect for #farmers and their spouses!”]

Marriage on the Farm: Changing Times

In the old days, when a couple reached 25 years of wedded bliss, there would be a large community celebration in the church or hall with dancing, feasting, corsages, and speeches. A corsage is a small clutch of flowers pinned to the bride’s dress. (I love to make them, but there is not a great demand for them these days.)

Today if a young farm couple is “almost married” (the Australian term for common-law partners), they measure the anniversary date in terms of how long they’ve been together. Our neighbourhood has had four divorces on farms in the last seven years. We don’t go to many anniversary celebrations, which is sad.

8 Books to Encourage Stronger Love Bonds

Marriage on the Farm blog image

Regardless of your marital status, it is time to pay attention to cherishing your relationship—not just paying lip service. Actions speak louder than words. Here are my favourite books to encourage stronger love bonds on the farm. And if you don’t read, find the audio version!!!

  • Love and Respect
  • 7 Principles for Making Marriage Work
  • The Love Dare
  • The 5 Love Languages
  • Marriage Fitness
  • The Marriage Carol
  • The Mystery of Marriage
  • Farming’s in Law Factor

10 Tips to Strengthen Marriage on the Farm

Marriage on the Farm - Strengthen Marriage on the Farm Image

I used to be envious of an urban friend ‘s weekly date night stories and adventures, but that marriage has dissolved, so date night is not a guarantee of success. Regardless, here are some practical ways to stay connected in the weekly grind of life on the farm.

1. Decide your relationship is a top priority. 

Your mindset and attitude will influence all of your behaviour towards your spouse. Marriage on the farm only works if you make it a priority.

2. Ask you, mate, how they like to be cared for by you. 

This is a two-way street. I am a big fan of physical touch and words of affirmation. My spouse likes it when I do things for him that are unexpected.

3. Pay attention to the waves of energy. 

Our Alpha marriage course encouraged couples to sit down with coffee, put on favourite tunes, and just be together to talk about the state of the union. Do this one hour a week and see what happens. When we were dating, we had lots of dates on farm equipment and would snatch whatever together time was available. Marriage on the farm can be a bit trickier, so you might have to get creative with this time blocking.

4. Lead with love. 

Marriage on the Farm - lead with love image

I was deeply touched when I heard Lesley Rae Kelly, of High Heels and Fields fame, suggest this as her strategy on her farm. When she hits the door archway, her hands grab the door frame, she takes a deep breath and tells herself: “Lead with love.” She was the MC of Connect Ag Women in Agriculture in Saskatoon. She also has a huge social media presence, which is defined with an encouraging tone.

5. Take a social media break. 

Don’t let Instagram or Facebook suck you into the comparison game of life. Comparing your love life, farm situation, or kitchen to others is going to rob you of joy.  I know I am a boomer but pick up the phone. Phone your spouse and say, “I just called to say I love you.” Stevie Wonder can help you out with the right words to say!

6. Monitor your physical & mental health. 

It’s sad that anxiety and depression are increasing in women and younger people. As a depression survivor of a serious post-partum event, I want you to pay attention to how your body integrates with your mental health. Hormones rage as we age, and specialists can help you get back on track. We committed to marriage until death do us part, and sometimes that death thing has come close with accidents and tough health issues. Ruth Bell Graham was asked once if she had ever considered divorcing her famous husband, Billy. Her response was, “Divorce, never. Murder, yes!”

7. Learn some new conflict skills. 

My conflict training with Mediation Services in Winnipeg and Craig Runde’s Conflict Dynamic Profile has made my life a lot better. Once you understand that you always get to choose your response to anger, hurt, fear, or frustration, you can up your emotional intelligence game. If you want to spend $55 to figure out what your positive conflict behaviours and your hot buttons are, email me elaine@elainefroese.com with CDP in the subject line. Fighting in marriage is not bad. It gives clarity and helps make great decisions when there are resolution and a deep desire to attack the challenges, not the person.

8. Share ideas for fun on the farm or off the farm. 

I’m writing this while listening to hubby’s playlist and enjoying a great wood fire he built. He just scratched my back. We have created a space to get away from our farm, which is only 16 minutes away. Some folks have done this with a small cabin in the woods on the same home quarter, or just over the hill. (Airbnb?) Carve out some time to unplug from your devices, and just be together. You don’t need an agenda!

9. Walk down the road together. Ride together. Enjoy silence together. 

Look up! Take a flashlight if it is really dark—you might scare a skunk or porcupine along the way. (I speak from experience.)

10. Celebrate the good. 

Strong families get this—your marriage on the farm will be stronger if you focus on the good. Write love notes or text happy thoughts. Dating can be what you create it to be. 

Strengthening your marriage on the farm is not a ‘once and done’ exercise. Keep it going all year long! I’d love to hear your progress, so share your stories with me using the hashtag #healingstories4ag. And always remember to lead with love.

 

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.

$15

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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+1-204-534-7466 | elaine(at)elainefroese.com

Contact Elaine