[1]
Tyler and I at our ranch in South Dakota on Christmas Day

Tyler and I at our ranch in South Dakota on Christmas Day.

You Call Checking Cows A Date Night?

I have learned a lot about love and marriage from my parents. After 26 years of marriage, their love is still very evident. They laugh together, go on date nights and enjoy spending time together. One thing they joke about is that their favorite date is taking pasture tours together to look at calves in the summertime.

Now, I'm a hopeless romantic, having grown up on such Disney classics as Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, and Sleeping Beauty. Looking back, I don't recall any of these leading ladies receiving boots and coveralls as a Christmas present, but that's pretty common for many ranch wives. After a year of marriage to Tyler, I'm learning to appreciate the simple things in life, as we work toward our goals in production agriculture.

I recently listened to ranch wife and humorous agriculture columnist Amy Kirk speak at the South Dakota Farm Bureau's (SDFB) Young Farmer and Rancher Conference. Her presentation was titled, "Ranch Communications In And Out Of The Pasture," and she offered advice to the young, married ranch couples in attendance.

Here are a few highlights from Kirk's presentation that I think any ranching couple will appreciate:

“Communication is so important on the ranch. When working as a couple, our roles overlap -- romance, business partner, ranchers, parents. ‘Spouses in translation’ would be an appropriate title for today’s presentation, and although I don’t always understand the hand signals my husband gives me when moving cows, I have learned to better understand him and the cues he is trying to give me in our marriage.”

Kirk referenced several books in her presentation including: "For Women Only: What You Need to Know about the Inner Lives of Men" and "For Men Only: A Straightforward Guide to the Inner Lives of Women," both by Shaunti Feldhahn, as well as "The Five Love Languages" by Gary D. Chapman and "To Have And To Hold: Thoughts On Successful Marriage" by Val Farmer.

“Men need time to think things through, while women need to talk things through. As ranchers, there’s so much we can’t control; the weather and the markets are so unpredictable. That’s why many ranchers like to have firm control on certain things, such as how the records are kept or the way chores are done. The many pressures to provide and control can be draining on a man, so make home a safe haven for him to unwind and relax after a long day at work. Men should take time to listen to their wives. My best advice for men is: listen, reassure, pursue her like you did when you were dating and repeat."

What's your best marriage advice? How long have you been married? What's the most interesting, practical present your spouse has presented to you? Do you consider a pasture tour a date night? Share your stories of love, marriage and ranch life in the comments section below.