Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and love is in the air for a lot of couples. For husbands and wives in the ranching business, romance can get put on the back burner this time of year. This is a busy season as ranchers attend to a myriad of tasks such as assisting calving cows, feeding hay, attending bull sales, preparing taxes, paying bills, taking care of kids, and the list goes on.
When I was newly engaged to my husband Tyler in 2009, I received a book from a thoughtful friend entitled, “The 5 Love Languages,” by Gary Chapman. The book explains the five different ways that spouses show they care and how they feel loved in return.
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Here is how real ranch couples can apply these five love languages to their own relationships:
1. Words of affirmation
This love language uses words to praise, encourage, compliment and support a spouse. For a rancher to use words of affirmation with his wife, he might tell her she looks nice in those coveralls, praise her for sorting cattle so well, thank her for working so hard to keep the house clean and food on the table, and encourage her to pursue some activities outside of the ranch.
2. Acts of service
After taking the quiz in the back of Chapman’s book, we discovered that “acts of service” is my husband’s love language. As a ranch wife, I can show him I care by washing his coveralls, putting his wet boots on the boot dryer, making him bacon and eggs for breakfast, or volunteering to take the night shift during calving season.
3. Receiving gifts
This love language is pretty straightforward. If your spouse likes gifts, surprise her with flowers, chocolates or some jewelry. Gift him with some new hunting decoys, a video camera for the calving barn, or a new pair of cowboy boots. On a budget? Don’t worry. Little gifts count, too. How about some new pliers for him or a bag of seeds to plant in her flower garden?
4. Quality time
Of the five love languages, this is the one I appreciate the most. My dad always used to say, “The family that works outside together, stays together.” I believe this holds true in most relationships. There’s nothing I like better than doing chores together with my husband, taking a four-wheeler ride to check cattle, or working together on our show calves or in the garden. Disconnecting from the rest of the world and actually spending time together, talking and working as a team, is one way to show your spouse you care.
5. Physical touch
Whether it’s a hug, a kiss, or a high-five after a job well done, the love language of “touch” is universal, whether you’re a ranching couple or not.
Of course, these five ways to communicate with your ranch spouse and show them you care aren’t just for Valentine’s Day, but every day. Use the holiday as a reminder to cherish your loved ones and show them how much you appreciate them.
How are you celebrating Valentine’s Day this year? How do you keep romance alive with your spouse? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of Beefmagazine.com or the Penton Farm Progress Group.
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