Over the weekend, I celebrated my one-year wedding anniversary with my husband, Tyler. We spent the grand occasion by bringing cows home, weaning calves and working the babies -- dehorning, castrating, vaccinations, the works. Romantic, right? My dad always jokes, "A family that works cattle together, stays together." It's funny, over the years, Dad has also applied that same metaphor to fixing fence, hauling manure, picking rock and other fun, or not-so-fun, tasks on the ranch.
It's hard to believe a year has passed, and together, we have learned a lot about marriage and the cattle business. I've rounded up a list of some that you might be able to relate to, as well.
1. When choosing a spouse, find one who is willing to live and work a half-mile from his in-laws.
2. The best dates aren’t movie nights and fancy restaurants; they are pasture tours and looking at calves.
3. Husbands bring outside ideas for how to do things on the ranch; work to strike a balance between Dad’s way and the new way.
4. I have discovered that I have more time for my writing, cooking and inside tasks because I married my “replacement” to help with chores. Find someone who is willing to work hard.
5. A shared passion is important. Tyler and I love everything about the cattle business, and while our secondary hobbies like shopping or hunting aren’t common bonds, we can always go back to beef to strike up a good conversation.
6. Sitting down to discuss goals is critical. Where do you want to be in five, 10 and 20 years? It’s okay if the direction changes, but knowing you’re working toward something together is important in marriage.
7. It’s okay to agree to disagree at times. So, what if you would have brought those calves in a different way?
8. Always remember to praise each other for your efforts. (Thanks, Tyler, for cleaning out the barn and fixing fence with Dad before weaning day!)
9. Learn from mistakes. Sometimes that means learning it the hard way. Did that investment not quite pencil out? If not, how can we do things differently next year?
10. Ask questions and keep learning. This applies to life, marriage and the cattle business. What makes a successful businessman? What are the secrets to a happy marriage? How did your mentors and role models achieve their goals, and where did they first get their start?
I’m blessed to be married to someone who enjoys the same things I do — sitting on our back deck and watching the cows graze as the sun sets, working in the garden and around the yard, studying pedigrees and performance data on cattle, and setting goals for the future of our business. Tyler and I are still new to being adults in the cattle business, raising cattle and working as a team. Today, I’m seeking advice, personal stories and anecdotes of life, marriage and the beef industry.
What’s the secret to your success? Where did you get your start? What lessons have you learned along the way?