It isn’t always easy, but it beats shutting down

Farm Forum

Before the government shutdown and the horrific storm hit West River, I read some other bad news on A recent divorce study showed that people’s reasons have switched from adultery (a popular reason in prior decades) to unreasonable behavior (the preferred excuse today).

Some of the unreasonable behavior was just that-one spouse withdrew all the money in a savings account and burned it in their bedroom. Other couples were just ‘tired of fighting.’

Although I’d rather burn money at Target than actually set it on fire, I can be unreasonable in other ways. But I don’t feel that being unreasonable is always bad, either. Every dumb decision we made in the past nineteen years can be traced back to one simple fact: we failed to run it by the other. Or else we both agreed, without much discussion, that it was a good idea. All those other things we went round and round (and round and round) about worked out pretty well.

A friend, who is a widow, said that making her own decisions is sometimes a great feeling. But usually she’d like another’s input and shared accountability. When facing tough choices, having someone to share the burden is huge. Yet it’s easy to forget how valuable other people really are in that process if we are mired down in constant fighting. Look at what happened in Congress. A shutdown is a lot like a divorce.

Speaking of fighting, at the equipment store we wasted forty-five minutes deciding how to label new inventory in the computer. It was tough for me to admit that Dennis knew better. But as I pointed out to him when he wanted to use it against me later: I agreed with you eventually on that one, so what’s your point here?!

I feel conflicted when people claim they could not work alongside their spouse every day. Oh, it isn’t always easy; it isn’t always productive either.

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Yet to me, the alternative is really exhausting. This time of year Dennis splits his time between our shop (where I usually am) and the field. Until harvest is over and/or the ground freezes, he isn’t home very often. The more time spent apart, the more things start to break apart. We seem to function best when we have all day to argue over the inventory.

Last week I was complaining about him ‘never being home.’ He must have been tired of hearing about this ongoing issue. Dennis responded by suggesting I come to the field in the evenings instead of sitting at home complaining. No need to make supper, just show up and ride along and we can hash over all the things that are so hard to discuss through phone calls and text messages. I saw his point. But did I mention unreasonable behavior yet?

My idea of a good wife does not show up at a field at supper time just to ride along-without a hot meal for everyone. If I can’t leave work early to cook, cart, and clean it all up again-they just order take out.

But…maybe I need to get over my ideas about what a good wife looks like. So I baked some Wal-Mart pizzas, and rode along last week. Over the weekend I cooked easy meals and read a book on the subject of communication: ‘Unfriend Yourself’ by Kyle Tennant. He researched social media’s intended purpose as a social network (where information is shared), and it’s transformation into a social community (where people fill a need for connection with others).

Tennant doesn’t suggest doing away with social media, but he does cite the scripture that mentions our joy being complete when we gather face to face. His book made me wonder if we are all in danger of detaching-shutting down- from anything requiring too much effort-including conversations; including marriage itself.

Admittedly, there are times I want to keep some distance between myself and others so I send a text message, or email, rather than a phone call or visit.

It’s easy to detach when we have so many other options. Just like it’s easy for me to just stay home by myself and let the guys order take-out. In which case: no one is starving, but something is definitely missing. Or, rather, someone is missing. Companionship is the reward of fighting through struggles.

Tennant’s book inspired me to try and have more face to face time with others, even if that takes some effort. But if I can quit making things harder than they ought to be, the effort will be more manageable. I mean every farmer knows that food, even fast food, tastes better in the field. So I really can’t go wrong.

Andrea Beyers lives in Roscoe. Contact her at