Radke Report: Marriage advice for agricultural couples
I met my husband, Tyler, in college while evaluating ribeyes on the South Dakota State University Meats Judging Team.
Steaks — It’s what Hallmark movies should be made of, right?
Well, maybe not so much, but that’s our story, and we’ve now been married for 12 years and counting.
Of course, life was simpler when we were in our early twenties. Fast forward to today, we’ve got a mortgage, land payments, a herd of cattle, four kids, jobs to juggle, and the various responsibilities of adulthood that keep us busy from day-to-day.
Running an agricultural operation together as husband and wife has its fair set of challenges. Plans are canceled because the cows are out. Broken equipment means another check to write. Kids and their activities have us running ragged. Deadlines bring stress. And the list goes on.
But through the ups and downs of life, the best part about agricultural families is that ability to be together — to tend to the land and the livestock as a couple, raising the next generation to do the same. It’s what American dreams are made of, and it’s a joy to see these rich traditions still happening in rural America.
However, every once in awhile, a marriage needs some fine-tuning, and I asked my friends on social media friends for their best advice for a long-lasting marriage.
Here is what they suggested, and wow, is the advice good! Keep this column for future reference, and share with other couples who might benefit from the encouragement, too!
- Keep God at the center of your marriage. Always. The closer you get to God, the closer you'll get to each other.
- Automatic chutes save marriages!
- Get a babysitter and spend time alone together.
- Communication is key. You have to talk to each other!
- When your wife says it's time to cull that one, ole mean cow, do it.
- Be willing to do things your spouse enjoys. You might even discover a newfound love for their hobby, too!
- If you're having an argument, think to yourself, will this matter in 10 years? If not, let it go. If yes, work it out.
- Mutual respect is critical. Trust is paramount.
- Learn and accept you both have different love languages.
- Give each other grace and forgiveness.
- Have faith in God and each other.
- Take turns opening cattle gates!
- Work together! Remember you're on the same team!
- Critique in private, and never in front of others.
- Build your marriage on a good friendship, and make sure there is plenty of laughter in your home.
- Take time apart. When you live and work with each other 24/7, you need space to do your own thing.
- Put Jesus first, spouse second, and kids third.
- Always assume the other person is doing their best.
- Never talk badly about your spouse behind their back. If you have a problem with them, it is between only you and them, not you, your friends, your parents, and your spouse.
- Leave the past in the past. Don't bring up issues you've already worked through.
- What happens in the corral doesn’t stay in the corral, however much you want it to. Hurtful words don’t stop hurting when the situation settles. There shouldn’t be any place or situation where you don’t treat each other with respect.
- Always communicate about finances.
- Always say "I love you" and kiss each other good night.
What else would you add to the list, and how long have you been married? Shoot me an email with your marriage advice for farm and ranch couples to Amanda.firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you!
Amanda Radke is a fifth-generation rancher from Mitchell who has dedicated her career to serving as a voice for the nation’s beef producers. A 2009 graduate of South Dakota State University with a degree in agricultural communications, education and leadership, Radke is a blogger for BEEF Daily blog.