One might think that you love a farmer the same way you would love another man. That person is…wrong…
When I say love a farmer, I mean to love a farmer who is your other half—the man that completes you—the man that you would only be half a person without.
These men are special.
These men go without so others may have.
They love with a love so big that’s it often unseen.
These men are part of the hardworking providers that take care of many more than just their own families. They feed my family, and they feed yours. In their busy lives, they need a special kind of wife that knows just how to love them.
I don’t pretend to be perfect in the love I give to my Farmer. I am flawed. I make hideous, embarrassing, huge mistakes. Yet my Farmer loves me anyway—unconditionally. In our years, I have tried to pay very close attention to the main Farmer in my life, as well as the many others around me.
They are indeed, a very special breed. They should come with special care instructions. But, alas, they do not. So I offer only what I believe to be the basic needs of any modern farmer.
My imperfect advice:
Hold his hand
Yes, hold his hand—even though it will never be clean. A farmer’s work is never done. Even when the humble smile on his face says, I’m fine, well rested, I can take a break, his hands will tell a different story. They will be cracked and dirty—the kind of dirty that will probably never come clean.
If you wait for his hands to be squeaky clean, you’ll miss out on holding his warm, loving hand forever. Don’t make him feel ashamed. Let him know you love him for who he is, not who you want him to clean up to be.
You may think you are being polite by telling him, “Go ahead without me. I know when you finish that field you’ll be home and we’ll spend time together then.” But honestly, after that field there will be another one, and another one…
When you are content to sit back and wait for his work to be done, you will grow further from him. And just because he doesn’t complain, doesn’t mean he isn’t lonely and doesn’t miss you as well.
You don’t want to be the couple who compensates by letting loneliness eat you apart, or by “guarding” your heart by filling it with other things. You want an everlasting ‘Til death do us part love.
If you want to see your farmer, you’re going to need to ride in the tractor with him from time to time. Spend your day sorting cattle alongside him. Help move equipment. Mount a horse of your own on the next round-up.
Put on some makeup
Or a nice skirt. Or your favorite pair of jeans. Or do your hair. Do whatever it is that shows him you want to impress him, and that you still want to catch his eye.
Doing it at home says you want to impress him. Doing it in public—even when he’s in his tractor clothes, with muck on his boots, wind-blown hair, and bug-eyes that say he hasn’t slept in months—says you respect him, and that you’re proud to be seen with him.
My Farmer doesn’t care if I wear my rags, don’t do my make-up and don’t brush my hair. He doesn’t. But when I do, it shows him I respect him—even when he’s not asking for it.
A farmer’s life is a humble one. He needs a humble woman by his side.
Even though he goes without, he doesn’t expect you to. The truth, however, is that you will—at least from time to time. A man that loves you will notice, and his heart will hurt—unless you can take it in with grace, and even pride.
He doesn’t need a wife that hides things, or is a great pretender—because it won’t last long. He needs a wife that will humble herself, and put him first—because often, he won’t.
Make him lunch
Once upon a time it was considered a sign of affection to make your husband lunch. These days, it’s considered low by many for a woman to serve her husband.
Let me just make this clear—my husband has never, ever demanded I serve him—anything. In fact, if I never showed up to feed him at noon in his tractor, he probably would never notice. He’d just keep working—because that’s what farmers do.
The men and women who put in countless hours making sure everyone else has plenty to eat often go without meals—or eat convenience foods at the very most.
I need my Farmer to stay strong, healthy, and alert. Making him lunch is not as much about serving as it is survival. If you love your farmer, then make him lunch—he’ll need it—and he’ll be thankful.
Be his biggest cheerleader
We used to live in a world where those that fed us got our utmost respect. Unfortunately, in today’s world, there is always a reason to cut someone down. GMO farmers are pitted against the organic farmers, and vice versa. Vegetables are good for you—except that many would have you believe that corn is killing us all. Wheat is a basic survival crop in much of the world—except in top countries where we think it’s the cause of all our problems.
The truth is, many people aren’t ready to grow up and just be kind to those who provide for them. They can’t see that corn and wheat farmers don’t wake up in the morning wondering how they can kill off half the world.
There will be plenty of people who privately indulge in what they will while publically cutting down our hard working farmers, no matter what they grow and produce.
You can’t be one of them. You must be his number one fan—no matter what he chooses. The decisions on what to produce to feed the world aren’t easy ones. Be ever so careful to remember that when you are tempted to disagree with his farming decisions—or those of his farming friends.
Pray for him
Have I ever told you how panicked I was when I found out on my last trip to Peru that a seed drill dropped on my husband’s arm? He was out behind all the barns where no one could see him, and honestly, no one would ever hear him yell for help. Without a phone, he was under the drill, and a part of it fell on his arm—a five-hundred pound part. He was trapped.
It can freeze any night of the year here—even throughout the summer. The wild animals move in near the house at night—and certainly in our barns. Here I was on another continent, and no one even knew he was there. No one would come by to check on him.
I would like to say that these things are unusual, or unlikely, but they are not. They aren’t unusual for my Farmer, and they aren’t unusual for other farmers. These are everyday occurrences on farms.
Farm accidents happen every day. If you know older farmers, then you probably know at least one who’s missing fingers. (Fortunately for us, an extreme stroke of good luck saved my Farmer that day—but that’s another story.)
Our men need our prayers—not our worries.
Let me repeat that in another way.
A farmer’s wife can spend her days worried sick—to the point where she can have a mental breakdown—and I’d be lying if I said that didn’t happen either. You can’t do this. Either he needs to change his profession for your sanity, or you need to turn that worry into something helpful—prayer.
You can let worry ruin your life, or you can turn that energy into prayer, and trust that your farmer is experienced and educated, and hopefully careful. (Having good friends and a mother-in-law that check on him won’t hurt either.)
Invite his single friends to dinner
Marrying my farmer and moving to rural Idaho introduced me to my first farm—yes–first. My regular readers know I worked in the health field. And so here I was, newly married to a farmer, working in an ER where all the farmers who came in were single.
Although some were widowers, most the men were divorced—multiple times. Loving a farmer is easy. Staying with a farmer is hard.
You’ll wake up alone. You’ll have to take care of kids alone—seven days a week—from spring through fall. You’ll eat alone. You’ll celebrate alone. You’ll go to bed alone.
If you want a chance to see him during the day when he comes by the house “really quick” you’ll stay in that house all day long for just the chance. And then, one day, you’ll say to yourself, I’ve had it. I’m done. And this is what these farmers have been through—often with multiple wives.
If you aren’t careful—you could be one of these ex-wives. Be certain, your farmer is well aware of this—and possibly, it worries him. Show him you’re in this for the long run. One way you can do that is by showing your support to his friends when they are hurting. Because I promise you, even if they say it was for the better, they are hurting.
When your husband sees that you care about his friends’ situation, it may give him comfort that your heart is understanding—that you don’t think he deserves to be alone—and that you are in this for the long haul.
Talk dirt to him
Women can think of many different things at once. We can talk simultaneously to multiple people, and switch back and forth with ease. Men? Can’t. Simple as that.
Farmers in particular, have a one-tractor mind. I promise you, when you’re paranoid about why he isn’t talking about you, why he lost track of time, why he forgot something (again), there is only one thing on his mind—dirt.
Want to have a conversation with him? Ask him what he’s planting this year. Ask him when he’s moving the cows. Ask him anything farm related, and he’ll suddenly find himself in a conversation with you—it will naturally evolve from there.
Most importantly, don’t take it personally. Most of us just aren’t as powerful or shiny as that new tractor or combine…
Tuck him in
If you’ve been married for awhile, then you know the kind of hours your farmer works.
I know that it’s not unusual for my Farmer to work all day, and into the night. When he just can’t stay awake anymore (or he’s waiting for the dew to come on to the hay), he pulls out his bed roll, lays under the tractor, and gets only a couple hours before getting up and going at it again.
I always hated the thought of having to tell any adult what to do—especially my husband. He’s a man—I shouldn’t have to tell him what to do like I do my child. However—part of the responsibility of being a farmer’s wife is to figuring out how to make them stop every once in awhile and sleep.
Be his friend
Study’s show any man’s #1 need is to be respected. His #2 need is physical intimacy. His #3 need is a friend.
Farmers work sun-up to sun-down, every day of the week—on holidays, and when they are sick. When do they have time for friends?
Be the wife who has the time. Do his stuff with him.
My husband’s farm is the first farm I have ever been too. Dead serious. I didn’t have the desire to live here, to do these things, to be a farmHer. But I love him more than anything—and so I do.
I have chased cows—on horseback, in a truck, on foot. I have branded cows, delivered babies, culled chickens, cried when a flash flood took away half my garden (instead of heading to the grocery store), rode in the tractor until I was falling asleep more times than I could ever count—because those are his things. Those are the things he loves to do. I want to be his friend—and that means being his friend.
Every farmer, like every man, is different. But I believe the farmer’s wife is in a unique situation. After all, how many women can say their husband owns vast amounts of land and feeds the world for a living? That’s pretty impressive. Own it ladies. Walk proud, and love him big.
Please ladies, share with your community how you love your farmer.