My husband and I have been married three whole months today and I’m in Kansas while he is in New Mexico. I like to call this Ranch Wife 101, but really it’s what I’ve learned from dating and being married to a man who has dedicated his life to the agriculture industry. He’s a rancher who happens to farm. God forbid that he is called a farmer. He made a very ballsy decision during his second year of college to buy his half of the ranch. In the beginning, I wasn’t very fond of him, but he grew on me. It took me a while to recognize how amazing this man was. Everyday I am grateful that he didn’t give up on me.
Anyway, back to the things I’ve learned. My husband and I have always been long distance, besides one semester before he graduated college. We dated long distance for over three years, then we married only to continue our long distance streak. He has a job to do but so do I. I would never ask him to drop everything to “follow” me off to grad school and he would never ask the same of me. And besides, Mama didn’t raise no quitter. It’s only for a year and a half, right? Well here goes nothing with my Ranch Wife 101.
- My husband is the best roommate I will ever have. I know this is odd, but I got a roommate after getting married. I don’t like for my husband to pay for school or my rent. I strive to pay for everything KSU related on my own (usually through scholarships). Living with him was so much easier. I did all the cooking, the cleaning, the grocery shopping and it was great. It was easier to get things done because they needed to be done. I did not hold him accountable for chores within the house unless something needed fixing. However, I expect my current roommate to pitch in on EVERYTHING. 50/50, right? Most of all with my husband, everything in the house is organized my way. It’s a completely different standard, but what can I say? He’s an awesome roommate. He takes care of everything outside and I take care of everything inside.
- Dates are no longer dinner and a movie. I’ve learned that dates are not about going out somewhere and spending some money. They are about the time I get to spend with my husband, just he and I. Sometimes we go on a date to check cows/calves. For one, he knows I love doing this with him and that way I get to see all the babies in the pastures. Our last date was taking a ride around a field in his new swather while he cut hay. He probably appreciates my appreciation of the dates where he still gets some work done. Also, we’re old souls. At the end of the day we most likely want to go inside to watch a movie and snuggle on the couch.
- Plans can never really be made or set in stone. I should just be glad that we set a wedding date somehow managed to plan everything around that! Well, honestly, we got married when we did because it was between hay cuttings, but I digress. I can’t plan trips that include him leaving the ranch until the week of. There really is no “good” time to plan a trip. His plans and his schedule depend solely on whether there are calves to feed in the grow yard, the season, what needs repairing and how soon, and most of all – the weather. You can only plan so much without an actual set date. I’ve struggled with this one quite a bit as I am a planner and tend to be very anal retentive. I don’t just roll with the punches or just wing it. I need time to plan, but I am becoming more understanding of things I have no control over.
- Pick your battles. I know, I know. You’ve heard this one a million times from everyone giving marital or relationship advice. Guess what? It’s true! It holds even more true in our life. During the school year we see each other on intervals that range from 3-6 weeks. I’ve learned that the petty or tiny things are not worth fighting over and ruining our weekend together. However, some things are WORTH fighting over. It’s healthy for us to fight once in a while. Fighting over the fact that he leaves the kitchen a mess for me to come home to isn’t worth fighting over. Yes, it drives me crazy, but it’s not worth fighting over.
- Leave it at the pens. This is probably the most important one and sometimes the most difficult. I get yelled at while we’re gathering from the pasture or even when we’re just in the pens. It happens to everyone. It doesn’t mean he loves me less or is angry with me. The greatest lesson is to not take it personally. In reality, when I get scolded, I’m not in the right spot or I’m moving slowly. There’s an intent behind it. I’m still learning. He’s done this for his entire life and I haven’t. After he’s yelled, “Are you planning on helping at any point today?” from the other side of the pasture, I need to get my butt into gear and push the cows. I also need to be able to recognize that he was in “work mode” and once the work is done, he’s my happy husband again. I am in no way a submissive individual, but I do understand that when I am in the pens, he’s my boss. He still treats me with respect in the pens and his only intention is to teach me so that I keep myself and the cattle safe. This point is the hardest to explain but is incredibly important.
My husband has taught me so much over the past three years. I may be getting my Master’s in animal science, but that in no way means that I know more than him. Getting good grades in animal science classes only contributes so much compared to his life on the ranch. He practices it each and every day while I read about and study it each and every day. I couldn’t ask for more from the person I get to spend the rest of my life with.