It’s tough deciphering your farmer’s hand gestures when you’re backing a trailer or working cattle. It can be frustrating when one partner repeatedly insists on tokens of affection and gets upset when you miss important dates because you’re in the middle of planting corn.
It’s probably easier to back up a trailer to the loading chute right on the first try in a truck missing the driver’s side mirror and sketchy steering than it is to figure out a farmer’s “love language.”
But even though Valentine’s Day has passed, it’s never too late to make an effort.
According to Pastor Gary Chapman, there are “Five Love Languages” that everyone responds to in relationships. The trick is to figure out which one unlocks communication in your partner.
Words of affirmation
When your farmer gets it right, tell him or her. Bring it to his or her attention. “Honey, I really do appreciate how you make sure to warm up the truck before you ask me to haul a load of calves to the sale in the unexpected spring blizzard.” Or, maybe try “you know, I really do appreciate it when you come home on your lunch to break ice in water troughs when I can’t make it.” It’s not enough to be appreciative, you actually have to voice those thoughts. Be brave.
This sounds like it should be a cakewalk, but remember, not everyone responds the same to all gifts. An unexpected bouquet of flowers for one might have the same reaction as a pallet of seed corn for another. When in doubt, a little Pinterest Board stalking can help find what your partner really desires, and help you avoid an awkward, “oh, wow … no really … who wouldn’t be thrilled with new roping gloves for Mother’s Day?”
Acts of service
If your farmer keeps the oil changed in the car, plows the driveway so you can get the kids to school, or teaches you to use a shotgun in case you see a rattlesnake and he’s not around, this could be his language. If your farmer takes care of the books, makes the doctor appointments, or keeps you company in the calving shed at 3 a.m. in minus 12 degree weather, that’s her love language. You see sometimes just keeping gas in the car really says, “I love you.”
Juggling young children and their activities and the needs of a farm, along with aging parents and grandparents and off-farm careers, can leave precious little time for a scheduled Date Night. So make the time for quality time when you can. Sometimes spending a couple of hours in a pickup truck checking irrigation wells, pasture fences or working on a project around the house is enough.
Hold hands when you’re shopping for groceries at 10:30 at night after the kids’ basketball tournament because you’re in town and you’re out of toilet paper. Or, maybe manage a quick two-step in the kitchen while dinner’s warming in the oven. Even a brief hug can make a difference after a particularly trying day with farm equipment.
While translating your farmer’s love language may be tougher than freshman Spanish, I promise it’s worth it in the end.
Jennifer M. Latzke can be reached at 620-227-1807 or email@example.com.