Last week my friend and I had the joy of taking a warm evening walk in town, and seeing the young kids testing out the depths of the water in the ditches. I bet some of them had “dares” to see who would go in the deepest. This same friend also gave me a copy of the book “The Love Dare” (www.lovedarebook.com).
Books can really change your life, and I believe that “The Love Dare” is the best gift you could give your family this month. The idea is to have a 40-day assignment to do things that will strengthen your marriage. For example, “Demonstrate love by willingly choosing to give in to an area of disagreement between you and your spouse. Tell them you are putting their preference first.” What issue did you choose? What did giving in cost you? How will this help you in the future?
May is one of the most intense months on the farm when the crop needs to be planted in a timely manner. There is lots of tension with deadlines, broken equipment, stuck tractors, and meals to the field. The intentional things we choose to do as we do in our love life as farmers is going to make a big difference to the resilience we have as couples to deal with the stresses of everyday farming.
Along with the book I would encourage you to see the DVD “Fireproof” (www.fireproofmymarriage.com)available at Walmart and bookstores. If you can’t get on the field, watch the movie together as a couple. You’ll enjoy the storyline of a couple who is on the brink of divorce due to many issues of disrespect, selfishness and poor communication.
I’ve also been reading “Bring Back the Joy” by Sheila Walsh, who had a strained relationship with her mom. Walsh says: “Sometimes it’s harder to love parents — whom we may want to blame for their contributions to our negative, shameful feelings — than it is to love strangers. If this is a problem for you, I suggest you take a new tack: Date your mother. …Get to know your mother in ways you haven’t before. Celebrate the woman she is. Say thank-you. Send flowers. Write her a note. Take her out to dinners. Buy her something she wanted as a child and never got. Move a little closer. Take another picture of her.”
Many farm moms would love their adult children to show them more love, and also work on their marriages. The love dare exercises would be great for each married generation on your farm, the newlyweds, and the more seasoned couples.
I believe that when the family home is harmonious and strong, the farm business can weather many different storms. My work takes me into situations where the family is well-connected and communicates well. These family meetings are a delight to facilitate. I also see farm couples who struggle with respect, selfishness, and tangled expectations.
We’re planning to do the Love Dare book over a period of time, not necessarily 40 days. I don’t ask readers to do things I am not willing to do myself.
We have four weddings coming up over the summer months, and two 50th anniversary celebrations. Regardless of whether you are just starting out as a couple, or in the winter season of your marriage, please pay attention to loving each other with intentional acts of kindness and thoughtfulness.
My husband and I don’t have our moms anymore, but we will still honour their memory on Mother’s Day. Is it time for you to ease your mother’s stress and promise her that you will work on improving your marriage? I bet that would be one of the best gifts you will ever give your mom.
“Love one another” is the inscription on my mother’s grave. Let it be your motive this month of May 2009, and forever.
I’d love to hear about the success of your “love dares.” Blessings to all for a safe, successful seeding season.
Elaine Froese farms with her husband in southwestern Manitoba. As a mediator, coach, and expert succession speaker she encourages farm families across Canada. Book her now for your fall conference at 1-866-848-8311 or visit www.elainefroese.comto buy her book “Planting the Seed of Hope.