A Working Ranch/Marriage

The column “What I’ve Learned,”  about my sixteenth wedding anniversary evolved while trying to come up with material based on an idea I had to write about things I’ve learned since my husband and I got married. During my  free-writing session, I created two lists; one that went into my column and another that was a list of similarities between working with cows and working with my husband, which I thought was kinda funny and true. I decided my list of similarities was too good to toss and thought it would make a good blog post; using it in my column would’ve made my word count double. So here’s what didn’t make it in my column:

Oddly, ranching has taught me a few things about marriage. Believe it or not, you can learn a lot about relationships from working with cows. Here is a list of some of the things I’ve learned:
1. Taking the time to do preventive maintenance work will avoid a bigger mess to deal with down the road.
2. In understanding my spouse, I practice using the same strategy I use to understand cows; it’s helpful sometimes to try and think like my husband.
3. Similarly to cows, my husband doesn’t know how to ask for or accept help when it’s obvious he needs it. He may deny my help but he’s usually appreciative when I ignore him and help anyway, but cows aren’t in the habit of stating their appreciation.
4. Working with my spouse can be a lot like working with cows; I have to keep in mind that the work won’t go smoothly every time and try not to get discouraged.
5. In dealing with cows, I’ve learned it’s best to just expect the unexpected, that way I won’t be disappointed and when things do go as planned, it’s a pleasant surprise. This logic has also been useful when my husband and I are working on a project together.
6. Whether it’s the weather or my spouse’s off-day attitude, both can frustrate me at times. I’ve learned that if I just wait a while, it will change.
7. Obstacles should be expected in any plan regardless of who I’m working with.
8. Be on the lookout for signs of trouble ahead; then take care of it before it gets out of hand.
9. Learn to improvise if necessary. My household pretty much lives by this theory.
10. Sometimes spontaneity works out better than having a plan. This has been successful when moving cows last-minute or when my husband and I haven’t reconnected in a while.
11. I’ve accepted the fact that my spouse’s and cows’ behavior, actions, decisions, or reasoning can be hard to understand sometimes and it’s not worth the energy to try and figure them out.
12. Both can make me fuming mad at times but my anger usually doesn’t last long.
13. Some days I’m not very good at bluffing my husband or our cows.
14. Working with my husband or our cows instead of against either of them accomplishes more with less frustration; and gets the task done faster.
15. Some days dealing with cows or my husband takes patience (the same can be true in dealing with me also).
16. I know if I’ve made either of them really mad because there are definite signs to tell me.
17. My husband and cows can both smell a trap.
18. Tone of voice influences desired results.
19. Trying to push too hard to make things happen tends to backfire.
20. I can’t change either of them. I just have to accept them the way they are and find ways to deal with their habits.

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