Empty Trailers and 20 Years of Marriage

“Today’s the day,” he said as I picked up the phone. I could tell by the sound of his voice what he was referring to. The day all show moms dread...time to ship some of the barrows to market. 

It’s never easy when your kids spend a big part of their day working with their animals in the barn. But this year, Harper, age 6, became super attached to her Berkshire barrow. Although she understands why we raise pigs, it’s still not an easy day for any of us. 

When my husband pulled up to the house with the pigs on the trailer, I walked outside with Harper to say our good-byes. We’ve tried many approaches but have found closure works best for our family.

Dan picked up Harper and walked with her into the trailer, sharing his wisdom and attempting to make a hard situation easier. I was reminded in the moment of what I value the most in our marriage: teamwork. He knows just when to step in and help me.

We’ll be celebrating 20 years of marriage this week – I just about choked on my coffee thinking about it. The time goes by so quickly and as the years add up, I appreciate them even more. 

We’ve certainly had our good days and our hard days, but through it all, I couldn’t be more thankful. In celebration of 20 years, here are 20 things we’ve learned to make our marriage work.

1.    Always be your spouse’s biggest fan.
2.    Listen more than you offer advice.
3.    Be the first to apologize.
4.    Quit trying to make it perfect – there’s no such thing.
5.    Don’t go to bed angry. 
6.    Have each other’s back. 
7.    Admit when your spouse is right and you are not.
8.    Look for ways to show your love without expectation of anything in return.
9.    Don’t stop talking and communicating.
10.    Take care of yourself – you can’t give what you don’t have.
11.    Realize when you need to stop pushing.
12.    Show up.
13.    Nurture your friendship.
14.    Don’t ever mention the D word, even if you’re joking.
15.    Say thank you every day.
16.    Keep dreaming about your future and what you’ll do next.
17.    Don’t take your fights to your family or friends – you’ll get over it, they may not.
18.    Be grateful for the things that drive you crazy...like snoring.
19.    Focus on their strengths, not their weaknesses.
20.    Pray together.

When he returned home with the empty trailer last night, I couldn’t help but be grateful. Grateful for another safe road trip, for surviving the teary good-byes and most of all, for experiencing this life together. Sometimes we make life so complicated when it doesn’t have to be. At the end of the day, marriage truly is about teamwork – less me and more we.

More from Farm Journal's PORK:

A Conflicted Mom’s Take on Showing Livestock During COVID

Quarantine Lessons You Can Only Learn in the Barn

Farmers Show Up and Move Forward


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