It’s often hard to leave the ranch for a traditional date night. It seems like something always comes up, or we are in a ‘busy season’. (we have lots of busy seasons. 😉 ) But we have found that with a little effort and some goodwill – almost any day can be turned into a date! I have written about ranch dates before, but today I wanted to share three tips for the best ranch dates.
This is the biggest hurdle for me, and maybe for you too? I mean, we have to-do lists as long as our fridge, and if we randomly pick up and go with our husband – we will just get further behind!
But here’s the thing; sometimes we need the break more than checking something off our list. There will always be a long list, but today will not come again. We need to step back from the crazy now and then and see the big picture. Will we let another summer (or spring, fall, winter!) go past without taking a few hours off to just enjoy each other? Your husband is worth it. YOU are worth it. You can take a few hours every week or two, for ranch dates.
Recently, I bought a bag of mini-candy bars in town. The kids each ate one and then my older daughter reached for her second one and the younger child said: “Hey! Why can you have another one?!”
“Because I’m worth it,” she answered drily.
I had to chuckle.
“I’d hate to see the pile of candy bars that you are worth!” I told her. “It would be quite a mountain.”
Point is, you and your husband are worth it. Cleaning, laundry, dishes… they will be there when you get back. You need to make your marriage a priority.
Life on the ranch is so varied. From spring calving to fall shipping, we do it all. So you can’t count on every Friday night, like town jobs. Weekends may or may not be as busy as weekdays, depending on whom you work for. Sometimes you get off at a decent hour in the evening, and sometimes it’s work till bedtime and you’re so tired you fall into bed without the energy for a good-night.
Thing is, you have to be creative and say: “Oh, you have to ride again after super? Let me go along to help and we’ll make it a date!”
Or: “Bummer you have to feed on Sunday but I will ride in the tractor with you, get the gates, and we can make it a date!”
Or: “Yes! Let’s go fencing together! We can take a picnic, and set up the playpen for the baby in the bed of the truck – it will be fun!”
When you start thinking outside the box, you can find many opportunities for ranch dates!
Despite our best-laid plans, even ranch dates can go wrong. Suddenly your husband has to drop everything and go help someone else. Or put a bull back. Or you find a sick calf while you are fixing fence together, (that happened to us yesterday!) or the tractor breaks down mid-feed, or any myriad of ranch problems come up to wreck your plans.
Don’t sweat it. Just go with the flow. Remember, it’s ranch life, there will be another day and another ranch date soon if you are willing and creative! Try to not get upset or hurt feelings or take it personally. Just say “oh well” and try again soon. Your husband is likely more frustrated than you are, missing out on some time together. A little goodwill and a smile will smooth over many frustrating situations. You can be that soothing balm in your marriage and your home. Proverbs 15:1 1 Peter 3:4A little goodwill and a smile will smooth over many frustrating situations. Click To Tweet
Example of our ranch dates
Yesterday my man had to ride for health in the morning. I went along to help, but mainly for fun. It was a lovely ride. There’s a bit of rimrock-type country in this pasture, and it’s just the coolest spot! I asked my man to snap a picture of me riding there – because I am often behind the camera and rarely have photos of myself riding.
I rode down one draw (ravine) while he rode through the main bunch of cows. Then we met and each rode down more draws, checking each calf as we went. There are some deep little cricks in that pasture – I need to take some better pictures of them, next time.
We went home for lunch, then rode back out in the afternoon with the ATV loaded with fencing supplies. See, we normally have Saturday afternoon off work, but there is an issue of the neighbors bull and a flimsy fence… Well, we had to fix that fence, Saturday or no Saturday.
My husband assured me that I didn’t have to go along. “I don’t want to mess up your whole Saturday”, he said.
“We can take some Cokes along, and call it a date!” I said with a smile. He chuckled. “If it warms up, the mosquitoes will be out, and that will be quite a ‘date’!”
I just laughed and assured him that we had bug spray. 😉 But we were scarcely out there when I noticed that he had his own personal mosquito cloud hovering over him, so I made him stand still while I grabbed a quick snapshot. 😀 Thankfully, the wind picked up and we didn’t fight mosquitoes too bad.
What did happen, was rain. We had two quick rain showers, and they are not pleasant! Even on a hot summer day, rain in Wyoming is cold! The wind blows and the rain comes pelting in freezing sheets. Yesterday wasn’t too bad, in terms of rainstorms, but I still wimped out and sat in the ATV until it blew past. Not my man – he is tough and just snapped on a raincoat and kept working.
Making memories with ranch dates
We drove home in some more light rain, drinking our Cokes and enjoying just being together. I read somewhere that the more memories two people create together, the closer they feel to each other. I believe this is true. Small choices we make, being together vs. doing separate things, they add up.
Over 18 years of our relationship, I can see where every hour spent together adds another brick in the sturdy fortress of our love for each other. The stronger that fortress, the less likely it is to crumble. We have a large bank of shared memories with each other that we can look back and re-live; together.
This is one reason why I limit my memory-creating adventures with my girlfriends. I want to share the most memories and experiences with my husband, so our bond is the strongest one in my life. I love doing fun stuff with my friends, but I want to share the best times with my husband, to have the MOST shared memories with him.Every hour spent together adds another brick in the sturdy fortress of our love for each other. The stronger that fortress, the less likely it is to crumble. Click To Tweet
Make time for each other, bring the baby along if you need to, let your idea of a perfect housewife go… your marriage and your husband and yes, your own soul needs ranch dates as often as you can make them happen!
The Sego Lily blooms out here on the open prairie. I don’t know how it survives our harsh climate. The hurricane-force winds, the biting cold and blazing dry heat… but it waves and bends with the wind, fluttering its delicate petals but never breaking.
The world we live in is harsh and hostile towards Christian marriages. Satan is trying to destroy us, the World mocks us, our own selfish desires are a constant battle. But by the grace of God, by the power of Christ, we too, can withstand every storm and continue to show God’s design for a beautiful marriage to all who meet us.
You can find more tips for new ranch wives here.