Dr. Val Farmer
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Rural Mental Health & Family Relationships

Readers Give More Advice To Montana Farm Woman

June 1, 1998

A Montana woman wrote about giving up her city career to marry a farmer. She felt she didn’t have challenging work in her life and was shut out from the family farming operation. Here are some more responses.

From South Dakota. A woman wrote about her family’s experience of moving back to a family farm. "I can actually thank the Lord for this because I absolutely HATED the whole experience and we would have never had gotten out of there if they (her brother and sister-in-law) had not been so horrible to my husband. To this poor lady in Montana, I can only say either move to a city and get a job and LIFE and see your husband occasionally or cut your losses and get the hell out of there. Save yourself!"

From Iowa. "Two years ago I could have written a similar letter . . . I turned to my inner strength and my faith and struggled through. I finally got tired of feeling sad and inadequate. I wanted my life back and me back.

"I started by turning to my husband and telling him exactly how I felt. And he told me his feelings. We realized how important we were to each other. We started working things out together. My husband and I started making decisions together about the farm. I now feel a part of the farm. Gone is the feeling of being an outsider."

She described how she started hobbies, shared joint hobbies with her husband and began running a tractor and other farm equipment. "It took a lot of time, patience and love to get us where we are today. But I wouldn't change my life for anything now."

From Iowa. A widow wrote about how she and her husband planned, prayed and did things together. "We enjoyed visiting a sick neighbor, taking a loaf of bread or helping them physically, visiting the elderly in hospitals and rest homes, working together with flowers and the garden. We enjoyed the boys' and girls' 4-H clubs all the years they grew up.

"There are so many lonely people who need a friend, as you do. One can look beyond what we were and to what we are -and to a future, of what we can be." Her suggestion was to learn her new way of life, join a church, look out for needs of others, plant flowers or go fishing.

"I could have yearned for greener pastures perhaps, but a life of use and contentment with an ambitious farmer husband, living on our acres and helping where we could has given me great joy in my old age. Am I stupid, useless or isolated? I don't believe so. I am busy every day."

From North Dakota. "Your letter touched me because you stated so many things I felt . . . What I want to tell you is DON'T GIVE UP! I managed to make peace with my situation by searching out activities that would give me a sense of self worth. I have always loved computers and I talked my husband into buying me one. I now spend any spare hours exploring and learning new things to do with it. I handle all our bookkeeping and tax records plus my hobby records.

She then described a hobby - a small business she started out of her home. "Getting that first check for something I created and someone else wanted was GREAT!"

This woman also struggled in her marriage because her husband was very set in his ways. Their commitment and love saw them through their difficulties. "My husband now takes my opinions seriously and will actually help with the cooking and cleaning! A feat I never believed possible."

From Minnesota. Another woman wrote how she made the transition from city life to country living. She wrote about the importance of communication with her husband, her family and close friends. "Keep your husband in your life. It sounds like you made a lot of changes to be with him. Love between two people is something to behold, something to hang on to.

"My friends are my greatest assets!" She advises `alone time’ whether it is a walk in the woods or a week away from home. She suggests asking God for guidance.

"Take time to do the things you enjoy doing - hobbies, sewing, movies, shopping with a friend. Do this at least once a week." She also described her own enjoyments - sewing, bookkeeping, collecting dishes, writing letters, cake decorating, crafts, photography, tracing family history and traveling with her husband.

From North Dakota. "I read a book about a famous actress, Anne Baxter who did what 'Montana' did, left her career in Hollywood to live on her husband’s large ranch in Australia! You would do well to read it but I don't recall the title. First essential reading is, `Chicken Soup for the Woman's Soul.’ . . . These true stories are only one page long, yet moved me to tears of inspiration . . .

"Treat your time alone as a treat. Play music YOU like; rent a movie your spouse said 'nah' to and you relented. A bubble bath for you - not your hubby - with your favorite coffee and candles. You see, you can never really 'go back home.' Once you emotionally rest up, you'll go back to your rancher over and over."

From Wyoming. This woman wrote about how her husband travels a great deal and how she copes with farming, haying, calving, housework and a son in his absence. She has learned not to sweat the small stuff.

"Be thankful you have your husband home every night, one who doesn't have to have another job."