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Feature Article


During busy harvest, farm couples should
make time to connect

Eileen Yager, Communications Officer, Extension & Ag Information, University of Missouri,

Long hours in the field mean little time for anything else during harvest season. Although many things can wait until the crops are in, the relationship with a spouse should not be among them, said a University of Missouri Extension human development specialist.

“Effective communication can reduce stress and enhance the relationship,” said Nina Chen. “Talking about your emotions, fears and concerns can provide a feeling of relief.”

Chen’s advice applies to all couples, but it is especially appropriate for farm couples as farmers work through another challenging harvest season.

“It’s surprising the number of couples that don’t talk,” she said. “Couples need to talk and share their dreams, emotions and concerns. It’s so easy to have misunderstandings or conflicts.”

While it may seem impossible to squeeze in one more thing, even just a few minutes of talking can help minimize stress, she said. “Evening meals are an ideal time to share and process the day’s events.”

First thing in the morning over a cup of coffee or just before going to bed are other times couples can share, Chen said. Running errands together is another way for couples to have time alone.

Chen said couples also should make a point of carving out at least one longer period of time for themselves each week. “If the couple can have a regular time to deal with issues, they will be more productive,” she said. “A lot of things become issues because couples don’t have time to talk.”

Couples that share their goals, dreams, fears and concerns have a deeper understanding about each other and are more likely to achieve their goals together, rather than apart.


Source: Nina Chen, (816) 876-2781



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Last Updated 11/09/2009