As noted in the Blueprint for a Mental Health Action Plan one of the main stressors on farms is relationships whether they be with family or the people we hire to work on the farm.  Dr Bill Howatt had some fantastic insight in the Relationship Survival Tips  webinar on a few microskills to build healthy relationships.  I encourage you to watch the entire 30-minute session, when time allows.  This summary does not do this webinar justice.

Relationship Realities

To put it bluntly, relationships can be great at times but be hard at other times.  Dr Howatt says that loving relationships start with having the right mind set and require a willingness to work and grow. 

The right foundation needs to be in place to create relationship stability and longevity.  Values, beliefs, goals, rules, roles and desires need to be evaluated for this to happen. What do you like to spend your energy on?

Loving Relationships are Dynamic

Key to note that we need to fall in love with ourselves before we can fall in love with someone else.  First, build a relationship with yourself, and learn to love yourself

Relationship Survival Guide Tips

It is interesting to note that Jesse, from Howatt HR mentions he and his wife have “business like” meetings to discuss how to support and check in with each other on their relationship.  The following three steps help guide the conversation and regroup on the status of your relationship.

First, VALIDATE.  Each person in the relationship writes out what their job is and is not in the relationship.  Then PROCESS.  Each person reads their list without being interrupted and with respectful body language and facial gestures.  Lastly, DECISION.  Participate in an open discussion about each of the jobs.  This will help remove assumptions, inequities, and ensures both parties feel heard, valued and respected.

Tips for Dealing with Anger

Never Make Decisions While Emotional

  • Making life decisions while upset can be a road to regret.
  • Have a calm conversation to understand the facts.  Do not assume you have all the context.
  • Reflect on the whole person not one situation.
  • Decide what you want.  Then discuss your want with your partner.
  • Then agree on how to solve the problem, best options for both at that moment and when and how you will decide.

5 Tips for Building Loving Relationships