A farmer many years ago sat in the kitchen of his mother’s older home, his head down, explaining how he had wished he had seen the signs coming. He and his wife had grown apart, raising kids and being active in farm organizations, and had not spent time with each other. As a result, she asked for a divorce, and he was left wondering where the relationship went wrong.
Garland Antrim has an answer. It’s not an antidote, but he believes it’s a step in the right direction. He’s a tough-nosed, excellent manager, who operates a large grain operation with his son in north-central Indiana. But when you run into him, he is more likely to ask you about flowers than about the price of corn or beans.
In fact, when we ran into him at Becknology Days, a series of field days hosted by Beck’s Hybrids, Atlanta, he was carrying a vase filled with small purple flowers with him. These were actually for him- it was his birthday. Normally he’s buying flowers for his spouse.
His favorite question to ask someone is simply this: “When is the last time you bought your wife flowers?” If you can’t remember, he believes you’re headed down a lonely road. Antrim believes such a simple, inexpensive act as buying flowers, whether it’s for an occasion or not, can remind your spouse that you still love and appreciate them.
He’s become somewhat of a crusader. A couple of years ago, Indiana Prairie Farmer saluted his noble efforts in an editorial. His intentions go far beyond flowers and keeping florists in business. His goal is to keep families together, beginning with husbands and wives.
Farming is tough today, he notes. No one should take their spouse for granted. If you take time to buy them flowers and give them to them now and then, it not only says how much you appreciate them, it causes you to stop and think about all the reasons that you love them, and why the two of you are together.
Flowers given a little more often might not have prevented the tragedy that the farmer in the opening paragraph suffered. But he believes spending more time together, making time for themselves, and realizing that even busy farm couples raising children need some time to themselves could have helped restore a relationship before it slipped past the breaking point.