Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Married to a Firefighter... Tips To Keep Your Relationship with a Real Life Hero Healthy

I found this article as I looking for answers, and it brought a calming feeling - I am not the only one, I am not a bad wife, I am just human.

By Michelle Powers

Being married to someone who serves the community can be very challenging. There will be times that in the middle of dinner he/she will have to up and leave, holidays were you spent most of the time alone, and taking care of things around the house can be a daunting task when you do it alone. How do you keep a marriage or partnership like this together and healthy?

1. The partner who serves the community needs to pick a day and turn the pager off. That means not going on any calls, focusing on the family only.

2. Make sure that if you feel lonely that you state those feelings instead of having your needs met elsewhere.

3. Set up a support group, a group of people you can call when you are frustrated or sad.

4. Make sure you do not take on all the responsibilities because you will only end up resenting your partner. Not everything we always get done and that is okay.

5. If children are involved make sure the person serving the community has really good boundaries. They will have to learn to put the family first sometimes even though that might not be easy. Birthdays and other specials days are not to be interrupted. 

6. Remind your partner he/she cannot save the world and if they want a marriage they are going to have to accept that.

7. Make sure you have hobbies, crafts, or projects that you like to do.

8. Keep the rest of your family close; they can be a huge support.

9. Take care of yourself and make yourself happy, never depend on anyone but yourself to do that.

10. If possible get some extra help so the times when your partner are home they can be spent doing fun things.

11. If you are upset and/or frustrated, state that. Never keep your feelings inside because they will only fester.

12. Some firehouses/EMT houses have auxiliaries that partners can join to feel more connected. 

13. The firehouse is not your house, make sure you have a home of your own, a place that is a safe place just for you.

14. Have a schedule and stick with it. Just because your partner is home doesn't mean you have to be. 

15. Having a journal can be helpful tool to help manage stress.

16. Going to a couple's therapist on a regular basis can be a helpful tool in keeping the partnership healthy. 

17. Schedule a date night and stick too. If you are too tired to go out, go anyways because you don't know when the next opportunity will be. 

18. Check in with each other at least once a day while at work on the phone. This is a great way to make sure you both know what is going on. 

19. Sometimes friends have to come second when there is free time. Family at all times will and should always come first. 

20. Having a pet can be very helpful in feeling less alone.

21. If possible plan a vacation away and enjoy each other without any interruptions.

22. Never go to bed angry because you never know if that is the last time you will see someone.

There are two simple things to keep in mind. Make sure that if you are lonely that you let your partner know and that you need more time. If he/she is unwilling to give up more time then gently remind them that you are being honest instead of getting your needs met elsewhere. This is not a threat, open and real honest communication is really important. 

Never go to bed angry or have your partner go on a call angry. This is really important because they last thing you would ever want is something to happen and that argument be your last interaction.

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