Do you feel last on the priority list? We all know it is supposed to be family first, in the fire life. Yet, how many times have we rolled our eyes at that one? We probably have all felt the sting of selfishness from wanting your hubby to just be home, instead of rescuing another. That might be one of the hardest parts about being married to a fire fighter… wanting to be rescued, keeping busy in your tower, all for the better good. Well, before you think I am all damsels in distress, put your shields down and stay with me.
Many of you who know me personally are well aware of how awesome and in love my husband and I are. When we started dating, it was the perfect high school romance. When we were together, the world would literally melt away. We were the portrait the perfect couple. He was so dreamy and perfect for me, it was as if I was in fairy tale. I truly feel we were destined to be together. People still, after 14 years say, “We knew you two would last. Seeing you guys still laughing and in love gives us hope.”
Fairy Tale to Humpty Dumpty All Over the Floor
Lately though, I am not sure if anyone would say that. The saddest part is, neither of us really knew it. Well, we did know something was wrong, but we just attributed it to the stress of life. The fire department, 3 very young kids, and the three businesses we run that affords him to work there, can take a toll on even the strongest relationships.
We were both running around, just plain angry. It was as if our floors were MADE of egg shells. Sometimes it seemed easier to just tip toe round certain subjects. Do you know I hate eggshells? My feet are sore from walking on them. My heart aches for my comfy floors again. It aches for my peaceful home. Anyone relate?
Thankfully, that has all changed.
Feeling Left Out and Unimportant
He was leaving on a trip. Not just leaving, but going to have fun and ski, WITHOUT me, taking my oldest boys, and leaving me with the baby and a messy house. I was so sad on the inside, but I tried so hard to be positive so they would leave on a good note. Unfortunately, by this point, the last thing I wanted to do was something nice for him. Yet for some reason, I felt moved to. Some of the ladies in the Fire Fighter Wife private group were talking about ideas for Valentine’s Day. One of them was to do a fire themed Boudoir photo session. Though completely out of my comfort zone, I felt inspired.
Just Another Box On the Check List
This may be too much info, but this is so huge, I can’t edit it out. Consider yourself officially warned. Even more than not wanting to do something nice for him, I didn’t feel like “doing anything” for him either, if you know what I mean. This was the perfect time for one of my favorite sayings to pop in my head; I am not moved by how I feel or what I see. I have Faith. Basically, that means, feelings are feelings. They change. I try not live by my “feelings”. In other words, keep the love unconditional, but make choices because you know they are the right thing to do. Not because you feel or don’t feel like doing them.
That day, night time came too fast, the kids were too much, my hubby was too crabby, and I was too spent. There we were again, at the end of our day, and our rope, lying there, but feeling miles apart. Very well knowing, even though I didn’t want to, he’d be in an even worse mood if we didn’t, well, you know, distress. I whispered grudgingly, “Ya, wanna to do it?” In a hurt voice, “Well of course I do, but not if you don’t. Just forget it.” My poor hubby… I could just hear his heart break. Then the words I wish I could take back, just flew out of my mouth. “
Well, it is my job…” That is when I heard it shatter into a million pieces. Instantly, I knew I’d gone a quiet a bit over the top.
Thank goodness, we both started opening up. With his schedule that week, it took two days for us to be in a good place. Most importantly, I let him know how I felt. Mostly, I wanted to be as important, as all his other things on his list. Not that I actually wasn’t, it just felt like I that way.
There was an “us” that I missed. A photograph I found is a perfect example. The only thing in it is me holding his hand, but as you can see, we are so in love. I wanted his view to be like this again, like the camera showed. I wanted him to have enough free space in his mind to even have the ability to think about me. Harder still, was telling him it was MY fault. How mostly I was jealous, of where he spends his time and energy. I don’t like that I feel this way. In fact, it makes me feel like a child. But I am jealous! Jealous of the fun, the hobbies, and the time alone: to think, to eat, to shower, even to pee for Heaven’s sake!
How had my life turned into me, just checking off boxes on some made up check list?I am not sure, but this picture sure says how I felt some days! Can you say unhealthy? Sort of funny, but sort of not.
What was that reignited the fire? Humility, humbleness? A willing to talk? Oh, but then there was my gift…Yes. Oh, I am sure it was the book that helped! This may be taboo, but maybe we were getting along so much better because his”love tank was full”. Wink. Wink. May I add, not like it was a chore on some list, but with genuine joy. I know, weird. If you need it spelled out for you, I have done this before and you can read about it here.
No. Not really. Gotcha. There wasn’t any one thing that did it. Nothing new I learned that changed either of us into a better spouse. No AH-ha moment. No light bulb. Sometimes just knowing something has got to change is enough. Feeling the unhappiness and knowing it is foreign. Like an alien that you need to blow (the insert favorite word here) ____ up! Partly, I feel it was getting rid of my pride. Admitting one’s faults, especially our least favorite, is not fun. Personally, I feel completely vulnerable when I do it. A very important point I need to make. I completely trust my husband. He would never hurt me, put us in danger, or put anything ahead in front of us intentionally. That I knew I was in a safe place. I just wanted to say that just in case that might speak to someone.
What Reignited My Marriage?
Admitting that I was wrong.
I was wrong. I wasn’t last on his list. In fact I was first, but he couldn’t show me, because I was so angry, or tired, about everything. I just kept turning him down, or shutting him out. Thankfully I felt convicted about my anger. This was turning into bitterness, which is poison to our relationship. Deep down a voice was rising. “If God is in my heart, I would not be acting out of anger; it would be out of love. Are you loving on him?” I would yell to my inner monologue, “No!… Did you not see how he just treated me?!”
You know what gives me goose bumps? I know there was a Force working behind the scenes making this happen. There was this awesome group of ladies, my Fire Fighter Wife sisters, who had my back. They were feverishly fighting, praying, sending positive thoughts, believing and expecting, right along with me. Prayers I specifically asked for were being answered right in front of my eyes. It is amazing!
It is as if life has been breathed right into us.
Since that talk, I have seen some amazing things happen in our house. He is so very attentive now, I can hardly believe it. For example, he goes completely out of his way, thinking about things he can do for me to make my mornings easier. I find him doing things that I would expect a new couple to do, like hold a door for me. Or start the car so it is warm when I take the kids to school. He got me roses. He cleaned and rearranged our bedroom, which is huge! He has been asking me if I need things I can go get anything I need, and do I need money for it?! Say what?! And I demand to know what have you done with my husband?! Even tiny things like calling to check on me, or sending me little texts while he was gone. On their ski trip, he even made “We miss you!” with the kids.
This from a man who forgot to have the kids makes me anything for Mother’s Day for the past 6 years!
Our intimacy has improved beyond my imagination, and it was really pretty good to start. Why, he even found time to finish the baby room, a project that has been on our list for a year! The other day, he even scheduled me in a spot so I could take a nap!
Yes It Is Worth It
It is. I promise. It might hurt. It might even make you want to throw up! BUT you can do it! Remember you are not alone! If you feel like your spouse is your soul mate, someone who deserves to be fought for, you can learn to love again! Not only can you love, but you can do it with such fierceness and passion, you will wonder how you ever lived another way. If they are someone you used to love more than you do now, let me encourage you! Do not give up hope.
If you want to save your marriage, dig in and do what only you can… work on yourself. Not that we are broken and need fixing, but let’s focus our energy on getting rid of all bitterness.
Let go of all the anger and hurt, to see if we can forgive, and fight for love.
In return, I have seen my spouse be inspired to change himself. This makes me want to do even more for him. When we love, only out of love, and not expecting anything in return, it will inspire more love. If we love, when we are empty ourselves, we are truly putting the needs of another before our own. This kind of love shows the other person how amazingly important they are. It is like fixing cups, gluing them back together, when you yourself, your cup cracked and chipped too. When we love even when the person doesn’t deserve it, we are doing what is right, even when we don’t feel like it. Personally, I could not do all this forgiving and loving, on my own, without God backing me up, doing it in His power. But that is me. If you gain strength from the universe, or yogurt, as my good friend Lori says, and it works for you than awesome!
Do you have an overcoming story you are proud of you would like to share? We would love to hear it! Let’s uplift each other with stories we can relate to!
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