Now we enter Part 2 of the book and get into the meat of some specific issues Hal calls “The Fires of Marital Commitment”. This chapter focuses on time…..I loved the “ball and chain” t-shirt. So crazy that he saw 2 guys wearing it in the same airport!
To be honest, I see so many women fall into this trap in the suburbia area where we live. Their men are like office working, money making robots and the wives run the whole dang schedule of their lives! “Honey can I….?” It’s pathetic. Those men are not running their households (at least in public settings) and are so meek and sitting back and watching and not even engaging so much in conversation. I imagine this probably carries over to the financial management as well because these “control freak” wives also do all the checkbook balancing. It makes me cringe!
In my first marriage, my ex husband ended up quitting his job when our son was born 10 weeks premature and we were in no way putting that tiny baby in daycare. He was a substitute teacher trying to settle into a permanent career but I was already established in mine so financially it made sense. However it quickly just brought to light what had been happening all along anyhow. I had a lot of anxiety in my twenties and being a “control freak” wife helped me be less anxietous. So much so that it finally because apparent to me that he never participated emotionally or even as a partner decision maker in our relationship. I was making all the decisions about finances, vacations, what was best for Jackson, house cleaning schedules, etc. And he’d turned into the grown up teenage son still living at home. Watching movies all day and heading out the door to play softball or volleyball as soon as I got home from work to take over with our son.
I had never felt more lonely or disconnected in my whole life. Now of course there were signs I should have paid attention to from the beginning and I truly never felt like we connected at more than a roommate / friends with benefits level, mostly because I found someone I could control and keep my world nice and safe.
That is wrong on so many levels.
So this is something I am ultra sensitive to in my marriage now. I never want to be back in that place where I feel like my partner is not there for me. And my husband Dan is such a strong provider and caregiver and feels so accountable for taking care of our family. It’s so amazing compared to where I was.
But still we struggle. With 4 kids and our schedules, we fell into the trap that the second couple Mike and Allison were in. Mike was asking Allison permission to do things. I think a lot of this is because Dan leaves the house for 24 / 48 hours at a time and our life goes on with out schedule. And at work, it’s pretty much do what the bell tells you. The Marine Corps was the same way. So he has had very few parts of his life where he’s had to be responsible for planning his own time. To be honest, I hate it. It’s extra pressure on me. I’ve got enough to keep track of myself that I don’t want the pressure of having to help him decide if he can do things or not. We are working on this and getting better but it’s another prime example of what Hal is talking about.
On the other hand, our personalities are so different when it comes to time management. I am so guilty of not building in a time margin like he says on Page 104. Because if everything goes according to my plan, that’s how we can fit in the most activities, efficiency, etc. But then there is bad traffic. And boom. We’re all thrown off. I’d seriously rather gamble on bad traffic than be 20 minutes early and stuck in a car with nothing to do while we wait. I know. That’s terrible. Dan is exactly the opposite!
You all know the fire service brings a whole new level of complexity to this time topic.
- so much time away from each other
- unexpected calls and OT
- irregular schedules from the “normal” world requiring holiday and weekend work
I so struggled to deal with this when we were first married. I tried to manage it into my master control freak calendar and it just didn’t go. So I said shove it. Me and the kids school and work on a M-F schedule and we’ll deal with the fire service impact as needed. That actually took a huge ton of bricks of my shoulders and brought some relief. It’s definitely not the only way to deal with it but cleared my head a bit.
Here are some thoughtful questions for our discussion this week. Same routine. Pick one or some or all and answer below in the comments. This is completely private and only viewable by those who are in the Fire Wife Sisterhood.