This could be penned by many fire wives although not many would have the willingness to press send for fear of interfering with their firefighters job. Truly, that’s not the goal. Keep on leading chief. We just have some insights you may not have considered. On behalf of fire wives everywhere, we share with the chief how our firefighter can be even better prepared for the job.
It’s September 11th and this is just any other fire wife who may be married to a firefighter at your department. I’m home or at work watching the replays of the tragic events on that day lost in a whirlwind of my own fears, anger, motivation and grief.
My husband is on duty hopefully reflecting with his crew (and you!) on how they would have reacted, supported and helped out on that day. The bond between firefighters is naturally tight when events such as 9/11 are in view. It’s what they signed up for and very few firefighters, even from the most un-brotherly crews, would deny that. And of course that has a little something to do with why I fell in love with him.
But this wife feels alone. And then I stress out my firefighter with my worry and need to talk. He doesn’t know what to say. He’s got that bond. He wants to help fix it. I want to let him. Or, he doesn’t talk at all and holds it all in. One day I fear he’s going to explode like a ticking time bomb for holding that all in.
Am I the only one? Are we the only couple that struggles with this? I don’t even know if I should be asking you. You are his boss after all. I don’t want him to come across as weak or not compassionate or not good enough for our marriage. I just thought, well, maybe you’ve been through this and have some insights.
Whenever I see those planes crash into the twin towers, my heart breaks again and again. For the over 3000 lost. But because I know inside my firefighter’s heart. If he was there, he would have been marching right up those stairwells in his gear to help people knowing fully that he may not make it out alive. It’s one reason I love him. Truly for that heart and that willingness. But it doesn’t make every passing day of our present life the easiest to tolerate. A man with that character also comes with a whole lot of testosterone and complexities I was never meant to understand. Yet we we put together till death do us part and we want to give it our all.
I don’t say that to live in fear or worry or anxiety. I’m way over that. I’m a strong girl. That doesn’t mean we can’t take action towards living better.
Can the fire service acknowledge the challenges they are adding onto our marriages? Look at how many couples in our department have struggled and finally divorced. I don’t want to be them.
This 9/11, can you grieve not just for those lives lost but for the moments of life lost due to the hurt, the pain, the memories, the stress, the PTSD that comes as a result of this job. Some of our marriages are suffering everyday. We are suffering alone while our firefighters are hopefully getting some solace from their brothers at the station.
I’m not asking selfishly (although my marriage will benefit). I’m asking also for the benefit of your department. I know my firefighter will be a happier, healthier firefighter if I can understand more and we can communicate better and our marriage is not another stressor on his plate the next time the tones drop.
Let’s do this chief. I’m ready for the 24-7 COMMITMENT to the fire life. While my firefighter is on duty and while he’s at home.
A Strong, Confident, Loving Fire Wife…..who isn’t afraid to admit we can’t do this alone.
Chief! Don’t panic! It’s your friends at 24-7 COMMITMENT and we have an easy answer for you.
Our mission is to live a life with a 24-7 commitment to all of our important life roles – husband and wife, parent and employee – of a fire department or otherwise.
Please share with your department:
Free Online Peer Support Communities for Men and Women and Couples at 247commitment.org
Marriage programs specific to first responders – Marriage On Fire – at great rates for departments to purchase for everyone 247commitment.org/departments
(After you purchase Marriage on Fire for rates as low as $10 per firefighter) Here’s some info you can share with your department via email:
Memo: To all employees of (anytown) Fire Department
Please be advised of these free resources offered to all firefighters and their spouses / partners / significant others by 24-7 COMMITMENT
Go to 247commitment.org to register for the Honor Guard for men – a community of men devoted to their marriage and firefighting. And for spouses, the Fire Wife Sisterhood, a community that encourages and strengthens women in their marriage and families. There are also groups for same sex marriages and for female firefighters and their partners.
I’ve also arranged for our entire department to have access to their Marriage On Fire program. Register at 247commitment.org/anytowndepartment with this code 1234567 for free access to online training and a network of other firefighters and spouses supporting each other for a healthy marriage.
I know we probably don’t talk about it enough around here but keeping your home life healthy, happy and well cared for is a key element to being a strong firefighter. We hope you have the courage to support each other as husbands / wives and moms / dads as well.
My door is always open to your needs.