Shift Night Chatter: Things You Wish You Knew As A New Fire wife
There are so many things I can think back on and wish I knew when I was a brand new fire wife. This was the inspiration for this week’s Shift Night Chatter and it struck a chord as we had nearly 500 comments and the topic just wouldn’t end! We finally cut it off after an hour plus 🙂
For those who don’t have time to watch that replay video, here’s a brief summary of some of our favorite things we wish we knew as a new fire wife……
1. There is no moment your marriage is all right. There will always be adjustment and growth.
Personal and emotional growth is so important on your path of becoming a successful fire wife. In fact, we never stop growing as wives. Release any expectations you may have about what a “normal” marriage or what the fire life should look like. This may take time (sometimes even years) and reflection. A few key words were brought up over and over in the comments. Sacrifice. Compromise. Communication. Honesty. Embrace.
2. There are moments you will resent and wonder when you get your break.
Fight the resentment that may come because you’re home with the kids while he is at work, then you are home with the kids when he is off and he wants to hang out with the guys, or you are taking care of the kids while he rests from a long night. See the common denominator? Enjoy your children and find some other moms and wives to bond with. Having great girlfriends will get you through the tough seasons. But….speaking up and making sure he knows you need a break too is a must. (Just don’t expect much right after a busy shift!)
3. Transitions are always a little bumpy.
Wadonna put it perfectly when she said, “I wish I had known it was ok to not be ok while adjusting to the schedule. That it was ok to feel lonely sometimes. I wish I had someone to talk to, to tell me it was going to be alright. That I didn’t have to feel guilty for wanting him all to myself.” You will probably spend some holidays without your firefighter. Lean on your support. The Fire Wife Sisterhood is full of other fire wives who have either been through what you have, or are right there in it with you.
4. The traditional M-F, 9-5 schedule may need to be thrown out the window.
Let’s face it. As much as we may try to force our fire lives into a traditional Monday-Friday schedule, it just doesn’t fit. It is like putting a square peg in a round hole. Try to go with the flow of the current fire schedule your family is in. There was even a suggestion of putting “save-the-dates” in the calendar to block out family time and date nights. You calendar may not look like your neighbor’s, it may even differ drastically through the various seasons of schedules in the fire service, but you can make it one that works perfectly for your family.
Everyone may be pulled in a million directions. Kids, work, housework, friends, family, second jobs. Your time with your firefighter is precious. Take some notes from “Back Off! That’s Our Time – Protecting Your Fire Family Schedule.” Or maybe you don’t have children yet. Trying to start a family in the fire schedule can be crazy! Watch Firefighter Wife on Scheduling Sex here.
5. He does love you more than the fire service.
Another big thing to remember as a new fire wife is that your husband loves what he does. He has a passion for it. Not only that, but he is providing for your family through this passion. Embrace his love for it! You don’t have to love firefighting like he does. You probably have a passion for something he doesn’t. But by embracing his love for his passion (and his for yours) you only grow closer. He isn’t doing it to be away from you or his family. I am not just saying that. A firefighter husband, Jonathan, commented, “I love my job, but my wife and children will always come first!” and Zachary (another FF) said, “…As a firefighter, I have learned to put family first. After the career is done, all you have left is family. You must put them first.”
We have to share them with our neighborhood, family, and community. And they have to miss us. Sacrificing is made on both your end and theirs to help others through the fire service.
6. You can have your own things, and you should.
Speaking of our own passions. You can have your own passions, a career, job, hobby, you love as much as your firefighter loves firefighting. Being strong in yourself, in your own identity, can be a very sexy attribute for your husband. They understand passion (firefighting), and seeing it in their wife is a beautiful thing.
7. Who leads at home will change with the shift schedule.
One big transition that you can be aware of as a new fire wife is who leads and when. When he is at the station, it is up to you to lead the family. When he comes home, letting go of the lead and letting him lead will do your marriage and family good! This transition will most likely take some practice, but just keep working at it! Erin has seen letting go of control make a difference in her marriage, “Backing off and letting him do his thing has really led him to WANT to be home which is amazing to see now!!”
As a new fire wife, you may take on mowing the lawn or taking out the trash, because the days those things need to be done might happen to fall on a shift day. You also might get really good at fixing things on your own and becoming quite the handywoman!
8. Help them be their best at work and make people feel safe.
Try to save up the complaints and minor issues for a time when he is not at the station. Adding to his stress while he is there not only makes it hard for him to have his head fully in his duties (which he needs to keep himself and others alive), but also let’s him know you can handle things while he is gone. Be sure to communicate with your spouse about expectations in this area. At some stations, they may have the time to take the phone calls, or they may be at a very busy station where hearing about the latest boo-boo may be too much.
They may not always want to talk about work, and that can be ok. They may say everything is fine when they get home and you know it isn’t. Keep in mind, it may be his way of protecting you from the things they have endured. Let them sleep. Let them eat. They may be ready to talk after decompressing for awhile. Remember, they have been at the whim of the bells for the last 24, 48, etc. hours and their bodies and minds need time to wind down. One fire wife, Aubrey, has learned what it means to love unconditionally, “Can I say “Yes!” to all of these?! And…. I wish I knew that I’d learn selfless love that says, ‘You’re hurting and angry. Bring it on because I will not falter, I will not be shaken.’ I wish I knew God was calling me to love my husband as his lifeline after those bad calls. That this life is as much my ministry to him as it is his calling. God breathed.”
As Firefighter Wife Flo says, “What I wish I knew as young firefighters wife was how fast the years would fly by. Instead of thinking, ” when his service is over we will have a life.” Make it each and every day with each other while you’re young. Don’t hope for what is to come, but live each day with fullness of joy even when he is not beside of you.” You can never be fully prepared for this life, just do the best you can. Live it together now.
Because #shifthappens. Yes! That’s the perfect hashtag that spontaneously popped up during our chat. Great one ladies 🙂
Have another question as a new fire wife?
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