christy lankford marriage on fire

Meet Christy and Chad.  Married 19 years.  Known each other most of their lives and dated 5 years before getting married.   Here is their inspiring story of making marriage amazing.

How did you meet?

We met when we were 13 or 14 at our local skating rink, I actually went up to him to ask him to skate with my friend.

What drew you to each other?

Christy:  When we were in our junior (him) and senior (me) year we started talking and I thought he was just adorable! I waited until almost the end of my senior year before he finally asked me out. I thought he was funny and that is still the quality that I admire most about him.
Chad:I thought she was pretty, it was young love, she was flirty, so I took a chance.

prom 1990

What was your perception of marriage before getting married and have those thoughts changed?

I thought all about the “Happily Ever After” Movie version of love and marriage. I have learned that those marriages are nothing like my own. We are working everyday towards our Happy Ending. It has been full of Good and some bad, but we know that even the toughest of times are things that now make us stronger.

What was your first big fight over?

Our first “Big” fight was over infidelity.

Outside of the wedding day, what is your most treasured “moment” for your marriage?

It would have to be the day that he “proposed” again. We had just gotten through a very rough patch in our marriage and that Christmas he got me a new ring, and got down on one knee in front of our children and asked me to marry him all over again. I will forever have that moment where he declared his love all over again and my children were there to witness our love and devotion to be a strong loving couple.

vow renewal

What is the most important advice you would give anyone about marriage?

Put God in the center of your marriage. Our counselor said we should pray together, and do devotions as well, We don’t always make this happen as much as we like. But we know that we have him to thank for getting us through. We also make Date Night happen, even if it is just going to the grocery store together.

What is the most important thing you have learned about marriage?

It is not always easy. You have to both put in an effort. Compromise! I was not always as willing to compromise in the beginning.

How would you want to inspire others with your marriage?

I would like for others to hear our story and see that you can come out of the “fire” and be stronger than you were before.

What is your advice for anyone in a rough season?

Listen to one another, Pray, find a good third party to help (i.e. counselor)
Spend time getting to know one another again. Be willing to forgive. You may never forget, but you forgiving allows you to love your spouse the way they need to be loved.

Chad and I 2

It’s shift day and you have an important issue you really want to talk about, what do you do?

I like to go to the Fire Department. I am blessed that he is stationed about ten minutes from our house. His Captain is very welcoming to me and our family.

What is your best communication tip for fire couples considering marriage?

We text through out the day, I call him most everyday on my home from work (my day ends at noon) just to check in and say hi. and sometimes it is just that “Hi, how is your day? Just wanted to say Hi and I love you, see you later.”

What is the sweetest , most caring thing your husband has ever said to you? and the wife to the husband?

Christy:  Just this past month after the death of my mother ( she had multiple health issues ) he asked me to go get a physical and added “We need to take better care of ourselves, I want you to be around for a really long time” He really does want to spend forever with me 🙂
Chad:a text she sent me this morning,”Hope you did well on your agility run , I love you! Have a good day.


Did you have a valley in your marriage that you recovered from and would like to candidly share that story as it may help others?

Around year 7 in our marriage is what I like to call the dark time in our marriage. Chad had a female firefighter on his truck. We were all very close. Our families were always together. I considered her my friend. I had been feeling that our marriage was just a little off and decided to ask him how he was feeling about things. This quickly escalated to a full blown argument. He used words like he felt pressured to marry me and then we had our daughter just 9 months after we were married so he felt stuck.

I was devastated at what he was saying.

I decided to call our daughters behavior counselor. He asked us to come in to his office right away. He knew that something was up by Chad’s actions and some of the key phrases I was using. He began to dig just a little and that is when probably the hardest words I have ever heard came from his mouth.” I have been having an affair with the girl at the Fire Department.” It had been going on for a few months at this point. I could feel my heart breaking and the wind being sucked out of my body.

Sobs do not describe the cry I was having.

Our counselor then walked us through our healing. He promised us that day that we would be OK and that we would be stronger because of this trial. And that one day our story would help others. We went that day at the request of of the counselor to go somewhere and just hold hands and that if I had questions I was to ask them and Chad HAD to answer them. I asked them all. How? When? Where? I had this morbid need to know.

They were not easy words to hear by any means. I wanted to hit him and her. I felt betrayed by them both. At my request he went to his Chief and Battalion chief and put in for a transfer to a new station and shift. We then began praying together,and doing a daily devotion. We also added a regular date night.

It was a very long time before we “baked cookies” or even shared a bed really. I needed time to distance him and myself from her and all the visions I had of them together. I then began a time of healing for myself too. I had to forgive them both. I went on what we called a sabbatical. I went to the mountains, alone. I had never been anywhere like that. I prayed, listened to praise music and went for long walks and drives.I came home ready to help Chad mend our marriage.

It was not easy to find forgiveness but with lots of prayer and I managed to get the courage to talk to her. This had to me part of our healing as well. Part of what made this easier was she left the fire department not to long after this all happened. We made sure that we spent more time with God, alone and together.

Chad and I have still had our moments of disagreements since, But one thing I never do is throw his indiscretion in his face. He and I realized during the healing process that we were not filling each others love tanks ( from The Five Love Languages ) He was weak and she was able to fill his tank, and because I was not filling his, he was not filling mine. It was a vicious cycle that almost ended our marriage. I am so thankful for Dr Costintino and his help in guiding us on what a Godly marriage was supposed to look like and to God for reminding us that he had put us together for a reason.

We know when to say we are sorry and how to forgive.

We know when to give the other space when it is needed.

We support one another in all that we do.

We work at filling each others love tanks and make that a priority in our marriage.

I like to think that we describe Firestrong!

I can say that I am more in love with my husband than I was on the day I first married him. And he says the same about me.

We chose to work at our marriage and not just give up.

We were able to recognize what went wrong and made things right again.


Thank you Christy and Chad!  Wow!  Your story will heal many I have no doubt.  I hope you all read through to the bottom of this story.  There is some very powerful advice there….in case you missed it.

  • Don’t throw indiscretions back in your spouses face.  You both must come to a place of healing and forgiveness
  • Take time to focus on your thoughts and get your head straight.  Time away, time with God.
  • Be completely open, honest and transparent with each other about everything (every single counselor I have been to shares this view – it builds unbreakable trust)

And a big thanks to the Low T Center for sponsoring this series where we share our marriage stories.  To learn more about how low testosterone can affect men’s health, click here.

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Jessie -

Just a small town girl married to a firefighter since 2008, but she's so much more than a Fire Wife. She's been a member of the FirefighterWife family since 2012 and knows marriage takes a lot of work, even when it's in the best seasons.


  1. Heather

    18 years of marriage and I recently experienced the same thing. He is finally allowed to switch shifts. They both say it was one night of drunken stupidity. He has broken all ties with her but still has been on shift with her (which has been the hardest). Supposedly no one at the station/department knows but Im sure thats not true. I thought she was my friend and just his coworker but I was so very wrong. She would even come over and hang out with our boys. I should have known but never thought it would happen. We are working through it but it has been hard. Sometimes I wish he never became a firefighter. I know what it did for my parents marriage and now what its done to mine. Through it all I choose him and our kids over this indiscretion and hope it will someday be something that brought our marriage closer. Time and counseling…

  2. kimberly ettinger

    Does anyone have the name of a lawyer experienced in la county firefighter benefits?


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