We have heard this comment so often in fire wife discussions and no doubt does it bring an undercurrent of distrust and lack of transparency in marriage.  

Scenarios range from husbands picking random girls on Facebook and starting a “get to know you chat” to old friends who come back into their life, to ex’s who want to “keep in touch”, to even co-workers, colleagues, and friends who start to ‘cross that line’ in private messages.

By the way this applies to all social media platforms, websites and text messaging, we aren’t picking on Facebook.  Any place you could have a private one-on-one conversation with a member of the opposite sex.  AND…it goes for you wives as well. We know that it isn’t just men, we just happen to hear from more women here at FirefighterWife.com.

Listen, we all know men and women are going to interact with each other all the time in life.  That’s how it works.  So if you are one of those spouses whose skin crawls every time your other half is in contact with someone else, you definitely have some significant issues to work on in your marriage.   That’s not where we are going here, that’s something you can and should seek resolution for out though.

What we are going to talk about is healthy boundaries.

In fact, this all boils down to one simple test.  The Coffee Talk Test.

What is The Coffee Talk Test?

Picture this – Could you sit in a coffee shop and have the same interactions and conversations with that person outside of your marriage… with your spouse also at the table?  Does your spouse find this appropriate or would there be a problem for them to be able to see and hear your interaction?


That’s simple, right?

It doesn’t get any more simple than that.  It really be applied to every relationship.  All marriages will have different boundaries based on your individual needs, but this test works for any marriage.

As long as you are not recently recovering from an infidelity in your marriage, this test should always work.

May this topic open some healthy growth conversations in your marriage!

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This self-paced course covers all of the best topics from our book, Honor and Commitment: Standard Life Operating Guidelines for Firefighters & Their Families.

It's designed for women who are new to fire life.  From just engaged to newlyweds, to long-time wives who find themselves thrust into a new life when their spouse becomes a firefighter later in marriage.  This sister, is for you!

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On a mission to be and inspire us all to be better humans, to strengthen fire families & marriages, to nurture and encourage fire wives, do "good business" in all areas of my life and of course, love on my 4 kids.


  1. Carla

    My feeling about this is if you have to hide it then it’s wrong. I don’t care if the excuse is well my wife is jealous. She has a reason to be jealous. Sneaking is a major cause. I like the Starbucks situation.

  2. mable

    My husband and I will be married 35 year’s in june. Have I ever had a thought he was or had an affair or even though of him doing it doesn’t even crossing my mine. But for him it’s the opposite but after our first 3 year’s that stoped. I told him god chose him for me & me only & I never would have married him if there we’re any doubts. But anything can happen but we put god first we have had our share or troubles but you talk it out & let the other one know what your feeling & why. My husband worked away for more than a month at a time. He has worked with as many women as he has men & I have worked with as many men as women. We have also did councilor to but it was because we both agreed that it couldn’t hurt & with 3 children we both loved each other. We are in our 50s & both disable but we both still volunteer for the fire department and the department we we’re in before ran a ambulance service. We both have ambulance license he went back to school for his emt and I have my first responder. We we’re lucky we got to work together and we’re also are still in the other fire department & still volunteering. Some people don’t understand how we can spend all our time together. But I will say this our children are grown with children of their own now & it’s just the two us and I love spending all my time with him 24/7 365 day’s a year with him. If he’s gone for more than an hour I start to worry not about a woman but because of his health. Praying for all the ems worker’s & there family & praying for there safety and please remember that alot that happens on the job that they can’t talk about what happened because it’s against the law. Just pray for god to lead you.

  3. Fee

    There have actually been some problems (inappropriate text messages between male and female firefighters) at my hubby’s station. My husband says not to get involved or cause drama for the department. ( I support the other fire wives when they’re so heartbroken from the situation.) Sadly I received messages from another fire fighter and am afraid to say anything for fear of. “causing drama” for the department .

    • Lori Mercer - WifeOnFire

      This is not a department issue. This is a personal issues. Address it as a personal issue. Just because someone is a firefighter at the same department, doesn’t mean you can’t address a topic that is inappropriate, like texting you inappropriately. Be supportive for those other heart broken wives. Or send them to our community for the Rescue My Marriage program (FirefighterWife.com/rescuemymarriage)

  4. Kelly Longley

    I Am having a problem like this My man is texting and calling a woman and its done in hiding , goes by her house and helps her mind you we have been together for many years , so asked him whats going on tells me she is only a friend, another item he has a tablet he uses and guess what only her number is on it and he wont introduce me to the other woman and to me this stuff is cheating. any suggestions or Ideas ?

    • Lori Mercer - WifeOnFire

      You are right to feel this is not acceptable. He is giving intimately and in private to another woman, even if he does consider it just friendship. Have you asked him what we suggest in the video? Would you feel comfortable taking me to her house and having a conversation with the 3 of us? If not, then it’s crossing the boundaries of our marriage and interfering. You need to have the difficult conversation and be sure he is clear that you find this unacceptable in your marriage.

    • April -frustrated fire spouse

      This is what has been happening in my life/marriage. My firefighter spouse (soon to be ex…filing in the next week), after 16+ years together…has been having LOTS of contact wiith a woman, he met out of state in the past 1.5 years while on his hiking trips. 2,975 text messages and hours of phone calls (many many even while he is on shift-1 day had 529 text & 3 hrs of calls). He decided to get a 2nd “secret”phone in the past week that isn’t on our family plan (I can’t track), so he can talk to her. He said she was a friend (similar to 1 of his male friends), but when I inadvertently got a few questionable text sent to me, meant for her…brought it up,he got defensive (he can’t trust ME, not to spy on him). Mind you, this other woman’s husband committed suicide in their yard less than 1 year before they were hiking together with their “group ” this summer. My spouse & her started their heavy communication at end of August. He has depression issues he blames me for & says that is the problem in our relationship, NOT HER.I told him she is a total obstacle & distraction, he of course disagreed.
      We have a teen, dogs, home, bills etc. Tried couples counseling, but his own unresolved issues did not let that progress in a positive direction. (Btw, I personally have done some therapy, so I held up my end of what the couples counselor recommended for each of us).
      Our son needs his dad to be a healthy person & my spouse doesn’t see that his is in an unhealthy (rebound-unstable) emotional infidelity relationship with this other woman. I am sooo angry, heartbroken that he is choosing this woman over “doing the work” for our family/vows…& that their are women who are fine being the other woman (she knew he ismarried & has a family), meddling (causing problems, hurting) in other people’s relationships/marriages.
      The coffee talk test is a perfect example! If you have to hide it, it is not right & hurting people.

  5. Pam Hanson

    This is exactly what happened to my daughter while her husband was in probation. He has come home and left again 6 times in a year and a half for this other woman. They were together since they were teens. they have a beautiful daughter who is devastated. He changed once he got hired. 8 out of 10 at his station were having affairs.

    • Karen

      I’m so sorry. That’s horrible. 🙁

  6. Karen Schroer

    What about some of husbands facebook friends who refuse your friend request? You let them know that they are friends with your husband.

  7. Kristy

    I agree – if you wouldn’t have this type of relationship in front of your wife, why have it behind her back? Or if you think Jesus wouldn’t approve, it isn’t right. My firefighter and I have total transparency – I have access to his phone at any point in time, and he has access to mine. We had issues when we first got married of him emailing a friend inappropriately, and that stopped. Since then, as we’ve gotten closer to God, we’ve gotten closer together.

  8. Amanda Hillman

    this is what actually just ended my marriage of almost 10 years……he was messaging a female coworker inappropiate messages 3 years ago and I discovered them as it was happening. we were not able to work things out, but according to my FF, our marriage had been over for 5 years anyways.

  9. Jenna

    What about the quantity of text messages? Is there a line that it is too much? Like getting daily texts and “good morning” texts from another women?
    Started out as business associates, but then turned into almost daily texting.
    Feel there is nothing on my husbands side, as all he does is answer. But feels like she is crossing a line.

    • Jenna

      I have talked to him about it. He was very defensive and the talk wasn’t great. I finally asked him how he would feel if the situation was reversed…he said he probably wouldn’t like it. No kidding! He asked what I want him to do and I have only ever answered that with “Do what you would want me to do if the situation was reversed” I have never told him to stop. But he has started to ignore some of the texts and not respond. Others with short answers and not keeping the conversation going. This has slowed the texting on her end. And now he tells me when she does text. It’s okay right now and I do trust him (and she lives 12 hours away, so it is not like they see each other). I guess I should be happy with that.

    • Brig

      Unfortunately too much one on one with someone other than your spouse is a set up for disaster. It starts out innocently then as more and more boundaries are crossed, just a little bit over time they can start the negative comparisons. I enjoyed watching the series The Affair. I liked how they showed the different memories from different characters. Very enlightening.

  10. Kelsey

    I was that female co-worker and on my side intentions we completely brotherly. I was concerned about his mental health and he would talk about his struggles in his marriage I would always direct him to his marriage and his wife and look to get other help. Sometimes in the fire house I hate to say it but we are down right in appropriate like a bunch of high school boys a lot of it is for exceptance etc. what I’m getting at is we would speak daily and sometimes would share what we thought were funny memes etc. I was very open with my husband he would even almost be a third to the conversation as I knew that there is a line of respect for another’s marriage and sometimes I think it is easier to blame the other person such as me then your spouse. I guess what I’m getting at is out of respect to them I no longer talk to him unless it is completely work related and although it sucks because he was my friend and our kids got along and we basically are neighbors I choose the importance of his family over our friendship. But I just really wish she would have said something to me or I could at least speak with her to help her ease her mind so she isn’t stressed any time we work together. It’s an awful feeling being pegged as the “other women” and in this case it was completely misconception. But instead he was the middle man and she won’t even look at me. That’s hard. I have so much respect for her and their family.

    • Brig

      I assumed my husband’s FF girlfriend was a friend of our marriage. I was so wrong. I wholeheartedly trusted him working out with her on their days off. They worked at different Depts, but then they added multiple phone calls a day, texting, moving on to coffee dates, then their worst. It’s self inflicted drama, showing neither marriage or family any respect. And as a woman, I shouldn’t judge all by a few bad apples, but it is hard for me now when he works a shift with a woman. I never used to give it a second thought.

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