It’s Not Nice To Push. Especially Your Spouse.

by | Everyday, Firefighter Marriage

This post comes to us from a member of our Fire Wife Sisterhood.   It’s just one example of how a community can learn from each other and be encouraged and inspired.   There are simply too many stories for us to post them all but sometimes one stands out more than another.   Lives transform in community.   You become the community of people you spend the most time with.  @wifeonfire

I have to share a success story. It may seem minor to some, but I have had to work hard on this for 3 years now.

Early last week my firefighter must have gone on a horrendous call that left him reeling emotionally. He came home short-tempered and quiet. For the 2 days he was off, he talked basically only when spoken to, and didn’t initiate much conversation. He was talking in his sleep a bit- enough to lead me to believe the call was a child abuse type call. I didn’t pry. I asked him after a few hours the first day if everything was all right and he sort of mumbled something as he headed into the garage to “work”- basically to occupy his mind for a bit on monotonous tasks, like organizing his tools, etc.

For the two days he was home I tried to be there to support him- extra long hugs, patience and a will to wait this out instead of force him to talk. He went to his next shift and I didn’t hear from him all shift except a response to a question I had texted him (“yes” was the reply).

Friday morning he was still quiet and I let him know I knew something was bothering him but I didn’t need to know what it was unless he wanted to talk about it, but either way I was there for him. The day passed. That night I got home from work and he had gotten his mom to take the kids for the night, we went out and met some friends at a country bar and did some line dancing. During a slow song, he pulled me onto the dance floor and during the song, apologized for how he’d been all week, he said I didn’t want to know what had been bothering him, but it was a call he had to go on and he was sorry he let it roll into his daily life at home. I told him I knew what he had to deal with had to be very upsetting and I understood that it is human nature to not be able to always shut off those feelings once you are off shift. I explained that I felt a little uneasy not knowing what I could do or say to possibly help but I just needed him to know I was there for him. He hugged me, kissed me and said that was all he needed to hear and from then on, through the weekend, he was back to his normal self.

My struggle for years has been to push and push to know what was wrong.

When he wasn’t ready to talk about it and I’d push, it would lead to an unnecessary argument over something stupid. This route was harder for me to do but so worth it. He told me Saturday that he tries really hard to “not bring his work home with him” and apologized again for the past week. Again, I just told him that he’s a hero for what he does, I am always there for him whether he wants to talk about it or not and left it at that. He seemed so much better by just having me reaffirm that to him- knowing he didn’t need to tell me about it. Prayers for the continued peace he’s found after this call and prayers for the people involved in the call too.

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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. Fire wife

    Thank you for sharing and for the reminder. I as well have struggled with how to handle the bad calls. I have found myself taking it personally when he wouldn’t open up about the details. I felt closed off like he didn’t want to have my support. It’s not that at all. The bad calls are extremely difficult to talk about. He has shared a few stories with me now and I understand it’s not helping to pry. Reliving it by talking can be very difficult. Thank you for sharing your story. I find this group helpful to read others posts. Unless you are in the situation it’s hard for others to fully understand. I have found most friends of mine don’t really seem to understand so I often feel like I have nobody to talk to about this. It’s nice we are all in the same situation and can share tips!

  2. Paul

    As a firefighter (career and volunteer) and a regular to your site. (I think this website is awesome BTW) I think the firefighters who read this learn as much about our wives struggles as you learn about ours.
    Anyway, I just had to stop by and say that this fire wife deserves an award!!! This is the absolute best way to deal with a firefighter having a rough time with things. Express your support and give us space, don’t take it personal. In this case, it truly is a case of “it’s not you, it’s me!!” So keep doing what you’re doing, you’re doing all the right things. Don’t try to read into things or take personal what he’s going through and get angry at us, you’ll only push us away further.

  3. Dan

    Great post fire wife! You got it. I’m in EMS now (X FF) but the jobs share the same obvious horrors. My wife is an unexpected natural at dealing with my stress. None of us want to bring it home but we are human and it is sometimes unavoidable. My wife knows me well. I know as soon as she asks if I’m OK that she knows I’m not. The same quick answer of “I’m OK” flies out and we both know its a lie. It’s kind of a game. In time when the time is right for me we talk I do. She understands very well that she does not understand and that is huge. She has great ears and sometimes that’s al I need. It’s important for me to talk to her and her to listen even if she can’t understand, she’s my wife. She has also made hero references and for me those words are very painful to hear and I don’t even know why. The best I can explain that to her and myself is if this is how it feels to be a hero I’d rather not be one. Another good quote I heard is: “Some people dream of being a hero, others live the nightmare of being one every day”. Thanks firefighter wife. I am going to encourage my wife to join us.

  4. Inlovewithafirefighter

    Just wanted to send a thank you for sharing. Loving a firefighter has been the most challenging and rewarding experience I have ever endured. I am still fairly new to this lifestyle and being friends with them is a much easier experience than loving one and trying to build a life with one.

    It is very difficult for someone who wears their emotions on their sleeves to understand and not feel a sense of rejection from someone that has no choice but to turn off their emotions simply not to have a complete melt down on the mental impact of the horrors they have experienced.

    I do feel that they need to learn to open up a bit and that the human mind and heart were not meant to keep everything bottled up inside but I also think they need time to just shut down for a bit and deal with the emotions privately before sharing them with their partner.

    There are some very good programs out there and more in the works to help with these issues. Support groups like these help both sides have a greater understanding, appreciation and respect for not only the firefighters but those that love them and are committed to building a happy, healthy, and loving home life.

    Again thank you for the insightful articles, they have helped me have a greater understanding of my love, my life and my friend.

  5. Pat

    Our son is a firefighter/paramedic. Most of the calls are for paramedic. It is wonderful to have a site this to read the comments. Those of us not as close as the firefighter wives, do not know about most of what it is about. I am learning so much from you, and I thank you with my whole heart.
    Thank you for all you are doing for the wives, families, friends.
    Firefighters you are our hero’s, even though you may look at a being a hero differently then we do. It’s tough out there, you are in our thoughts and prayers, that god keeps you safe.


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