{Please welcome guest blogger, Jerry Meddock, Jr.  He talks about some of the decisions that are being made that often upset your balance.  The balance of all areas of your life is impacted by the little decisions you make without a second thought.  Taking the time to think about how decisions may affect you and those around you could make all of the difference in the world. Thank you for sharing, Jerry.}

Balance 2
Finding Balance when it comes to your marriage, work, children and everyday life can at times cause friction or tension in your relationship and be very challenging. I have found many of the things I’ve listed in this Top 5 to be “little” decisions that upset my balance BIG time. It is often the little things that keep adding up to the big equation. Well, with any equation there can be some subtraction to limit these issues from stacking up to go out of control. Sometimes we have to decide what is our “Best Yes”. Just remember that all of these things listed are not “Deal Breakers” and with time can be worked through creating a better balance between you and your spouse.

1. Choosing Family vs Work

This can often be a big one in the Fire Service. As Firefighters, we often can feel like we have to be at work because there is always someone out there that needs our help. We must not forget that we have a family at home that needs our help first and foremost. We obviously run into circumstances that are beyond our control as far as mandatory OT or mandatory trainings. This is understandable but we often can pick up extra shifts, trainings or details that we really could have done without or used wiser decisions in planning. I find this difficult for me at times working two part time Fire Departments and being involved with a couple other organizations beyond my normal work hours. I am an Officer at one of my departments, as well as the Chaplain. I can be called out at any moment. Luckily my wife Jennifer is very understanding but I also know it can be upsetting to her. This is not because she has hard feelings towards the work I do.  It is because she loves me and wants to be able to spend every moment possible with me. There are just some times those phones have to be turned off or put aside and time directed towards your family. I am trying my best to do a better job at this myself and we never can stop learning. I am fortunate to have a wife that is committed to our marriage and understood what my job is all about when we were married.

2. Managing Your Time Well

There never seems to be enough time! Many of us live very active and busy lives. We are working multiple jobs and have side businesses as well. Our spouses ALL have jobs. I say this because even if your spouse is a “stay at home mom” they have a job which carries a lot of responsibilities. Those of us that have children know that there are various activities and sports they are involved in. How do we balance the time for all of this? We just have to make wise decisions and plan well. I have found that coordinating calendars has been a benefit. It makes it easier so there are no surprises when it comes to what one spouse thinks they may be planning.

With many things we do it may feel as time is always against us. I like to try to keep the thought of “What I don’t get to today will be waiting for me tomorrow” Of course this doesn’t mean you want to just keep putting these things of until tomorrow and the next tomorrow and so on. It does give a peace of mind though to limit the stress. Find your priorities and act on those first. The balance will come together as you and your spouse learn together.

3. Make Decisions About Schedules Together

There has to be a balance in decision making together. I will be the first to admit I am guilty of not doing a very good job at this. Your spouse should be the one to know about decisions you are making before all of your friends or other family members, etc. Try not to make independent decisions without communicating them with your spouse first. We all can be impulsive sometimes when it comes to buying things, scheduling extra shifts, or just deciding to do activities independently. I have often found myself kicking my own butt when it comes to that alert coming across your phone or email saying “Open Shift, Help needed”. I can find myself being quick to the punch on snatching that up! After it is done and I know I can’t renege on the decision I may find out there was another plan already made or in the works. Why didn’t I know? Because I or We failed to communicate with each other. OOPS! It happens but a little communication could have eliminated a little problem from becoming a big one.

4. Help Each Other At Home

Wait…We also have a house and bills to take care of? We can’t just work, eat and sleep? Oh my there are all kinds of other decisions that have to be made in our daily household routines. Unfortunately we sometimes can set these decisions aside for our spouse to deal with. There is not a single one of us that shouldn’t be responsible for  helping take care of the daily household decisions. It should take the both spouses. Like I stated earlier even if the spouse is a stay at home spouse they are doing a huge job and deserve a break. Take some time to be the one who cooks dinner every now and then and allow your spouse some time to relax. The daily household chores should be divided fairly and help each other out. I personally love to do the laundry and my wife appreciates that because she hates doing the laundry. This works out for the both of us. So find those things that one of you may like and the other may not as much. Work with each other in deciding who the best fit for certain chores is. None of us like to look at that stack of bills but they have to be paid sometime. Work on them together. I have found the times we have made them out together have gone much more smoothly then when my wife has been stressed out, left to do them alone. This is stressful for anyone but that stress can be relieved by working together at it because all in all finances are a big decision in any household. Look! If nothing else this allows some time for you to spend together.

5. Balance the We time vs Me time

This can often be a major struggle due to some of the things already mentioned above. I feel that both “We Time” and “Me time” are very important although there must be a balance. There always may be times were either spouse may just want to be left alone and have some “Me time.” This is perfectly fine and very much needed at times. We must not forget that the “We Time” is just as important. With our busy work schedules this can be a challenge. The biggest thing to remember is this time doesn’t always have to be all day. It very well could just be an hour or two of quality time. Look at those calendars and find an afternoon or evening to schedule a Date Night. Take advantage of those times when the children may be at school, camp or away with the grand parents. Know what your spouse’s interests are and do things that excite the both of you. You will find every minute counts and will strengthen your relationship.

I hope some of you have found this beneficial to you or if nothing else have been able to relate to some of these little decisions that can upset your balance. Don’t forget you are with each other for a reason and recited vows on your wedding day to stay committed in your marriage. As the ole song says “It takes Two to Fall in Love!” Then two become one until death do they part.

Jerry Meddock Jr
If you’re looking for a safe place to get real, join one of our communities that honors marriage, families and the fire service.
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Jessie -

A small town girl from Southwest Georgia who happens to value your marriage as much as she does her own. She is married to a firefighter who was a volunteer for several years, then transitioned into a career fireman the same month they married in 2008, and he is now a Captain at his full-time Department. They have two daughters, have been in the FFW family since 2012 and know marriage takes a lot of work, even when it's in the best seasons.