There are times we find those guys we are married too beyond frustrating. They seem to put more effort into their brothers at the hall than they do with their own families. Just this past week my husband worked on the boat he we share with another firefighter family, worked his regular shifts, slept, went out to a firefighter guys event the other night, got up went to work, went to shake the boot in front of a liquor store for muscular dystrophy, came home and then snapped at me when he watched the puppy standing at the door, but didn’t take him out, leaving me to clean up a nice big pile of dog poop. “Why didn’t you tell me he was standing at the door?” I asked, furiously looking at my husband with a plate of food in his hands about to head back upstairs to bed. It was then I heard him tell me to FO, I’m exhausted. Yes, that son of a bitch, hurled a profanity at me. As a firefighter wife I get tired of this dance that I have to do with him every time he chooses to burn himself out and then take things out on me. Many times as well over the years when things got super rough with his moods and this inflated ego firefighters grow, I thought about leaving him. There were actually times I didn’t just think about it, but started making a plan to get the hell out of dodge.
Firefighters can really wear the shit out of you. Our entire lives seem to revolve around their moods, their schedule and their self importance. After too many times to count I think most wives find themselves standing there, lost in what seems like an endless journey of one step forward and then two steps back. You go to marriage counselling, you practice a few tools and then this? These of course are the days I can hardly wait for the night shift to roll around – where he will be out of the house overnight and I can regain my composure. So what is a wife to do? Well, for me, having seen this rodeo transpire many, many, many times over the last many years, I have learned how to dig deep, really, really, really deep so first I don’t punch him in the face, second, watch my own words and practice verbal discipline so that I don’t say something that I will regret, like I used to and thirdly, put a whole lot of space between the two of us so that we can have a calmer discussion when “joy comes in the morning” and I can recall this past week to him so that he understands my frustration at what I have to put up with. Firefighter wives deserve an award. In fact we deserve many. Over the years in being married to my husband I have really learned how to toughen up with him, but more than anything, in order to save my own soul, sanity and spirit, I have had to become my own self motivated advocate, my own cheerleader and my own encourager just so that I could remember that I too have a life of my own and no one, even a grumpy firefighter is going to talk like that to me like that. When I was in my 30’s and he became a firefighter, I did not have this gumption, grit or strength, but if you stick with him long enough, you will get it. I know that all married couples argue, yes they do, but this marriage, this firefighter one, is in a league all it’s own and it requires tools and it requires, if it’s going to go the distance, COMMITMENT – the kind you have to spell in all CAPITAL LETTERS. I decided to stay with my husband because I love him. I also feel that being married to him has made me stronger. I have also found myself overwhelmed, lost and angry at this not always easy role in his life I’ve had to play, but we get through it. That’s where the ALL-CAPS COMMITMENT comes into play. Today is a new day and I will talk with my guy after he’s caught up on all his sleep. I’ve made a few notes of things that have really bothered me this week so that I can communicate to him my hurt rather than letting it fester into resentment. Verbal Discipline, communicating my hurt, my needs and my frustrations in an organized fashion so that I stay on topic and COMMITMENT all in capitals. I think after 15 years I might just be getting better at this! XO