Do you know my husband and I went to a marriage counsellor and our marriage counsellor never once told us that all marriages go through very Predicable Phases and that you are completely normal when you do?
So you need not feel bad if it’s not wine and roses all the time. Had I known that all marriages go through phases, I might not have felt like there was something wrong with us when we did hit a rough patch! It’s normal. You are normal. Your marriage is normal.
So now you know. You are normal. The only difference between you and me, is that I want you to know this earlier than I did and make learning how to communicate (not passive aggressively but assertively) and learning how to set boundaries with your fire family and your firefighter, a priority. Both will keep you sane and happy!
The secret when it comes to the wisdom of Phases is in recognizing and knowing the phase you are currently in with your fire marriage and then taking action if need be While I write about the phases of marriage in my book Fire Wife, I’m going to quote Dr. Gary Chapman’s Seasons take on things from his book, The 4 Seasons of Marriage.
The following, where you see quotes are from author Dr. Gary Chapman’s book, The 4 Seasons of Marriage.
Did you know that your fire marriage is cyclical like the seasons (spring, summer, fall and winter)?
The Spring time of your marriage is “filled with hope, openness, and anticipation.”
The Summer time of your marriage is “satisfied and comfortable, simply enjoying life together.”
The Fall is a time where “negligence and uncertainty creep in leaving us feeling unsettled and apprehensive.”
The Winter period is the worst season of marriage where there can be “distance, you feel discouraged and dissatisfied.” Don’t worry – not every relationship slips into the Winter Season! Keep reading.
Here is the thing – while Winter is the worst stage of marriage – not everyone will go into this stage, so take heart! On the positive if you are in the Winter Season with your mate, the Spring Season is always just around the corner. The seeds of flowers that you can’t yet see under earth’s frozen surface will bloom again. But you’ve got to do the work.
It’s only when we neglect and ignore the more important or more serious aspects marriage, which I wrote about in my book Fire Wife, that we can slip into the Winter. Winter often comes when – while in the Fall Season of marriage – we ignored the red flags or swept things under the rug that should have been dealt with. When we don’t deal with our problems, they can just get worse over time and then Winter’s cold winds blow in between you and your firefighter and you feel lost, uncertain, sad and maybe even done.
As I was studying the seasons of marriage,
I realized something hugely pivotal.
Fire Relationships, because of this unique profession, the shift work and the emotional and physical stress, are highly PRONE to slipping into the Fall season quite easily – it’s like we are always just on the brink of Fall.
Why is that? Because, for you, as the partner on the other front lines – it’s easy to feel unsettled as you might feel left out, or are tired of going to functions on your own, or raising kids mostly on your own. It can get lonely! There are also the moods to contend with from lack of sleep and even a little jealousy because our guys seem to always be available for their brothers and we can end up feeling like the second fiddle. Once again my friend, take heart. We just have to learn tools specific to our unique partnership – so that we can stay in the wonderful warm season of Summer more often. But once you learn how to navigate this relationship and most importantly – how to make yourself, your mental health and your self-care a priority, it will be for you and your firefighter, a very happy and satisfying relationship.
I’ll talk more next week about some of the very simple tools to have in your “relationship tool box” and that really work!
So here are a couple of questions until next time: Having read some of the quotes above from Dr. Gary Chapman’s Book, The 4 Seasons of Marriage, what season of marriage/partnership are you currently in with your Firefighter? Also, if you are in the Fall Season currently, make a list of what you and your Firefighter have been neglecting or ignoring in your relationship and think of what you might need to do to get back on track, ie: counselling, assertive communication, setting boundaries? We’ll talk again soon. XOXO