Fortunately, not anymore, but for many years prior, and before I had THERAPY, my stomach would be in absolute knots when my firefighter was on his way home after two night shifts.  Being a firefighter wife, you know what your man will be like when he gets home.  I guess also depending on his natural disposition, you have an idea of what you will be in for.  For me, I suffered serious anxiety because to put it bluntly, my husband could be a F-ing nightmare.  I knew his routine and like a hamster running around their cage, he would actually come home and do the oddest things before making his nest and conking out for a day or two.  I remember thinking, “how can the fire department even count the day he gets home after his last night shift as his first day off?”  They aren’t even cognizant.  I was an “in shock” firefighter wife and would just accept my husband’s rude and critical behavior not knowing what else to do and not having a single tool in my firefighter marriage tool box for dealing with this stuff.  His mind, obviously racing and in disarray and discomfort from whatever he saw the night before, projected itself into our family’s morning.  He’d lob a million questions at me, slam the porch lights off, open closet doors and kitchen drawers for inspection and then scoff at or maybe eat some of the dinner I made the night before.  Finally, he would head up to bed where it would take him hours to come down – stone faced and expressionless.  It was then, when he was fast asleep that I could finally read the truth of what last night did to him.  In dealing with my anxiety, I learned early on with our firefighter marriage, to get the hell out of Dodge.  I could spend hours outside of the house running errands, going to the bookstore, or going for a walk or lunch with a friend, timing just how long it would take him to fall asleep.  Most of the time I tried to leave before he got home but as you know, it doesn’t always work out that way.  Sometimes he would “catch me” before I took off and of course pepper me with questions about the boys, if their homework was done, etc.  Over time I learned not to take these moods seriously.  Over time I toughened up and for years we would have our standard “last night shift argument.”  Arguing however every 12 days is not healthy so I had to understand why I let him get to me so badly and then stop it.  As I mentioned I went to therapy for a very long time, 8 months in fact.  I had found that my husband’s firefighter career had really kicked the crap out of my self-esteem and confidence.  When he was critical at say a messy refrigerator or utensil drawer or how I loaded the dishwasher, I felt embarrassed and ashamed – I mean who can compete with the fire hall’s organization?  But I also felt second best because where I once was his go to for advice, his brothers at the hall knew things before me or he’d run things by them first, before me.  This was very detrimental to our relationship and it really hurt me to the core.  I had to reclaim my crown and my position as his wife and I needed to be treated with respect.  While it took a long time for me to finally get the help that I needed so that I could reassert my importance and worth in this marriage, my therapy really helped.   I needed to be the strong and confident one for the both of us.  I needed to guide my husband toward better ways of dealing with the crash after his last night shift instead of taking his horror out on me with his moods.  One of the things I encouraged him to do was not come home right away, but to take himself out for a coffee and a crossword at a nice coffee shop.  We also own a little engraving store, so sometimes he would stop in there too to check the orders and next week’s work with the TV on and some quiet time.  This really worked well.  Not having him come home right away was a God sent and it gave me time to have a good morning as well.  As well my husband had to learn how to communicate what was going on inside his head with me but often felt frustrated because I would constantly interject or try and fix his feelings instead of just letting him just talk.  I had lots to learn too.  Now when my hubby comes home, he’s already come down from the night before and I’d get a kiss instead of shit from him.  If he likes I’ll run a nice tub for him and I can stand in the bathroom while he soaks and after asking how the night went, just let him talk.  After a bite to eat, a warm bath and a successful transfer from the fire hall to home my man is ready for sleep and we both feel good.  He no longer makes the rounds driving the entire household crazy and I no longer suffer anxiety.   As a firefighter wife we are always in the position of influencing our guys and finding ways to make our lives better.  No one should live feeling anxious or second best.  Reclaim your crown.  XO

Written by : Miss T

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