Are YOU in it to WIN it?

CarolinaFireJournal - By Dedra Cline
By Dedra Cline
01/23/2014 -

No, I am not talking about a sporting event. My question is, “Are you in your marriage to win it?”

Reading Seth Adam Smith’s blog, “Marriage Isn’t For you,” started me thinking. How many fire spouses have actually had the same thought? In case you missed the blog, it went something like this. After a year of marriage, Seth decided marriage was not for him. He decided it was for his wife.


Now, be honest with yourself. How many of you, after experiencing the schedules and lack of attending events, had the same thought? Some of you seasoned spouses will need to think back a few years, but really be honest.

I think my thought of “maybe this isn’t what I want for a marriage” came before we were even married. I was working at a bank and DH (dear husband) worked full time at one department and part-time at another. The full-time department when we married was working a 24-hour shift. The part-time job worked 12-hour shifts — unless it was a holiday, then it was 24-hour shifts. We were married in December — a few weeks after Thanksgiving and a few weeks before Christmas, and not in our home state. Since the wedding was a short time after Thanksgiving, the parents decided they would not visit for Thanksgiving. Yes, I remember the work schedule during the holidays that year. Luckily he was off on Thanksgiving Day; however, he worked the day before and after, which did not leave us enough time to travel home. This was my first holiday without my family. We did spend the day with friends and made it through the day. It was the events that followed that got me to thinking.

Not sure when he let me in on the fact that our honeymoon would be cut short, but, I remember why — a blood borne pathogens class. Not just a blood borne pathogens class, but a mandatory blood borne pathogens class. My first thought was, “what kind of chief makes a guy come back early from his honeymoon?” Well, I kind of got through that. We arrived back in town just in time for DH to drop me off at the mall with HIS credit card. Yep, those two words can just about get a girl through any problem.

Then I was hit with the news. He was on duty at the full time department Christmas Eve and the day after Christmas. That was OK, because we had Christmas day. But that did not happen because he was on the part-time department on the 23rd AND Christmas day. WHAT!? That is when I had to take a hard look at what I was getting into.

I had to step away and re-evaluate what it was that caused me to fall in love with my DH. He is a great listener, flexible, empathic toward others, has a good sense of humor, has a desire to serve and help people. This is just to name a few. When I looked at my list, it was then that I realized that some of the same values that caused me to fall in love were a few of the same values of a firefighter. WOW. I fell in love with a firefighter.

I learned a lot that first year of marriage, with the good schedules and with the bad; and with the early dinners, the late dinners, or even the missed dinners; the missed anniversary celebrations, delayed celebrations or even the ones that he ran a call and left me at home. (He will never live that one down.) There were times Santa visited the kids a few days early to times when Santa visited our house last on Christmas. There were also times birthday parties were scheduled weeks after the actual birthday, because of — SCHEDULES.

I myself have learned how to be a good listener. Even when I didn’t want to listen about the call or the class. I, even as a Capricorn, learned to become flexible. I think I have always been empathic toward others, had a good sense of humor, and had a desire to serve and help others, but, I think I have learned that it goes deeper than having a desire or being empathic. The “job” will teach you how to handle events.

I also learned what kind of chief makes a guy come back early from his honeymoon for a mandatory class. He is a chief who cares about “his” guys and girls (and their families). He is a chief who gives back by mentoring future leaders. He is also the chief who wants to develop a great team. So, thank you chief “DJ,” for mentoring my DH and helping him to become the person who I love even more after 19 years.

Yes, I am in it to win it! Not saying life has been easy married to a firefighter, but it has been interesting.

Dedra Cline welcomes your questions and comments. She can be reached at [email protected].
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