This article is for the firefighter. Yes! I am talking to you. I know several guys read the article, never taking it home to their significant others. The other day I was talking to a firefighter about his engagement. I asked him if his fiancé was ready for the events that he would miss. He responded by saying that he has talked to her. I thought, “talked” to her.
So, let’s get this over with.
I want you to honestly think about the next question. Do you talk to your significant other or do you talk with your significant other? Take just a moment and think about that question.
The two of you are present in the moment. Your significant other is seeking to understand your conversations. I know that some of you have the jobs in the fire departments that require you to work all hours of the evening, even if you are at home. However, set aside some time during the evening and have a conversation with your significant other.
You and your significant other should have regularly engaged, in-depth, emotional discussions that tap into a level of emotional intimacy that just “talking” misses. Date your significant other — once a week, once a month. It doesn’t matter, just do it. It doesn’t have to be expensive, go to McDonald’s. You might find that your significant other is excited just to spend the time with you and talk.
Don’t just tell your significant other that there are going to be holidays, birthdays or events that you are going to miss. Christmas is the hard holiday that firefighters miss. Instead explain your schedule and how the “call back” works. Explain that the two of you might be getting ready to go out, and you may get the “call back.” Once a month sit down with the calendar and mark in yellow your days that you are on duty. Then with another color mark the holidays. If you are on duty, explain to your significant other that you are going to miss that event.
Explain to your significant other that there could be a call that has you upset. Not because the victim meant anything to you, but, because they were a person, mom, dad, brother, sister, grandparent, aunt, uncle or a child.
The significant other of a firefighter has to step up and run the house almost single-handedly most of the time. It is hard making plans with other couples that have more conventional work hours, because of your work schedule. This needs to be explained to your significant other. Make sure they understand it may be their job to fix the toilet, to take Rover to the vet alone or they may be sitting in the ER with your child while you are out on a call. If it can happen, it will.
Ask if they have any questions. They may need time to process this information. You may need to have this conversation again and again. Remember they are not just entering into to the marriage with one person, but many people.
Now go have those conversations with your significant other.
When you invest in your relationship you trust what you give will grow. However, if you invest nothing you have zero chance of a return.