Ok...I am not sure if this discussion has taken place before or not. If so my apologies. But, I was wondering if anyone else has had or currently in a situation where their spouse or Girl Friend/Boy Friend or what ever is not supportive of you being in the Fire Service. If so how are you or how did you handle it.
Well, my "better-half" doesn't support me in my decision to become a firefighter, though he fully respects my decision to become a paramedic. He understands, however, that this is my life's dream and while he's not as supportive as he could be he's trying to be understanding. I just remind him that it's not all about smoke and fire, and my philosophy on the matter: I'm capable of doing it, I'm able to do it, and if I don't do it who else will? Someone needs me more than you do right now, and while I love being with my family I want to make sure that person needing 911 can still be with theirs as well.
My family says this about it: "It takes faulty wiring to run in when everyone else is running out, but we wouldn't want you any other way."
I have, as you categorize them, a "category 2" girlfriend of two years right now. We are currently seperated (nothing at all to do with the fire hall), and we'll see what happens, I do love her very much, but we are pretty badly damaged. I will say this, though, if we do not work out, and down the road I get into another serious relationship, there will be a pre-relationship screening for many things, one of the requirements up front will be a "category 1" rating!
Brother when you figure this out you can put in a box and make big bucks. I have been married mutli times. Maybe partly due to the fire service. We all try to make them understand and when you think you got it ,you ain't. My wife is supportive and backs me up. But she says when the tones drop "Do you have to go". She is very sweet and understanding but you can not push it. Please let me know when your ready to sell the box with the answer I want to invest and retire. LOL Good luck my brother
I came right out of the military and into the fire service. My wife was used to the commitment. We have a relatively small department, so there is a lot for the spouses to do. I have noticed that the only spouses that are complaining are the ones that are not involved with the department. I not talking about them becoming members, but there are a lot of other things that Wives help with. From fund raisers to running drinking water to us on a scene, they enjoy the involvement. It lets them see first hand what we do.
Yes the other stuff outside of actual fire/rescue/EMS is one of the challanges that we sometimes face. My current department has Sunday bingo in which members are expected and required to help run the bingo. My other half has issues with that since in her opinion I spend too much time doing the fire/rescue and ems. I have an issue with my department when they expect me to show up every Sunday even when I am not scheduled to work a bingo. Sorry guys and gals but I do have a life outside the department.
I'll have to look for that book you mention Hondo. Who knows it just might help provide some insight for my other half and my passion for being a fire fighter.
I am very fortunate and I thank Allah(God) for my wife who has always been supportive of me in whatever I do. We support one another. We always have. This is part of our religion and who we are. In my humble opinion, a nonsupportive situation can be avoided if we are more conscious of who we are commiting ourselves to in relationships. Fun is one thing, but to commit to a relationship is totally different. And in all honesty, perhaps it is our fault for putting the expectations of trust, honesty, and support on someone who does not deserve any of those. We have to be honest and up front with the other person and with ourselves.
Comes with the territory...here is a behind the scenes of a recent evening at the Dust household:
First allow me to set the stage. We just finished doing the dishes and putting the food away (yeah I help!) and sat down on the couch to relax in front of the television when suddenly DDDDDDDDIIIIIIIIITTTTTTTT!!!!! (high pitched tones for my VFD sounding! and then a water rescue dispatch) Mrs Dust: Your not going to that are you? (Sharply) Me: Yes!
I grab my keys and go.
She's not happy when I show up 5 hours later and she is in bed alone, but she deals with it. Next week she is out of town for her job, so I got to take off work to watch our daughter. You got to be a team in life. Help each other. Life is too short to be with anyone who won't.
I share your feelings and your good fortune. I've been involved in high risk stuff my whole life. My spouse of 40 years has been a strong support for me as a person and as a FF (as well as other activities). I''m Chaplain to most of the First Response agencies in the community and I hear lots of relationship horror stories.
Got to say some of the horror comes from FF's having problems because not enough FIre Service takes Critical Incident Stress Management seriously.
The only time(s) my Lady has ever become excercised about my involvement in the Fire Service have been when she perceives somebody is trying to use my committment to service to take advantage of me. Then she gets way ticked off at them.
When I leave for a dispatch, we make a point to say "I love you." and "Be Careful." Being a volly works for me, and most of the reason is Elaine.
I have had many problems in this area. It always starts out good, with the other person supporting what I was daoing, but always ended with "this takes up too much of your time". Even my wife was fine with it when we first met. Then it slowly turned into the same old thing. Even after I took a fulltime job, she blames our relationship problems on the job. I'm never home even though I am home more now than ever. I think it is all relative as well. Both my brothers are firemen, both have great realations with their wives, but both wives are in the public sevices ( ones a firefighter-medic, and the other is a nurse). I think that because they are in the public services that they understand the job and what has to be done. My wife is not in the public sevices, and does not understand it, even though we have been together for 5 years. I think it all has to do with understanding the job. My parents have been married for over 30 years, but both mom and dad have been in the fire service for 30 years. They understand it.
If two people really love each other and support each other, I wouldn't think that it would matter if you were a firefighter or ditch digger.
I believe that it would take more than one issue to break up a marriage.
I think in many cases, blaming it on "the job" is just an easy to grab excuse.
And the Internet would be the last place that I would go to for relationship advice.