This is the man I chose to marry and spend my life with.
I made that decision with the full knowledge he was a first responder and all that entailed.
I too was a first responder at the time (he a firefighter, me in law enforcement) so I believed that gave us a mutual understanding of the risks involved in each of our chosen professions.
Neither of us are reckless, but if push came to shove and we found ourselves in certain circumstances, we must do our job, no matter what that entails.
Even though we had that unique level of understanding, I know he still worried about me dealing with armed robbery offenders, active kidnapping investigations and executing search warrants. In the same way I worried about him if I saw a fire or hazmat incident on our local news and knew it was in his patch.
There isn’t anything quite like finding the great love of your life….then facing the fact they potentially put their life on the line every time they leave for work. And there's something very different when it's the person you love doing it, instead of you. The fears, worries and concerns are more nuanced and profound somehow.
When you are the one at work, you know the compartmentalisation that is required. The level of disassociation to perform something dangerous and not listen to your natural survival instincts or think about your family at all.
When you’re the one at home and you know they’ve been called to that scene, are at that fire or responding to some kind of emergency, your heart still races, jumps into your throat and you find yourself holding your breath without realising it.
Waiting, just waiting to hear from them, to let you know they’re ok.
It’s a lot to deal with, on top of the usual relationship/marriage challenges and family struggles that everyone deals with.
Throw in the continual exposure to trauma and higher rates of mental health battles amongst first responders, there are levels of stress and pressure on a first responder marriage and relationship unlike many others.
This is why I do what I do.
I straddle that strange line of having been a first responder in law enforcement, as well as being married to one too.
I care about both perspectives and have real life experience in them too.
I offer coaching for First Responders and their Spouses/Partners. I implore you to reach out if you need someone to talk to and want help improving your relationships and overall quality of life.