Friday, April 13, 2012

Keeping it real when your husband doesn't work a 9 to 5 job

So I thought that I would write a little post about some of the things that B and I try to do to keep things fresh in our marriage. There is no particular order, just a collaboration of things that we have found that works for us. You might have ways of handling the stress and busy schedules yourself. If so, please fill us in! :) I hope that you enjoy this little list of things that we do and I hope that it is helpful to you in your own life :)

1. Okay this I do have to put at the top: COMMUNICATION. No relationship will last very long if there is no communication. This is ESPECIALLY true when your spouse works in EMS or Law Enforcement. When B is on shift we are constantly (well, he can't ALL the time lol) texting each other about our day, encouraging each other, and making plans about what we are going to do next on his days off. Even if he doesn't answer right away (or in five hours lol) I at least know that he is going to read my text and get back to me. Also, let me say that if you are unhappy about something, whether it be about your spouse's work or something at home TELL them about it. Don't make them guess. It never works out because they usually have no clue what is going on. Find a good time when they can sit down with you and really focus (read: NOT after coming home from a 24, 36 or 48 hour shift. Brain function is minimal at best and is occupied with one thought: SLEEP) on what you are saying. You can also write things down so they can read it on their time and talk to you about it when they next see you. There have been many times that I have written an email to B or dropped a five page text telling him about what I was thinking/feeling. He loves knowing what is going on in my head and really values what I have to say. Your spouse loves you and wants the same. Opening the door to communication is KEY in making our marriage healthy and happy.
2. Learn to laugh things off. It makes life so much easier. They deal with life and death situations at work all day long. It is a breath of fresh air when they can home to you and your attitude is one of a carefree spirit. It's also good for letting go of petty arguments. Example. My big pet peeve: clothes on the floor. My husband's bad habit: leaving clothes on the floor. Scenario numero uno:
Me: <walks into room> "Wow, what a mess!" *clothes left in a trail from living room to restroom, from restroom to side of bed*
My husband: <from kitchen> "What did you say honey?"
Me: "I said I wonder who left this big mess in the hallway. AGAIN."
My husband: <at my side now, sheepish look on his face> "I don't know but they sure are in big trouble!"
Me: <chuckles> "Yeah, one of these days he's getting a 25 to life sentence."
If it's not life or death, then it isn't serious enough to get angry over.
3. When you can't laugh it off, learn to lean on each other. There will be times when things just suck, to be honest. Those are the times that you are tested to your limit and you think that the world is either going to end or you are going to need some serious therapy lol. Don't push each other away; you can make it through!
4. Make time for rest. I usually try and make sure that when B gets off his first rotation that we have absolutely nothing planned for the day so that we can sleep in and be lazy. Sometimes they have so much crap that goes on at work dealing with patients, coworkers, and hospital staff that they need the time to unwind and not have to answer to the clock. If you are on a strict budget, this might be a day where you want to plan your little extra spending money on food and a movie rental.
5. Encourage each other in your interests and hobbies. B loves to run, and I encourage him to go to the gym and run for an hour even when I don't feel like going and haven't seen him in a while. Not only does it let him relax but it's also great for his health, which in turn makes him more capable of doing a good job at work and taking care of me ;) Also, when you are interested in what they like outside of work it's something that you can talk about other than work on their days off (nobody wants to talk about work on a day off!) I didn't know a lick about soccer until we married. Now I can tell you who is ranked number one in the British Premier Soccer League. Scary, I know ;) and usually you'll find that what they are interested in, you become interested in as well, and vice versa. It's kind of cool how that works out. 
6. Plan for the unexpected. Your spouse will more than likely be called to work an overtime shift when you least expect it or plan on it happening (like usually after they haven't had to in a month and things are really slow, and you two plan this amazing weekend full of fun stuff to do. That's when it usually happens lol) or be held over at the least convenient time. Just be aware. It WILL happen. Let it go and move on. There's no use in crying over spilled milk, so to speak.
7. Pray for your spouse! This should be at the top of the list as well. There is little that we can do to protect our spouses from danger or the heartache of seeing people mutilated and dying at work but we can intercede for them in prayer while they are serving others. I cannot stress this point enough!
8. Take care of yourself. You can't be 100% to your spouse if you are not taking care of yourself. Get a massage. Read a book. Watch a movie. If you have children, don't be as hard on yourself; it's OKAY to not do anything when the kids are napping/busy with their own things. Call up your friend, sister, mom, aunt, grandma, grandpa, etc. and talk about your day. Better yet, make plans to meet up with them. Keeping up with the other relationships in your life helps to make things feel balanced and is a great support system in your time of need. If you guys live away from family make a Skype date so that you can see friends and family face to face. Also, joining in community and church activities opens the door to new friendships and learning experiences, and is worth looking into. Encourage these things in your spouse as well! Also, talk with your spouse about making alone dates for you. Meaning, they watch the little ones and you get an hour nap or go out and eat by yourself. Just remind them that it is VERY important to you to have some alone time and that you will do the same in return for them.
9. Make sure that you are diving into God's word together on a weekly, if not daily basis. Jesus said, "When two or more are gathered together, I am there among them." There is no better glue for keeping a marriage together then a relationship with the Son of God :) . In fact, when you are close to God you are closer to each other. I can vouch for this.
10. Dream together. I know this sounds really cheesy but I'm telling you it's important. B and I have all these plans to travel the world and try new things. Now, half of these things we will probably never be able to do but we don't tell each other that. It's our time to not feel like adults but rather like kids again, and I really enjoy it :) it's also a good way to learn new things if you research the places you want to go and the things you want to do.
Well, those are my thoughts. I know that you have probably heard most of them or maybe all of them but I just thought that I would put it out there :) Like I said I'm sure there are ways that you have figured out how to deal with things, if so please share! I would love to hear from you by comment or drop me an email :)
Have a blessed day!
-Liz

6 comments:

Stacie, A Firefighter's Wife said...

Those are all really good tips. You are on the right path.

It helps so much that your husband is on board and values your opinion.

Love,
Stacie

Lesley Kotlarz said...

I am in a new relationship with a wonderful man who happens to be a paramedic. I really enjoyed reading this blog and it has helped me. I find it harder and harder everyday since we dont get to see each other much, maybe 1 once a week if we are lucky.

I try to be understanding and we always talk about how we are feeling but I hate not knowing when I will see him again. On his days off he ends up sleeping and he works every other day plus lots of overtime.

I guess because it is such a new relationship and we are still getting to know each other and that makes things even harder. I just dont know where the line of feeling needy and not getting what I need is?

Any advice on how to make a new relationship work with a paramedic?

-Lesley

Lizzy said...

Hey Lesley! I am sorry that you are having a hard time trying to work out a schedule with your Paramedic, I know that is no fun :( I hate to say it but being in a relationship with someone in EMS requires a LOT of patience. When my husband and I were dating we lived in different states, he worked full time as an EMT, was going to Paramedic school, and had full time hours in his clinicals. I was also working and a full time student. We saw each other once a month and then on holidays when he was off. It was SO hard not seeing each other for weeks at a time but somehow we made it work (talking on the phone for hours helped). Now that we have a baby we are adjusting again because when he's off he likes to sleep and then I like to sleep when he can watch her lol it's disheartening sometimes to say the least! lol
You are doing really well communicating and def keep that up! Are you able to go and see him when he is on shift? or is he pretty much off limits? I like to take my hubby food and visit so that we can see each other more (it also gives me a chance to hang out with his coworkers which is nice because they are all really close so that makes me feel a little more a part of his life at work). What I have learned is that he sees so much stuff at work that I could never handle and a lot of times he just has to sleep or hang out in front of the TV for a bit to get things off his mind. You said that you guys are just getting to know each other so maybe just suggest a time that you guys can hang out and watch a movie at home with a pizza or something. That way you can have more time together but still he can rest. But there does need to be a time that you guys have a REAL date and time together. Where you do something that you both love. So don't be hesitant after a while of just hanging out to ask if you guys can have some more alone time together. If he wants to make things work and get to know you he will make the time. It will take some adjusting and be prepared to be the one to sacrifice a lot of the time, but it will be worth it in the end because it sounds like he is a great guy :) try not to get discouraged and know that there are a lot of us EMS gals out there that feel your pain lol
Hope I helped a little, let me know how things go!
Praying for you,
Liz

SG said...

Hi, I recently got engaged to an EMT/Fire Fighter. It's hard because with his job it always seems like when I need to talk to him or get a hold of him I cant and he's busy a lot. We've had a few recent events come up where Ive been really stressed and have gotten mad becasue we couldnt go or we were late to them because his job kept him late. I know I've bugged him at work and bothered him when Ive gotten upset over it. I feel bad and want to support him. But Im not sure how I can deal and adjust to if he's late or if we have plans and he has to go into work. Do you have any suggestions? Or like ideas how I could learn to go with the flow on this maybe or feel as anxious? I want this to work and we get along about everything else, it's just little things like his work and it can get very stressful and over whelming. Maybe because I have the typical mon-fri 9-5. So any ideas or suggestions would be appreciated. Im new to how this all goes. And I could use a few prayers.
Thank You.
Sarah

ps if you could write back or even email me at Sarah.sg.miller@gmail.com :)

Mik B said...

Hi Liz, was wondering if you had an email I could contact you at. Realizing how old this post is hoping you still are in contact w this. I am
Dating a soon to be paramedic and have some question and looking for some advice:) thanks

Anonymous said...

Hi Liz thanks for your advice, it is helpful.