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Spouse Support

Since I have started working towards the badge my wife has given me total support. With all the stress that comes with the persuit of the badge. Taking a job that pays so little and has bad hours, she went back to work part-time to help out.

I don't think people realize what the spouse goes through during a career change into firefighting. I don't think I can express how much her support means to me.

I love that she will support me and my prusuit of the badge. Wifes are the best support system we can have. She is the best!

It's really nice to hear that you have a support system that you don't take for granted.

In reading some other threads, you may have noticed how much I emphasize both personal and family preparedness for the arduous journey that you will face together.

My suggestion is that you plan to put aside a small amount of money each month that can be used on a cruise or vacation getaway surprise to thank that special someone when the call finally comes, or your probationary schedule will allow.

By putting aside just a few bucks a week, you will soon have hundreds if not thousands of dollars that you can spend lavishly in making them understand how special they are and have been to you. Trust me, it will be something that neither of you will ever forget.

Best Wishes to you both,

Please no e-mail. Public replies only. Thank you!

That sounds like an excellent idea. I know that I would not be where I am today with out the support of my wife. Even though I have a ways to go yet towards my badge I am glad that she is along for the ride.
"I know I'll do the right thing, if the right thing is revealed"


When you finally get that call and pack up for the academy, don?t forget the one who stood by and encouraged you, was your sounding board, laid awake at night with you trying to figure out how you could achieve the goal to get a badge. Firefighters already have a higher divorce rate. You don?t want the additional stress of being a rookie compounded by a divorce. If you haven?t already figured it out yet, if momma isn?t happy, no bodies happy.

I receive calls on a regular bases for girl friends and fiancée who are looking for a ring and a date. But their guy tells them he can?t commit until he gets a badge. Those that are married test the relationships especially when the get into the academy and go through probation. I just received this e-mail:


I was looking up information on how to support my husband who is currently going through the fire academy with a large city department in the northwest. He stays by the training center so he lives about three hours away from my children and I and he comes home once a week. I miss him but he will only speak with me on the phone for very brief moments in the evening and when he comes home he is so wrapped up in studying and stuff he wont talk much I understand that this is a stressful time for him but I hardly know how he is doing, our communication skills have taken a complete halt and because of the frustration we often end up in horrible arguments on his one day home, am I am being to demanding when I ask for a little more time? I myself am pretty stressed out but he claims that I don?t do anything. He is always saying I don't support him and that I am not excited to see him when he comes home, when I am excited I just worry about bothering him because he doesn?t seem to miss my us much during the week and I want for him to concentrate. I feel that when he comes home he might want to be left alone. He does take me out but our table is probably the most quite table in the restaurant. We hardly say anything and when I do say something he becomes offended or he ignores me. Please, please tell me why he does this? Does it have to do with the academy? How can I be supportive without getting in his way? What can I do so that he stops pushing me away/

Thank you thank you for taking the time to read this letter I hope you find it in your heart to help me understand the demands of a fire academy, Mary.


It's not about you! I know this City is one of the most demanding fire academies in the nation. Candidates know they must pass all segments of the program or they will be out. It continues through probation. Most men attach their self worth with their job. It was not easy to get where he is now. You can find out more about the Academy and being a new rookie by checking out the New Firefighter section (towards the bottom of the page) of our FREE inside secrets by clicking here:

This is from my books Fire Up Your Communication Skills and Eat Stress for Breakfast now available in 21 countries including South Korea, Latin America and China. I encourage candidates to read one these books and give it to the love in their life. They could keep you out of the penalty box until you get through this process:

Well, go back with me, when I was working at the firehouse. Paul was called in to work for four hours of overtime. He was from a different station and shift. Knowing I had done some communication and relationship work, he took me aside and said, ?Bob, I?m in big trouble.? I asked, ?With what?? He said, ?My marriage! I don?t know what I?m going to do.?
Paul said that he got no support from the guys at the firehouse. He explained, ?When I try to tell them what is going on, they hit me in the chest and say, ?Forget her, let?s go get hammered.??

Paul told me that six months earlier he and his wife had what I call ?the talk.? The talk can come whenever situations build up and aren?t resolved. It usually blindsides one of the partners. Paul?s wife told him he wasn?t part of her life. He was always gone with the guys, coaching and/or competing in sports, besides working his firefighter shifts. She didn?t think he loved her anymore, and she was losing her love for him, too.

Like most guys, firefighters get many of their needs met at work. We have certainty, uncertainty, variety, significance, discipline, comfort, connection, growth and contribution. Because we go home with our tank pretty full, we aren?t always motivated to provide the same vital necessities for our partners.

Paul attempted to make changes. But he made the big mistake of not asking his wife what changes she wanted. And if the changes aren?t what the other person needs, it doesn?t make any difference what a person does.

So now it was six months later and she still felt the same way. She threatened to leave with their four-year-old son. She stated that because of what had already happened, counseling was not an option.

From our conversation, I suspected that Paul?s wife, Tara, was at Dr. Gottman?s level four, stonewalling. Had she crossed the line?

I sent Paul home with four chapters from this book. As Tara read the chapter on the five-to-one ratio, she said, ?I?m right here,? pointing to stonewalling. Had she crossed the line? Reading the other chapters, she said, ?Did he write this about you? Because this is exactly what you?ve been doing.?

They went for a walk and discussed the chapters. They talked several times during the next three days. Then Tara caught some hope. Maybe with these new tools, they could work it out. Paul took the time to ask Tara the changes she really needed. He opened a Love Bank Account and started making deposits. He started his transition toward the five-to-one ratio.

Z Hope is the anchor for the soul.

Three weeks later she felt it was real; Paul wasn?t just putting out spot fires, as before. Tara said, ?I think I still love you.? Three months later they went away to celebrate their anniversary. I saw Paul a month later and he said, ?It?s never been better.?

One year later he told me, ?It?s still hard work, but well worth it. It?s never like before because we have the Nuggets of Life needed to work it out.?

This firefighter became a hero in his own home by saving his marriage. Imagine what could happen in your life?

Nugget: Open a Love Bank Account. Use it as an accounting system to transition to the five-to-one ratio.

How: Make the kinds of deposits your partner needs most.

Testimonial from Paul

Two years ago was a terrible year for my family; or so I thought. Actually, my five-year marriage was not as great as I assumed. It all came down on top of me that summer.

Two things happened in our marriage relationship that made me realize something was wrong. First, my wife spent more time and seemed to have more fun with her friends than with me. And second, we hardly ever communicated or did things together. When we did, it was not fun. We had grown apart.

My wife told me that she no longer loved me and I was in danger of losing her to someone else! If I did not become a better husband, father, listener and friend, she was planning on moving out. I was shocked, amazed, hurt and disappointed, but she was right in every way. I did not know who to turn to. I was embarrassed to tell anyone about my problems.

One day while working with Captain Bob, we had a discussion about women. My problems with communicating and listening to my wife surfaced. With Bob?s words of wisdom, and passages and excerpts from his book, my wife and I were able to identify the problems in all facets of our relationship. We have become best friends again, and now I can honestly say that we are on the road to salvaging our marriage. It is a continuing process! We must work at it each day.

I realized one thing through this whole ordeal. We both need each other a lot, and if we know how to listen and can communicate better with each other, the better our relationship will be in the long run.

Being in love means speaking the same language.

Loving means speaking the other person?s language.
?The Rt. Rev. John R. Wyatt

One of my goals is to keep guys out of the penaly box. Oh, we're still going in. We don't even know sometimes what we have done wrong. I try to provide some nuggets life so guys can stay out the longest time and when they go in it will be a shorter stay.

A guy came out of the phone booth at the fire house one night. He looked puzzled. I asked Phil what was wrong. He said he just spent an hour appologizing and he still didn't know what he had done.

Nothing is worst than being up half the night on calls on get away day and coming home for your days off and the bride is already mad.

It's no fun in the peanlty box. There is no romance.

Five Secrets for Successful Relationships

Simple Tools to uncomplicate lives

Recognize, understand, and accept that we are dramatically, dramatically different in incalculable ways. We are constantly judging each other by our own quite different standards. What may seem crystal clear to you probably is not to your partner.

Find out what makes that person in your life feel special or loved. Open a love bank account and start making deposits of those things that make that person feel loved. You will receive the interest and dividends from the account.

Transition from criticism, defensiveness, contempt, and stonewalling to a ratio of five positive moments to each negative moment in your relationship. The love bank can be the accounting system for the five-to-one ratio. The one negative moment is just as important as the five. The short term misery will clear the air and add newness to the relationship.

Know what you want. Condense it down to 15 seconds or less. Is this realistic for the person you are with? If not, go back to the beginning; present what you want to your mate. Have your partner repeat back what they heard. You might have to go back and forth a few times before it gets translated. Make adjustments where needed. Write the expectation down so there is no amnesia later.

Plan evenings out and trips. Then, follow through and do them. If you don't plan, you won't go. It's not optional. For your own mental health, it's mandatory. Schedule them on a calendar. The anticipation before and the memories after are priceless. Go first class once in a while. If you don't, your heirs will. Adopt the philosophy, if you are not on a trip, you are planning the next one.

"Most people don't change because they see the light, they usually feel the heat."

The grass is greener on the other side of the fence.

It's just as hard to chew.

You've got to mow it, too.

It's just different grass.

The above is from the book, "Fire Up Your Communication Skills." Click here for more:

"Nothing counts 'til you have the badge . . . Nothing!"

Fire "Captain Bob"
Author, book Becoming A Firefighter--The Complete Guide to Your Badge!