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Maintaining a marriage and healthy family life is hard work no matter what! However, for those in the First Responder community, there are added stressors and challenges that they face that other may not.
Based on your own experiences, what is your opinion? Add your comment to the question below
**What is the biggest challenge that a First Responder couple and/or family faces?**
Ok, I will start this. I'm not married to a first responder but I am dating one. Our issues consist of women throwing themselves at him and not spending enough time together. He's a firefighter and I'm an IT technician, getting ready to go into dispatch. We pretty much have a handle on things now, but sometimes it can get a bit distressful.
As a Marriage and Family Therapist Associate who works with First Responder couples and families (as well as being the wife of a first responder myself) I have found that maintaining connection between spouses in the face of long absences and highly demanding schedules is one of the biggest challenges to a marriage and family.
Quality Time = Connection and it's sometimes hard to get quality time in this field without conscious effort on both partners' part! I have found that deliberately scheduling a "Sunday" (aka: date day/night) on a Tuesday after a missed weekend or overtime shift does wonders for recapturing some lost together time.
The biggest problem for me is time spent away from the home. It's hard to balance life and work.
I agree Fyre, that seems to be my problem as well. I can't keep a girfriend because of my crazy work/school/training schedule.
Constant fear is one of the challenges I face with my family. The fear for my safety is monumental in this day of cop-hate.
Yes! Although this has always been a dangerous profession, I have seen a marked increase in the levels of fear faced by first responders and their families. It has taken a huge toll, particularly in the past year, on the children of first responders who are old enough to understand the news and the turning tide of public sentiment towards police officers. Creating stability in an unstable world is a huge part of the challenges first responders and their families are facing these days.
Thank you Kristal and you are absolutely correct. I'm still active military and suffer from PTSD as well as a career firefighter. My children have begged me on numerous occasions not to go to work because they are afraid I might not return. Instilling in them the confidence I have in doing my job has relieved some of the anxiety, however, I can still see the fear in their eyes before I leave for work.
For me it's time, not enough of it. With work, training, continuing education and community events, there's usually not enough time left for anything or anyone else. I have to learn how to strike some sort of balance.