“This home is not a safe place for me.”
The words cut like a knife. They dove down into the deepest place of my motivation and pride, and locked in fear and pain.
Not a safe place? Our home, the place where I strove to create home and memories and talks and beauty for the past 15 years? The place where our children grew up? Where we laugh and cry and plan and give of ourselves?
When the words shot forth from Chief, it was a wake up call.
One of the four foundational ways a spouse can be backup to an officer is to be a safe place. A safe place, and a safe person. At times, the way I’ve reacted to things shut him down—my anger, my indignation, and my emotions have been hurdles to good communication…if you’ve read either of my books, you may remember this. As we’ve gotten older, and hopefully more mature, I’ve realized that I can control this to indeed make myself a safe person to which my husband can be vulnerable with.
Our home, though, was a fixer upper. An old home with a big yard—which means endless maintenance, difficult repairs and constant effort and money. Things my intellectual man and leader of many found tiresome and challenging. That old home had several owners before us who “did it themselves,” so every time we went to change or repair something, it was a Pandora’s box. Once changing an outside light fixture brought the realization that a fire could’ve broken out at any time, and we had to fix it to the tune of several hundred dollars! For a girl who grew up in a family of mechanics and carpenters, this equated to “charm.” For Chief, this equated to STRESS.
Stress upon stress that had accumulated from the most challenging years of his career. When he said those words earlier this year, we realized we needed a change.
As we move into 2018, what are things that equate to stress upon stress that have accumulated from years on the job? Is your home a safe place? Are you a safe person? What habits or activities or practices threaten you and your family and your well-being? Your marriage? It’s an appropriate time for a change—a time of new beginnings, do-overs, and resolutions to do life better.
For Chief and I, it began a journey that meant time and money and work—but oh, so worth it. We are now living in a safe place, and we both see visible benefits every day.
Victoria Newman January 10th, 2018
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