You finally landed your dream career, after much dedication and hard work. OMG, while you were busting your butt, your marriage became a mess, and you might not have even noticed it unraveling. The fact is certain occupations are marriage killers, including being a police officer, ambulance driver, bartender, and pilot. So what do you do if you find yourself in one of these types of professions or if you are married to someone who is?
Midori sat down with Frank and Captain Laura Einsetler to discuss how they have made their marriage work. Laura is a pilot captain for a large, international airline, and Frank works in the aviation industry, as well. The divorce rate of airline pilots since September 11th, 2001 is over 80%, not to mention that it is also over 80% if a couple has a special needs child. This couple experienced both challenges. Today, they share their journey to help others. Here’s their story:
Midori: What are your secrets for keeping your marriage together despite a high pressure, high-stress career?
Frank and Laura: Setting aside time for each other is imperative. Also, practicing a term called Interchangeable Parenting, which means we act as a partnership when it comes to caring for our children. Laura’s occupation involves extensive travel. Frank knew what the demands were prior to their engagement. They discussed the options of nannies, family involvement, and how they each would need to step up, once children were in the scene.
Midori: What happens when your plans no longer work?
Laura: I was the breadwinner until 9/11 happened. I lost my job which affected us personally and financially. To add to this turmoil, my son got extremely sick. We had a solid plan but could not predict for this unexpected two-pronged tragedy. It turned our life upside down.
The most surprising aspect of all this was Frank turned away from us when we needed him the most. He physically and mentally seemed checked out.
Midori: Wow, that seems like a monumentally complicated period for anyone to get through. How did you manage?
Laura: I knew, authentically, the great guy I fell in love with was still in there. We went to a marriage counselor who helped me to understand the male perspective.
Frank: I believed it was my duty to take care of the family financially, so I worked a lot. I was also afraid of losing my job. The counselor helped me see the situation from a fresh angle, and showed us how to refocus on working together, letting go of self-ego.
Laura: I felt like I sacrificed my dreams and goals. The hardest part was the uncertainty of the future, but I knew my energy had to center on being an advocate for my son.
Midori: What advice do you both have that helped you navigate through this challenging period?
Laura: Mutual respect was a key. I was grateful for what Frank was doing and held on to the positive aspects of him, even when I felt he had pulled away. It was essential for us to have a mutual belief that we both wanted to make it through this period together. The aspect of persevering as one, through the tough times, was what gave us strength.
Frank: I realized I had to have an ego-check, and knew this situation was not about me. The counselor helped me to have an expanded view of what was going on. I asked, “What am I doing wrong?” We learned to look at conditions from each other’s point of view. Adopting the ‘we, not me’ mentality, improved things too.
I focused on the question of what does my family need right now, realizing I had to put all my energy into helping us get through this fire. Time for myself would come later.
Laura and Frank: Empathy was another critical aspect we learned to concentrate on. All these tools, put together, helped us create a stronger foundation and as we weathered the storm
Update: The Einsetler’s son is doing much better, Laura is a practicing pilot captain once again, and Frank is thriving in his career. They are back to enjoying their family and life.