Keeping the Home Fires Burning


Mama Bear....
Staff member
Hi Ready2fly...

that's really an excellent question!!

i'm not sure what type of 'training' your referring to, as far as just beginning training for your private license or if you just got a job in the majors...

but to keep things alive in the taylor household -doug and i use all the benefits we get from the airlines (when my job will afford us the opportunity of course)... but we like to travel frequently and that is the best benefit so far...other than that, you could get her involved with other pilot wives in the area so all the girls have something in common and a reason to hang out together...

but really, by talking about some of the strange things that happen on your trips or really bad jokes you get - and just seeing that smiling face when you come home and the attitude that you missed her tons while you were gone - that'll do the trick right there!!

just make sure you pay attention to her at all times, give her that little extra something something to keep her motivated (no.. not jewelry or money.. just love and attention) and you should be ok!!

doug's even taken me down to the delta training center where i got to fly in a sim last year... now that - was fun, even though i dont fly.. i can see why he does now!!

just ideas!! happy flying and stay aware in training!! good luck to you! any other questions, please let us know!

the other side to keep in mind is to be sure you both have your own life (interests).

I am away anywhere from 5-15 days a month. (and as I type this my wife is on a buisness trip in france)
what this does is make the time we have together that much more important to us. My wife and I are very independant, I would not want to rely on her career, any more than her on mine for the keystone of keeping things happy.
As my wedding day fast approaches, I have a question for all you married (or those with Significant Others) folks out there....

How do you keep your spouse involved and excited about your career choice?

My fiance is COMPLETELY behind my pursuit of aviation as a career. We've talked at length of the pros (my happiness/job satisfaction) and cons (my being away from home for days at a time....once I reach my goal) of the aviation industry. I've heard that getting your spouse involved in some respect is important. I know that Doug's mate, Kristie has developed a site for families of airline pilots, so that's one route. I've also heard of the "Pinch Hitter" program, which is another. Outside of that....what is a way to keep things smooth on the home front.

Keep in mind - I start my training two weeks after we get back from our Honeymoon. She's as excited as I am about it. I just want to keep it that way.

Any advice is greatly appreciated!

Thanks everyone!

Kristie: I'm starting training for my Private Certificate en route to the whole shebang, so it's going to be a long process. Of course, even though the FBO is only 9 miles from my house, I'll be spending no less than 8-10 hours there a week on top of being at my office 40(ish) hours a week. We've experienced that schedule to some extent before as I coached youth football in the past and that had me out of the house for mega hours on end. Can you believe that flight training will incorporate LESS time out of the first???? haha Thanks for the advice!

Eagle: Good point! One thing that I've always thought to be paramount in our relationship (Natalie and me - not you and me - haha) is that we maintain our individuality. I tend to be more independant than her, so therein lies the reason for my post here. My flight instructor has offered (without me asking) to let her tag along on flight lessons down the road in training. We'll see. We've talked at length about the futue and what it might (hopefully) hold for my career and the time away from home it may require and your words were almoste echoed = the time we have together will be that much more important to us! Thanks! I appreciate your words.

Flybimmer: I'll check that book out. Our pastor recommended that we start reading everything and anything we can get our hands on regarding marriage and I intend to heed that advice even if it means having my nose in ONE MORE BOOK. haha!!

Thanks again!
Originally posted by ready2fly: be paramount in our relationship (Natalie and me - not you and me -
<font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">I'm crushed
Originally posted by Eagle:
<font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">I'm crushed[/QB][/QUOTE]

You'll get over it.
ready2fly, congrats. Depending on what's important to you, my key to a solid marriage is centering it on God, the rest flows from there. Here are a few for "keep the home fire burning" and for keeping her involved and excited about your career choice:

1. Make time for you and your wife-as much as it is possible. Make her feel special by taking a break here and there and go somewhere to eat or play, etc- you'll be refreshed and she'll feel special. I call it making memories. Then come back and study hard.

2. Keep her involved in your plans. I encouraged my wife to enroll in ground school and it paid off; she now understands why it requires so much time, effort and $$$. I'm now doing my inst/comm training and she knows what I need; she goes shopping with our children so I can study alone. If she stays home she bring dinner and snacks into my study room. It's awesome! I take her on short flights when possible where she helps me to accomplish CRM.

3. We talk about the good, the bad and the ugly of flying for a living; she understands the process and that glamour comes at later stages.

There is so much more, however, I hope these tidbits help. Best wishes to you and start making memories.
Originally posted by HerNan:
ready2fly, congrats. Depending on what's important to you, my key to a solid marriage is centering it on God.
<font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">I, of course, do not use HerNan's approach. I center our relationship on *US* vs a Deity. So if you want to discuss that approach feel fee to drop me a line directly. No fun in starting a religious flame war on here. Just wanted to offer a different opinion if you have the desire.
As with any relationship, I believe communication is one of the most critical aspects and don't neglect or take each other for granted. Let her know every now and then how much you enjoy your job. Give her a call when it is least expected to let her know you are thinking of her. And, by all means, if you are ever late, CALL HER and let her know you are OK. I fly night cargo and am home every day however, one night recently both Midway and O'hare were closed down due to a snow storm. I ended up holding for nearly an hour and then diverting to Milwaukee (along with a bunch of other guys from my company as well as other freight dogs.) I ended up getting home about 3 hours later than usual that morning and had not had the opportunity to call her while on the ground in MKE. That was the first and only time that she ever called me names! She was so worried, she was beside herself. I had called her from the airport as soon as I arrived home and when I got home she said that it was a good thing that it was a 20 minute drive from the airport to home. It gave her time to settle down and cool off. I think she might have really attacked me had I not called from the airport. We laugh about it now but, don't ever think that it is better to let her sleep than to call at night!!!

AND, almost as important... Never forget that every job eventually becomes work and you should always work to live...NOT... live to work!!

Be well and fly safe
I know this is a really old thread, but I have a question that I feel relates directly to what is being asked.

I am going to finish my 4-year-degree. My wife will be finishing hers at the same time, hopefully. When we are through with our degrees, she will be heading to NC with our son to stay with her mom while I head to FL to attend an academy. What suggestions does anyone have to keep close(those home fires burning), while being so far apart, and for so long (1+ years)?

She has said that she would bring our son down for weekend visits, but will that be enough? She is very needy of my attention, and, while she is supportive of this situation because she gets to live with her mom for awhile, she is supportive (tentatively) of my decision to become a pilot. She's beginning to see the long range benefits of a short-term hardship.

Any ideas will greatly be appreciated. She's terrified of "small" planes, so getting her involved by taking her on an occasional flight is out of the question.

Thanks everyone.
Personally, I think that anymore time than a month or two is unhealthy for a relationship. Weekend congigal visits will not help a relationship that is already strained by the fact that you are apart for such a long time. Not to mention, your time is not really managed by you while you're at an academy. You fly when they tell you to fly. Also, like it or not people change in a years time and those changes will hit you in the face when your lives finally merge again. These changes go un-noticed for the most part while you are together, but can be significant not being aware of them for a year+. Sometime the changesare for the worse, because you remember and love the way the person was before the move. To add to this, you have a son. I'm not sure I would be willing to give up a year of watching my boy grow up, play soccer, break his first bone, playing catch, etc. for my own career goals. Things like that can't be replaced. Not to mention, the impact on your son not having his daddy around.

Thats NOT to say it can't be done. My wife and I did the separation thing for about 9 mos. right before we got married and almost didn't make it. (she's pretty needy too /ubbthreads/images/icons/wink.gif ) I wouldn't recommend it. Anyway. My advice, FWIW is to figure out a way that you can bring her and your son with you or find a different way to get your ratings. If you have a great relationship and are in deep love and you love your son, DON'T RISK IT. There are other ways to get where you need to be AND reach your goals.
Gotta agree with Skeeter here! Don't risk losing your family for ratings! Either find a way to move them down or look into a local FBO and go agressively and work full time. I'm doing that and it's working out very well! But, that's what works for me.

Good luck! Aviation is a BLAST (to this point and I don't see that changing), but not worth losing your wife and children.

Take care
Gotta agree with Skeeter and Ready2fly,

Although I don't know you and you family, the fact that you said that your wife is "needy of my attention" leads me to believe that you had better stick close, not to mention the fact that you have a son. Kids change so much, so quickly when they are young! If you do pursue aviation as a career, you will spend plenty of time away from your family during company initial training (most likely several times), recurrent training, checkrides etc. I would not add such an extended separation to the scenario, especially considering how the industry is right now. As Eagle has recently mentioned (and gotten grief for), this is a tough industry during the good times and times definitely are down right now.

The only thing I would recommend would be KEEP YOUR FAMILY CLOSE!!! Find an FBO somewhere to get your ratings. You are going to have your degree. Find someplace where you can work full time and fly your tail off on the side and be with your family. It can be done. Just make sure that you find an instructor who is willing to work at your pace. Try to fly at least 2 times during the week and once on the weekends. You will be amazed at how quickly you can knock out those ratings and still be there for your family.

Let's face it... there isn't really a great need to hurry to start interviewing for a pilot job right now anyway. Driving airplanes for a living is NOT worth losing your family. In fact I know several guys who were just talking about whether they would do it all over again had they known the industry would take such an extreme and quick downturn. Despite all the comments from the "You can do it if you really want it bad enough" crowd, it is VERY tough out there right now. Sure, it CAN be done, but an honest recognition of the hurdles is important as well.

Good luck in whatever path you choose. But, never forget, you should always Work to live... not live to work. And there is no more rewarding job than being a good Daddy and husband!

Be well and fly safe
Gotta agree with all of the above.
AND from a woman's perspective, I'm sorry , but the love of your life does not sound like a pilot's wife. A needy female is not the type who's ready for unconventional schedules, being the landlard when you're away, even after completion of ratings, job is acquired, etc.

Now , women do grow and become less needy... very much so as they age. Just depends on the timing. And anyone who is willing to live with her mother while her man is away still has a lot of maturing to do to reach full fledged womandom.

I truely think the only way for a SO or spouse to support someone in flight training is to go thru it themselves.

When my son started flying I was petrified. I waited for him to come home after his lessons at the local FBO....always on pins and needles that he was going to crash!

After he was in training for about a year, and my asking him all these questions and having a lot of curiosity, etc. one day he said to me, "mom it sounds like you're more excited about me flying than I am. Why don't you go do it yourself."

So I did.

The level of understanding increased exponetially. I stopped asking all those'dumb' scared questions, waiting for him to 'not crash', etc.

AND, I gained a 'kick in the ass' hobby!!

It's the only way!!
I am INCREDIBLY fortunate in that my (now) wife (I am "shayes" the original poster of this thread) not only supports my pursuit - but also immensly ENJOYS it!!

She gets a kick out of my exuberence!! She loves to hear me talk about flying! However - we TALK... A LOT ..... about what lays ahead and we are planning for that time when the money is lean. We've been forewarned by more than a few pilots about the trials and tribulations of being a pilot - both from pilots we have met and from this site.

So - the key is what I said above - TALK! Communicate! Converse!! Talk things out. Don't ever - for a second - leave her out of "the loop".

My marriage my be young, but I know that without her support, this would be 10,000 times harder than it already is - and to be honest, I probably wouldn't be doing it. I LOVE flying, but I'm not going to put my marriage on the line.

(Note: I got kind of flamed for saying that on the General section because, according to the person who responded, I don't know what I'm talking about. That person apparently knows more about my relationship than I do... anyway ... I digress)

My point is this: only YOU know your wife! Only YOU know if your relationship can withstand the hard times. So, only YOU can answer the question of whether it's worth it or not.

Good luck and if you have any questions - post `em here or drop me a PM. I don't have all of the answers - but who does?

I knew many people at Flight Safety that trained while their families stayed at home. Usually, it seemed that if there was a problem, it was there before the separation.

I myself, am about to enter my second month of training away from home. Although I have made several weekend trips back, it is not easy and there are many temptations.

On the other hand, being free from distractions of normal family life have helped me to focus on my studies.

Still, I am looking forward to resuming a normal life.