In FIFO relationships, sweet little surprises can make a huge difference

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Sandy (or 'Auntie', as many people call her) is our FIFO Survivor. Her husband works offshore in oil/gas and they've been together for more than 30 years - many of them as a fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) family. In that time they've raised two beautiful daughters (both now in their 20s) and moved more than 19 times! Sandy wanted to write for Mining Family Matters to show you can survive FIFO.


The man of the house is a typical bloke. And a bit of a hunter and gatherer. He portrays a rough exterior, but over the years I have discovered another side too.

Our lives together started with the engagement ring saga...

"Girl, this will be the only jewelry that I buy you, so you had better get what you want."

I did that and spent $20 under budget. He did live up to form though, and there was no more for a very long time.

Many years later he came home for Christmas. My girlfriend was excited about what he'd bought me as a gift. Really, did I need another chainsaw?

No, he had excelled himself this time and spent his Life Away From Home allowance (LAHA) on an amazing white gold bracelet.

I was advised not to wear it daily, like when I was gardening. But damn, that bracelet took me a long time to get and I don’t take it off. Ever.

Another memorable moment came when I'd flown to visit him for a weekend. He had arranged a night dinner cruise on the river. It still has a special place in my heart, but there was one funny moment to the night.

He had a very large 4WD and we had driven into a city car park. Yes, the vehicle was too high and we had to reverse the wrong way out. Much to the amusement of onlookers.

Years later, he surprised me with a weekend away. He had seen me watching TV in awe of a resort. I had candidly remarked, "Wouldn’t it be great to go there?" Normally he leaves all arrangements to me, so that weekend away was a real surprise. Organised a rental car, accommodation at the resort. It was one of those once-in-a-lifetime moments. Overpriced but so worth the experience. 

All the simple little things have been remarkable in their own way, too. Knowing I was down in the dumps and taking me out to the movies, or spoiling me with a takeaway and wine on the beach.

The moments I remember are those he really thought about.

So all you blokes out there ... how about you surprise your partner?

Arrange a babysitter and go out for the night (or an entire weekend away if you can make it happen). The fact that you have been the organiser will make for a happy wife. And we all know what that means!


More from Auntie Sandy:

If you've got a question for 'Auntie' Sandy or would like to make a comment about FIFO living, we'd love to hear from you. Click here!