Hitched: FIFO Relationships

Tuesday, March 3, 2020 5:32 pm
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Pastor Phil Ayres from Kingdomcity joins Jeziel in the studio to share wisdom on marriage and relationships. Phil has a passion for growing strong families, and is a goldmine of knowledge and advice. Phil says his passion stems from enduring many difficult years of marriage. After weathering the storm, his marriage is now stronger than ever, and he loves to share his expertise on marriage, relationships, and FIFO relationships.


The WA economy has been fairly reliant on the FIFO work-style over the last decade or so. While it has led to a wonderful time of economic prosperity, one aspect that’s often overlooked is the human cost. A lot of couples choose FIFO, but why would you when it means you’re apart so much?

First, let’s take a look at some advantages of FIFO:

  1. Better income
  2. Longer time off for R&R (with good opportunities for quality time)
  3. Clear distinction between work and home life
  4. Easier to save money
  5. Potential for better job opportunities

But it’s not all daisies, there are some downsides to going this route:

  1. Disconnection from family, both physically and emotionally
  2. Missing significant life events. Birthdays, anniversaries, etc
  3. Constant switch between the married lifestyle and the single lifestyle
  4. Harder and longer work hours
  5. Longer and tougher recovery time on R&R

Right now in WA, there’s about 60,000 FIFO workers. If you extrapolate that through family members, that means around 250,000 people are impacted by the lifestyle in WA. Now, it’s impossible to just disregard the opportunity. The extra pay might be the difference between scraping by and living comfortably. So how can you ensure your relationship flourishes through FIFO?

7 Keys to Flourishing in FIFO

  1. Get informed. What are the pros and cons of this arrangement? How important is each one to you?
  2. Set a timeline. Know how long you’re prepared to endure this arrangement. What else do you want to get out of it?
  3. Plan your breaks. Try not to just spend your time off sleeping. Emphasise recovery, but look into rituals and renewing love as well.
  4. Manage emotional loss. don’t blame or shame each other for lost time. You both have unmet needs, some physical and some emotional.
  5. Be on the same page. For example, with the discipline of children, mum will need to be the bad guy while dad’s away, but it’s important to be consistent.
  6. Pick your moments. If there’s issues to be resolved, wait until the time is right.
  7. Most importantly, keep your relationship first.

For all of Ps. Phil’s wisdom (and some handy stats) check out the podcast below:


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