“Marriage is hard,” he warned. “Marriage to a cop is even harder. You need to think through if you truly want to do this. Do you think you have what it takes to be the few who make it? Most cops are divorced…”
The background investigator could tell I wasn’t fazed. Which is why he repeated it. I thought, How hard could it be? I love him, he loves me. Of course we would make it work. I didn’t really listen because my thoughts were on flowers and white lacy dresses and invitations to our wedding. I thought he was being overly dramatic. I thought he was unnecessarily negative. I wasn’t ready to hear how difficult it would be as we embarked on this journey. So months later, when I found myself in the heart of Los Angeles traffic, scared to death to make a lane change, I remembered his words. I recounted them again when I heard the first heartbreaking stories of people who had taken or ruined lives. They echoed with the sound of a brush hitting the wall during an argument before Brent reported for duty on our first Christmas together. And I remembered his words as I sat on the bed, watching him prepare to enter the LA riots war zone. Slowly but surely, I got an inkling of what Officer Negative was talking about.
I’ve had a CHiP on my shoulder for over two decades now. We’ve had a wild and crazy adventure with twists and turns and some seasons I don’t care to repeat. Twelve moves, four promotions, and four kids later, I love him more now than in those early days. But that love didn’t grow without choosing my attitudes carefully. I’d say this is the key to the success of our marriage and the heart of this book. I consciously made the effort to deal honestly with problems, adopt attitudes that didn’t come naturally, and learn to set realistic expectations. It was tough, but I learned to be stronger. So can you.
Along our journey we’ve been involved in the lives of other policemen and their families. I’ve interviewed many of them for this book and incorporated their stories, quotes, ideas, and attitudes. In these cases I have changed their names to protect their privacy. It takes a strong woman to be a cop’s wife. We come in all different sizes, shapes, backgrounds, and experiences, but we have a common strength. And that strength is determined by our minds. These pages relate to all of us and can be applied to individual marriages in unique and creative ways. My hope is that these pages will enrich your marriage, helping it to thrive for years to come.