How 2 Love Our Cops

Chapter 1- Mr. & Mrs. Cop: What Makes us Different, cont.

Stress

Perhaps the biggest impact on your marriage will be the stress of your hubby’s job. There are so many pressures on policemen. There’s the hatred from criminals, office politics, accusations from the media, a lack of justice in the court systems, armchair second guessing, the heartbreaking injuries and deaths of innocent people, and even uneasiness of law-abiding citizens. It will, at times, affect him in his off time.

Your husband also undergoes physical stress. Not only does he need to rely on his training to get him out of some tight spots, but he also is required to work different shifts that aren’t conducive to good sleep. On top of that, he may have trouble eating well, as many times they buy fat-laden fast food to sustain them during long hours (we’ve heard the donut jokes ad nauseum). Our guys can also be susceptible to injuries or illnesses related to the job, and, of course, this will affect you.

Lastly, there are strong emotions that come with his job. He’s been trained to be in control, to bring calm to stormy situations. Most will obey his orders, and the ones who don’t may only respond to force. Sometimes it’s hard to turn that off when he gets home. What if you and the kids don’t adhere to something he wants or asks you to do? When your cop has strong emotions, both in control and out of control, that can affect your relationship and home.

Shift Work/Surveillance

Perhaps one of the most obvious things that set us apart from other marriages is the hours our guys work. Their jobs are driven by emergencies, and we never know what will happen and when. No matter what agency he works for, the hours can be long and unpredictable.

Crime and accidents happen twenty-four-seven. Brenna’s husband, Scott, is on the SWAT team for the sheriff ’s department. He constantly gets calls to report for potential situations. At the onset of one recent incident, he kissed his family goodbye, saying he’d probably be home within the hour. It became a three-day hostage showdown. Scott came home a couple times to get some sleep and then returned. For Brenna and her children, it was the most difficult ordeal they’d experienced thus far. Their lives revolved around the situation. Family and friends called constantly for updates, Scott was in high gear the entire time, and it was covered in full-color detail on television.

In addition to long hours, in recent history we have endured something else – deployment. Natural disasters, 9/11, riots, and fires have taken our men to other places to help out local law enforcement in crisis situations. Many policemen are former military, so some cop wives have experience with this. It doesn’t make it any easier – and we’re left to hold down the fort.

Risk

I remember the news footage from September 11, 2001. There were people of all shapes, sizes, ages, and colors fleeing a wall of dusty debris, leaving shoes, purses, and hats behind. My stomach curdled when I realized what happened. I thought about all the emergency personnel who were in the thick of where that debris was coming from. We lost many good men and women that day. September 11 serves as a vivid reminder that what our husbands do is dangerous. When everyone else is running from danger, they run to it. And we know full well the risk that they may not be the same when they return, if they return.

Over the years I’ve been to my share of law enforcement funerals. I’ve had widows and family members cry on my shoulder. We have a fallen officer who is buried within a mile of our home, and we visit his grave every year around Thanksgiving, the time of year he died. The risks are real. And the fear that this could happen to us can wreak havoc if not dealt with. If you’ve been married to a cop for very long, I’m not telling you anything new. You’ve already come up with coping mechanisms and solutions to all of these issues. Sometimes all we need is to know that there are others who are experiencing the same thing, and we are bonded through the experience. But whatever stage you are in, dealing with these obstacles begins and ends in your mind.

About Victoria Newman - "A CHiP on My Shoulder"

5 Comments

  1. A Rookie's Wife on October 23, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    Thanks for posting your book on your blog. I’m a rookie officer’s wife and we’re recently married. It helps to hear about some of things we will be facing and to see strategies that have worked for others on getting through it. I look forward to continuing to read on! (:



  2. Anne on October 26, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    My problem is that I was a cop before I got married. I was a cop and then a Task Force Agent for DEA. I met my husband, a trooper, while I was on patrol. We started dating and got married after a year. He got trasfered back to his hometown so I chose to go with him. I quit my dream job, my love and passion to be with him. I was 3 months pregnant when we moved so we decided I should stay at home with the baby. I have been here a year, and I never been more alone in my life. He is a good husband, no complaints there. But I miss what I felt as a police officer and federal agent. I can’t trust anyone here. I don’t know any law enforcement EMS, or firefighters or feds here so I feel like if something were to happen I would be helpless with no resources. My husband refuses to let me go back into law enforcement, and even if I did, there is no one I trust to watch my baby while Im working. I want to be happy and content with being a stay at home wife and mom, but I cant help but feeling worthless, unappreciated, and a waste of hard work and knowledge. I worked so hard to get where I was, and now its gone. I miss even simple conversations with people. ANYBODY! Im in the middle of nowhere and even when I get to go to town, these people HATE that Im an “outsider” and are very unpleasant to me. I dont know what to do. Any advise. I have no one who understands where Im coming from, and when I try to explain this to my husband, he ignores me. Any advise?



  3. Kylee on October 27, 2012 at 11:23 am

    Please don’t ever compare being gone a few days to a month to a deployment. Military husbands tend to be gone for a year or longer. Do police officer’s babies/toddlers not know who their fathers are because they were gone when they were born or left shortly after? Do police officers wives go through whole pregnancies and deliveries alone? Yes, police officers are put in danger and murdered, see lots of horrible things, and are gone/miss a lot of things, but that still doesn’t make a year similar to a few days to months.



  4. Victoria Newman - "A CHiP on My Shoulder" on October 27, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    Hello, Kylee:

    I just saw your comment, and I’d like very much to reply to this. First of all, I’m not comparing law enforcement deployment with military deployment, although the way it reads may seem like it. Because law enforcement is paramilitary, we call being sent to a civil disturbance “deployment.” But you are absolutely correct in saying they are two different things, and they certainly are miles apart in the affect they have on families. If a law enforcement spouse isn’t used to her officer gone for a couple weeks at a time, it can be really hard. But military deployment is a whole different thing. My husband was not military, so we never experienced it personally. However, I’m now starting to work with and alongside military families, and I’m just learning. But what I”ve already seen is the devastation that happens in war – on the front lines and at home. Last week I read the IM messages between a husband and wife who have a very strong marriage, and I was amazed. I also spoke with a young man who’s wife left him during deployment – she just couldn’t do it anymore.

    It sounds like I touched a cord with you on this, and I can understand why. I am starting to understand the difficulties based on those I talk with. Law enforcement and military are very much the same in what they do, but HOW they do it is very different. And this of course is a different experience for their spouses.

    I have an opportunity to speak in January to some law enforcement training folks who want to know how to best help families with the re-engagement process. I am actively seeking to interview those who’ve experienced deployment, and how others can help before, during and after. I would love to hear your thoughts on this to add to my learning process. If you’d be willing, please email me at victoria@how2loveyourcop.com.

    Thanks for your comment, Kylee. It’s an important one.



  5. Amber on November 16, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    My boyfriend of a year and a half just graduated from the Police Academy. I know that this journey will be a long one for the both of us. We will have to face many things that we have never faced…many lonely nights, days, eating alone, praying alone, sleeping alone. Any words of encouragement would be greatly appreciated.



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