Are you all in? Or will you balk when hard times put you to the test? Are you willing to take courageous, proactive steps to nurture that commitment? I will talk more about these steps in Chapter 11, but for now fasten your seatbelt! Your seatbelt of commitment, that is. A seatbelt is protection we depend on every time we get in the car. It may seem a bit confining or claustrophobic to some, but it’s necessary. Our husbands can attest to accidents they’ve seen that, had the victims worn seatbelts, they would’ve been a lot better off. In many cases it is the difference between life and death. When trouble comes, it is the one thing that holds us in place when all else is sliding every which way. In like manner, commitment does the very same thing. But you have to choose to put it on ahead of time. Trying to do so at the moment of impact is impossible. It’s too late.
Commit to the Job
Before your husband was allowed to pin his badge on his uniform, he had to swear an oath to protect and to serve the people of his jurisdiction. Here are a couple examples:
“I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.” FBI
“To serve the United States of America and the State of California honestly, and conscientiously; and fulfill my oath as a soldier of the law; To uphold and maintain the honor and integrity of the California Highway Patrol; Be loyal to my fellow officers; respect and obey my seniors in rank; and enforce the law without fear, favor, or discrimination; Assist those in peril or distress, and, if necessary, lay down my life rather than swerve from the path of duty; My personal conduct shall at all times be above reproach and I will never knowingly commit any act that will in any way bring discredit upon the California Highway Patrol or any member thereof; To all of this I do solemnly pledge my sacred honor as an Officer of the California Highway Patrol.” CHP
The oath your husband swore as a peace officer affects you whether you like it or not. At times this oath will take precedence over things that are very important to you—birthday parties, family dinners, and holidays, to name a few. And it’s easy to resent your husband’s job when a couple of missed events stack up. This oath can be a foe, or, with the right mindset, it can be a friend. At the very least, we can make peace with it. It’s your choice. When he’s running “all roads, all codes” with his hair on fire, will you commit yourself to accept not only the benefits of his job but also the consequences? I may be sounding a bit like Officer Negative (see “Introduction”), but he was right; marriage is hard. Being a cop’s wife is even harder. But what does commitment look like?