Understanding His Motivation
War is seductive. There’s something inside me that lures me to the mission. I look at what’s goin’ down and know that I have to do what it takes to rescue these men… It’s almost like I have this need, deep inside of me…” The soldier’s eyes were moist and serious like he was reliving his combat experience again. I could see the pain on his face as images flashed through his mind’s eye.
“And then, as I heard the bullets whiz by my head, I came to my senses. What am I doing? I have kids… I have a job at home… why am I taking these risks?”
It was a crowded room, but I didn’t notice anything else. It was the closest thing I’d heard yet that describes the warrior mentality. Although I couldn’t step into his shoes, it resonated within me. Duty. Compassion. Laying down one life for another. Courage that comes from deep within. I’d seen glimpses of this before in my husband and his co-workers. This is the mind of a man in uniform.
Some are born with it. Some learn it really young when they’re watching Daddy put on his badge. Some are enticed by the honor and respect that goes with the shield and gun. No matter where they got it, it’s there. It’s a powerful, inner force that drives them on.
Only 3 percent of the general population can do what our husbands do.[i] They are willing to complete what’s necessary in each situation. They may even lay down their lives to stop a criminal from producing chaos and death, and that willingness commands respect. Do you respect your husband for who he is? For what he values?
My friend Deidra has had a difficult time with this in her twenty-year marriage. He may be a hero out on the road, but it wasn’t always the case at home. She and I had a conversation recently and this is what she said:
“In their line of work, they get respect. When people see a cop, they definitely clean up their act a little. Then he comes home, and I don’t give him that respect. Why don’t I give him that respect? Because some of the things he says are not respectful! When you’re acting like a jerk, why should I respect you?”
One of my biggest failures has been that I haven’t valued him. I haven’t valued his accomplishments, the fact that he is putting his life on the line for other people, that he’s a great provider, a great husband, and a great father. When I don’t respect him, he feels really bad about himself. And that affects a lot of things, like our relationship. He feels like a failure because he thinks I don’t believe in him. They get this level of respect on the road, and then when they get home, we don’t give it. I think it’s degrading. I wish I could go back and do it over again… to be more proud of him. I am proud of him.
Diedra and her cop have been married a long time and have a good marriage. But she is realizing now that the way she treats him affects him as a man and as a police officer. Respect is to a man what love is to a woman. It’s their greatest need. We as wives can remember that there is always something to value within our husbands even when they’re not faring well in other areas. It helps to remember him as a whole rather than honing in on his weaknesses.
[i] This statistic is based on population calculations.