As our officer’s closest relationship, we have an incredible opportunity as spouses, and responsibility. You and I know our officers intimately. We know how they think, and why they act the way they do. As life partners of an officer, we are our spouse’s backup. While we don’t grab a gun and drive CODE 3 to rescue them in their dire need, there are four specific ways I’ve seen that we can backup our officers: relationally, practically, mentally, and emotionally.
The first is that we are our officer’s compass. A compass indicates where we are in reference to true north. You know your spouse in “normal state.” As they move off course in some way because of the job or otherwise, we are the first to know it and can point it out.
Second, we are our officer’s safe place. Eight to twelve plus hours a day, our officers serve, with each call or “routine stop” offering unknown danger. They are given weapons and body armor for a reason. They’ve been trained with safety in mind and must remain vigilant the entire shift. Providing a home and a demeanor that welcomes them in makes all the difference. They need a safe place to rest, recharge, and relate to those who love and support them. We want to be that place that our officers want to come home to.
Third, we have an important voice. Because we are that compass, we have to find our voice and speak words that need to be heard—reassurance, exhortation, encouragement, and sometimes, words that are harder to hear. I had to find my voice over the years because of how I was raised. Others may not have any trouble letting their voice be heard. If this describes you, use your voice wisely, making sure that nagging, complaining, and whining give way to rational thoughts and words. And with all, being eager to listen and slow to speak from anger.
The final way we can provide backup to our spouse is balance. Officers tend to eat and sleep the job. Constant contact with who police have to deal with day in and day out can jade them. Everyone’s a dirtbag. Everyone is a liar. Boy Scout leaders are pedophiles. You get it…but it’s not the whole population. You and I have a different outlook; we generally deal with decent and good people. Our perspectives matter, and have a way to balance the negativity from the job.