Last night I heard that another law enforcement marriage looks like it’s ending. A couple from my own church. And it grieves me. Because I believe that those who stand up and stand in the gap deserve better. And those who love them and are willing to sacrifice parts of life that others don’t deserve better than this as well.
Well, I was inspired. And here’s what I wrote:
This is for the one who serves and protects. You, who stands up for us and puts your life on the line and says, “I will not let you” because the act is destructive. It hurts others, causes chaos, and even though this thing that the criminal wants to do may seem good to him at the time, it will ultimately lead to destruction of his own life. Thank you, thank you for putting on your uniform day after day and going out on the streets and protecting and serving those of us who appreciate you, and those who don’t appreciate you.
I have heard that you want out. That you are tired of the life that you have made with your spouse and you are daring to think that a life without her would be better. You have walked away, shut down the love, and have been looking elsewhere.
I acknowledge that you work long hours. That the job takes its toll. That you see things that people do to each other that are inexcusable. You’ve seen that life isn’t fair. You’ve seen who people are at their worst. Your job as a peacekeeper is difficult and lonely.
I acknowledge that almost three out of four police officers experiences divorce. It’s become a common thing – an expectation even – something that your leaders will tell you up front you’re headed for. So don’t even try. Lower your expectations, get what you can out of each relationship, and then when it gets tough, just cut bait and leave. Move onto wife number two. It’s what cops do.
I acknowledge that that person you married is difficult to live with. She doesn’t understand. She complains. She doesn’t seem happy. You’re not getting enough sex. And chances are, she doesn’t look like she did when she walked down the aisle to pledge her life to you.
I acknowledge that your life isn’t the way that you imagined it would be. It isn’t what you want anymore. That it’s been this way for so long that there’s no point in trying because you’re so tired and worn out and it’s just not worth the work to try anymore. You’ve been pushed beyond your ability to stay.
I acknowledge that there are others who look at you in your beautiful uniform and desire you. They are ready, willing and able to please you. They seem to understand, especially if they are wearing the same uniform. You’re beautiful. You’re desired. You’re feeling things you haven’t felt in a long time.
But it’s a lie.
All of it.
Being a cop does not mean that you have to be alone. It does not mean that you will get a divorce. This is, pardon the pun, a cop out.
I appeal to you as a warrior. You are willing to stand up and say NO! To fight for what’s right. You’re willing to lay your life down for this. Why, as a warrior, are you so unwilling to fight for your own marriage? For your family?
Your wife is a human being. Complex. Difficult. Hard to understand. And so are you. Complex. Difficult. Hard to understand. And your job makes things even more complex, difficult, and hard to understand. You put your life on the line, and you know what? So does she. She puts her sense of security on the line. She puts her heart on the line. She says, if something happens, I will make up the slack. I will carry on the family in your stead. And while your crisis-driven career makes your lives tumultuous, she says I will support, I will flex, I will go to things alone, I will let go of my expectations, I will do what is needed to make us work.
Who does that? Who would put up with that? Someone who is fiercely in love. Someone strong. Someone who has deep character. Someone who deserves that fierce love back. Someone who will serve and protect the life that she herself is willing to sacrifice for. She doesn’t deserve to be walked away from.
A long life together is a life of seasons. There will be winter seasons – when life is colorless and there isn’t much sex and it isn’t as you imagined it would be. But if you stick with it, and make choices to invest in your relationship, the spring will come, the summer will come, and it is continually a life of adventure, and pain, and happiness, and history, and goodness.
I appeal to you as a discerner. When your gut is telling you that something isn’t quite right, you put yourself on alert. You get in defensive posture, ready to take on the threat that you sense. But why do you allow yourself to be lulled in by beautiful women? A person who is willing to enter into a relationship with a married man is nothing but a thief. She’s willing to take something that isn’t hers because she WANTS it. Don’t you arrest thieves? Why?
She may be hot, but she’s selfish. She may seem to understand, but it really is all about her. And she may be willing to have sex, but she’ll dig her claws into you and destroy your marriage, your kids, your wallet, and your soul. And when she’s drained you dry, she’ll move on.
I appeal to you as a man in blue. Why have you stopped protecting your marriage? Why have you stopped serving your marriage? Because it was too hard? Because you’re too tired? Those cops who turn and run in the face of difficulty are called cowards. Stand up and be the brave man that you are.
You took an oath. To love, honor and cherish till death do you part. When did you stop loving? When did you stop honoring? When did you stop cherishing? Go back there. Start again. You have a choice to stand in the gap and say, NO! No divorce. No bad marriage.
As one who has put her heart on the line, she deserves it.
As one who has put your life on the line, you deserve it.
This is for the one who serves and protects. I’m appealing to you, to stand up for your marriage and put your choice on the line and say, “I will not give up.” Because leaving is destructive. It hurts others, causes chaos, and even though it may seem good to you now, it will ultimately lead to destruction of your own life.