Every now and then, I get a comment about how “strong” I am, being a police wife, and I have to laugh. There’s nothing strong about me when it comes to this life.
Every day that he works, there’s a quiet hum in the back of my head – that tiny voice constantly wondering, “Is he okay? Is he safe? Is he alive?”
Every day, as he dresses to leave, I ask him to stay home.
Every time I show up at an event without him, and someone asks, “Where is he?” I worry for him.
I love him. I respect him. I cherish him with every part of my heart.
But some days I resent him. So much.
Some days, it feels unfair to be the one left to juggle every part of family and life alone because – “drug bust,” “collar,” “shooting,” “court.” Some days, even as I worry for his safety, I’m angry that I have to worry. Would it have been so bad to be a teacher, a sales rep – some kind of job where guns and knives, death and horror are not part of his daily life?
I remember the time he came home after arresting a father who had violently and repeatedly abused his child. I remember the way he spoke as he told me what happened. His voice was deadly calm, but his hands were shaking. I remember how he went into the baby’s room to hold him that night… and I pretended not to hear my husband cry.
I wasn’t strong that night. I was angry. Angry for the evil that was there, and angry that it had touched the man I love. That night was the first of many more. My heart was not built for this life. I’m not sentimental, I’m practical. Give me a problem, I will find a way to fix it. But I can’t fix what he sees.
I can’t take all those images out of his mind.
I can’t remove the screams; the tears; the blood; the tiny, battered bodies; the hate; the violence of man’s inhumanity to man – they are in his heart forever.
Some days, knowing this makes me a better wife to him, more loving, more understanding.
But other days… oh, you guys! Other days it makes me so bitter, knowing how deeply this job has scarred the man I love. Other days I resent the fact that sometimes when I ask about his day, he shakes his head and tells me: “I don’t want to talk about today.”
I used to push for more, and ask him why. Now I know to let him be. There are times when I am hurt by the silence, by that invisible wall of horror that I can’t pass through. And yet he knows me better than I know myself. What his eyes have seen, my heart cannot.
We learned to work together and find a way to strengthen our marriage against all the odds stacked up against us in this life. The days and nights apart, the hours of single-parenting, the stress of what he sees and does – all of those are very real concerns in a marriage. There is a reason why divorce in police families is astronomically high.
The fact is, whether police family or not, people are people. Each of us wants to be seen, to be heard, to be loved unconditionally and feel at peace in our homes. (Peace is a relative term in our house – 4 kids ages 6/under isn’t exa-a-actly everyone’s definition of peaceful! haha)
If I had to pick one thing that is most important to the strength of our marriage it’s this: when he’s at work, I’m on duty here. And yes, that means everything – kids, house, meals, appointments, whatever else needs to happen. When he is home, he is fully and truly present to all of us.
All of us in this family, including the kids, are sometimes left disappointed by a court day, collar, or unexpected detail that takes him away. All of us are used to the summers and weekends without him. But having him put 100% into the hours we get together makes all the difference.
On the flip side – wife to wife here, he’s much more inclined to do his part cheerfully if I complain less and love more, so I try to make sure his heart is filled in the way he needs. Most days. 😉 Other days I’m witchy and just cross my fingers he’ll love me anyway! haha #keepingitreal Marriage is marriage with all its ups and downs, and I don’t care how good he looks in uniform – PUT YOUR DIRTY SOCKS IN THE HAMPER, BABE! You know what I mean? 😛
I somehow went from talking about horrific scenes to dirty socks… which, now that I think about it, pretty much sums up life in a police marriage. The emotions run high to low and everything in between, every day is unpredictable, and our hearts are constantly challenged.
But there’s something beautiful about loving someone who chooses to give his life for others. There’s something powerful about being loved by a heart that loves so deeply.
There’s good, bad & ugly in every day – but I will forever be proud that I’m married to a cop!