Doing something a little different for this week’s Police Life series! Today is a question-and-answer post. Police spouses from across the country weighed in on some of the most common challenges (and joys!) of life in a police family.
(I got a huge response when I asked for volunteers to answer these interview questions, way more than I expected, so I’m thinking about making this a monthly thing. Let me know in the comments if you guys would like that!)
Pull up a chair, grab your coffee and get ready for some blue line bonding!
- What has been your biggest challenge as a police couple?
“The long hours coupled with the stress of trying to re acclimate when he actually is home. I have my way of doing things, and when you do things your way for 5 out of 7 days, it is hard to let go and let them ‘mess up’ your schedule!” LEOW
- Which was harder on your family life, day tour or night tour, and why?
“Night shift is way tougher! Its hard to find the balance when we hardly ever see each other and he is tired all the time. He gets really grouchy when he doesn’t sleep!” Amber (FL)
- How do you balance the demands of the job with home/family life?
“I do not expect much from him because I know duty comes before self. I make sure that everything is balanced around my schedule and then if by chance he is available to help with something then that is a bonus for me.” Sandy (NC)
- What’s the most important thing you do to keep your marriage strong?
“I believe it’s that we keep everything really real and really raw, and we try to only get mad at the situation(s), not each other. The situation will go away, we will not.” LEOW
- What is one thing that you miss in your relationship since becoming a police couple?
“I miss being able to make definite plans with people and having him with me for events. Whenever we get invited somewhere it’s always, ‘Can you go?’ It gets lonely going places without him and seeing everyone else with their spouse. I almost feel jealous of people sometimes. I know it’s not their fault, but it’s hard. Sinead (NY)
- What is one thing you love about being a police couple?
“I love that I am so incredibly proud of him, and his heart to serve others. He is truly a person I would want around if there was ever an emergency situation. I know that he would risk his life, in a heart beat to save another person. I love his bravery and confidence. He makes me better because of who he is. I admire his willingness to serve others.” Katie (AR)
- If you have dealt with infidelity relating to your spouse’s job, how did you work together to heal, or how did it affect your relationship long-term?
“We have dealt with it. It was really hard. We have tried to communicate better – that way we will be stronger. Also we have been working on being friends again. With the hustle and bustle of life we have forgotten how and when to be friends.” Heather (N.C.)
- Do you and your spouse talk openly about the good and bad parts of the job?
“Yes, I don’t ever want my husband to feel like he can’t talk to me about his job, even though I know sometimes he edits his stories so I don’t worry as much. The same goes for me with him, I don’t ever feel like I can’t speak to him about how his job affects me and our life together. He’s been really good about making sure I’m ok, or as ok as I can be. But there is that really fine line between knowing it’s ok to ask how his night was to knowing not to go there and he’ll talk when he is ready. So we stay as open as we can, with this in mind.” Jessica (NY)
- What is one thing about your spouse that has changed since he/she became a cop?
“His whole attitude. We both changed. The change in an officer, especially in the beginning, is huge! I never expected the personality change that happened. But what I found was that I changed too. I became so much more independent. I needed me as much as I needed us. I found myself while he found his calling and it made us so much stronger.” Courtney (St. Louis, MO)
- How do you describe your spouse’s job to your children?
“My 3.5 year old will say that ‘Daddy gets the bad guys.’ I try to focus more on that Daddy keeps people safe.” Erica (NY)
- If your children express fear about their parent’s job, what do you tell them?
“Tell them the truth. When one of them was 10 years old she asked me if her dad ever pulled a gun on someone. I told her yes. I informed my husband and they sat down and talked about it.” LEOW
- Has anyone ever made you feel afraid due to your spouse’s job?
“No one of my acquaintance has made me feel afraid. That said, the NEWS lately makes me quite nervous. It’s one thing to be in danger because you have a dangerous job, and another thing entirely to be targeted for assault or assassination because you have that job!” Jenny (NY)
- Have you noticed any change in the challenges of the job over the last 5 years?
“MOST DEFINITELY! Since the increased cop shootings – he is MUCH more alert/aware. The department has doubled up officers at times when high alert situations are going on. They try to always have backup even on more ‘minor’ calls. They just never know when someone or something could try to change their lives forever.” Misty (TX)
- Has anyone ever threatened your family due to your spouse’s job?
“A man threatened us through my husband and he actually did know where we lived. I kept a watchful eye and we made sure to tell our close neighbors that if they saw anything off to call us.” Anna (WA)
- If you work a job outside the home, how do you balance your own career and work responsibilities with your spouse’s job as an LEO?
“His career is his passion, and mine is my passion (nursing). There have been times when we have struggled with our careers conflicting and one of us has to give in. However, we discussed my career before I started school, I had his full blessing and support, and he has done everything in his power (including taking days off from work) to make sure that I was able to get myself up and rolling when it came to my job. Fortunately, we work opposite days/shifts. We also have the most amazing family who also live in our town, so if there is ever a job conflict, my parents can jump in and help. I respect his job very much and he respects mine. ” Veronica (NJ)
- Are you staunchly pro-“Thin Blue Line,” or do you ever find yourself understanding various civilian complaints/frustrations with the way difficult situations are handled?
“I am very much not solidly pro-TBL. It’s caused some heated debates, especially this round of elections. A lot of times, my husband and I discuss situations or different things to think about or ways to approach them. Most of the time he’s super receptive, and has actually said my opposing views help him be a better officer.” Dani (FL)
- Does your spouse contribute to child care and housework when he/she comes home?
“Yes, 100%. But if he has been doing a lot of overtime or had a bad week, I try to do more so that he doesn’t have to worry about it. And he respects my career in the same way. He picks up the slack if I am having a lot of work pressure.” Carrie (Canada)
- What is one thing you wish someone had told you when your spouse joined the police force?
“Everything will change. No joke. Everyone grows and changes as they get older but it is so much more drastic once you’ve seen the bad in the world up close. Be prepared to fight for each other. Fight to keep that love strong.” JoyAnne ( NJ)
- What helps you stay peaceful and strong in your marriage and family life?
“We love each other and are dedicated to spending our lives together. I needed time to accept our new normal in the beginning. I use to be so angry that he chose this career choice and changed our entire lives. However, he loves his job and truly would not want to do anything else. I am supporting his dreams and he has done the same for me. Our marriage and family life are not “typical” but my kids, husband, and I get to eat lunch together every day instead of dinner and while we might not relax before bed watching our favorite show we do DVR our show and watch it together during the day while the kids nap. We have found our new “normal” which makes for a much more peaceful life.” (NY)
- What is one encouragement you would like to share with fellow police spouses?
“Talk to your husband. They need you so much and open communication is the key to everything. Even if it just means sitting quietly with one another and holding hands. Being there for each other is so important to maintaining intimacy and a strong marriage.” Leah (Ohio)
Thank you so much to everyone who participated! It was so wonderful hearing from all you! If I didn’t use your replies today, keep your eye out for your name in a future interview post!
If you or someone you know would be interested in joining for this series, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Answers will be kept anonymous if you prefer.
Are your answers similar to these? Different? Share in the comments, darlings!