There are many demanding career fields, but few are as tough on a marriage as law enforcement. Police officers and their spouses deal with long hours, stressful situations, and busy schedules – but this doesn’t mean your marriage has to suffer.
5 Tips for a Happy Police Marriage
“Being married to a police officer is totally different from being married to an average Joe,” police wife Lisa Wilson says. “It is a responsibility, a burden, an honor and a blessing. It is often thankless and throws up many challenges. But it also has its rewards. I often think that it is we who are in the police force, not just him.”
Perhaps these words resonate with you. While you might not be the one out there cruising around in a patrol car, you are involved. You deal with ups and downs, fight through stress, and feel the time crunch of a demanding schedule.
In the midst of all of this, there are some things you can do to make sure your marriage is thriving, not merely surviving. Take a look:
Your spouse doesn’t get nearly the amouardnt of appreciation they should. Most of the time, being a police officer is a pretty thankless job. You can do your part to ensure they feel appreciated.
For example, consider giving your spouse a gift when they graduate from the police academy. “What gift can amply convey your admiration for the new police academy graduate? Gift cards, money, a weekend getaway; all these gestures are fine,” DIY Awards points out. “But why not invest in something a little more personal, and something a little more memorable?” This might look like a plaque or handwritten note.
Another time to show appreciation would be when your spouse gets off a double shift. Even if you’re asleep when they get home, having a meal ready in the refrigerator is a nice touch that shows you’re thinking about them.
One of the more challenging aspects of being a police officer – and being married to one – is the fear over the risks that come with the job. Instead of brushing these fears under the rug and pretending they don’t exist, openly discuss them. This will help you process your fears, while also making your spouse feel like they don’t have to shelter you from everything.
It’s not always easy to accommodate the duties and responsibilities that your police officer spouse has. Even when they’re technically off duty, they’re still on duty. All it takes is one phone call and they may have to respond to an incident.
While it’s not fun to have a spouse who has to leave in the middle of dinner or cancel plans at the last minute, you can teach yourself (and your kids) to be more flexible and understanding. As a result, these sudden surprises will be less jarring.
Connect Every Day
You may not spend a bunch of time with your spouse on days where they work long shifts, but you must make it a point to connect at least once every day.
In order to truly connect, you need to do more than just send a brief text message or steal a quick kiss on the way out the door. Connecting means having an intentional conversation where you see how each other are doing. Ask questions, listen, and get on the same page.
Talk About Other Things
Because a police officer spends so much time on the job and thinking about the job, it’s easy for it to become all consuming. In order to help your marriage, try not to talk about police work when you’re at home. By forcing the conversation to center on other things – such as kids, hobbies, friends, sports, etc. – you give your spouse space to feel normal.
Don’t Lose Sight of What Matters
As much as your spouse may feel connected to their job as a law enforcement officer, it’s imperative that you both understand it’s just a job. No job – even an admirable one – is more important than your marriage. Remain focused on your relationship, above all else, and you’ll be happier and healthier over the long run.