Yes, I promise, you are meant for this. I know more than a handful of you are questioning this right now. You’re wondering if you’re cut out for the police wife life and the unique challenges it presents. Believe me, I get it. I’m closing in on twenty-three years of being married to an officer, and this year has been the most difficult by far. We remember the days when police were honored as heroes after 9/11. We’ve been through rough times when anti-police sentiments ran high, but never has it been as bad as it is now. It’s amplified by the non-stop onslaught of news and social media, and the noise can be deafening.
If you’re newly married, or your spouse is relatively new to the job, this is probably an especially hard time for you. You might feel scared, nervous, anxious, or any number of other emotions. Every feeling is heightened and magnified, leaving you tense, exhausted, and on edge. You may feel alone, unsure of who you can trust and where you can turn for support. You could well be thinking of asking your husband to find another career. And yes, you may be wondering why you were chosen to be put in this position.
Make no mistake, you were chosen to be a police officer’s wife. Fate, destiny, kismet, divine intervention, serendipity… you can all it by any name you’d like. The fact remains that just as your husband was called to protect and serve, you were called to walk that journey alongside him. Is that your sole purpose and identity? Of course not. But it is an integral piece of who you are, and who you are meant to be. Sure, you and your spouse met and fell in love, but know that he saw something inside of you and recognized that you were the woman who could handle all that comes along with marrying an officer. Yes, you are meant for this. And here’s how I know…
You are meant for this because you are patient. You understand and accept that there are no set hours for police work. There will be dinners that go cold. There will be baseball games and school plays that are missed. There will be happy hours or dinners out with friends that will need to be rescheduled. There will be texts telling you he’ll be home soon, when “soon” can be anywhere from thirty minutes to three hours.
You are meant for this because you are flexible. You know that holidays are rarely celebrated on the actual date. You schedule parties around weekend shifts. You plan vacations during non-peak months. You are okay with “date night” being lunch on a Tuesday afternoon. You recognize that his employer doesn’t necessarily care that it’s your birthday. You learn that it’s the time finally spent together that matters so much more than the date on the calendar.
You are meant for this because you are intuitive. You can feel it, that intuition, and you listen when it tells you who is safe to let into your circle. You have an innate ability to read your spouse. As he comes home at the end of a long shift, you can sense when he needs company and when he needs some time alone to decompress. Even if he doesn’t bring the job home, you know when it’s been a rough day. You know, just by looking at his face, when he’s seen things and faced monsters that no one should have to face. You can tell at a glance when he’s confronted evil in its purest form. You understand that he will see far more depravity and death than a man should see. You know when he needs to talk about it, and you know when he won’t because he doesn’t want to transfer that burden to you.
You are meant for this because you are his greatest champion. You are by his side and in his corner. You know that he is not just a “good cop”. You know that he is an extraordinary man who is wiling to put his own life on the line to save a complete stranger. You see him for both the human and the hero that he is, and you take it to heart when people say negative things about the police. It’s personal. It can’t not be personal. So you defend the defender. You protect the protector. You stand up and tell the world that this man is yours, and you could not be more proud of him and his profession.
You are meant for this because you are strong. Does that mean you have to be perfect and infallible? No. Will your emotions get the better of you at times? Will it all seem like too much sometimes? Yes. You may struggle as you realize that people who you thought were on your side are not as they appear. You will be hurt and offended by comments you see on news sites and on social media. You will be frustrated in your attempts to make people understand that no one hates “bad cops” more than officers and their families. You may curse. You may scream. You make cry. You may do all three at the same time. Being strong isn’t about being stone-faced and stoic. You are resilient and courageous. You may get knocked down, but you don’t stay down. You rise up to face another day. Strength comes in continuing on, even in the face of adversity such as that which law enforcement families face today.
To my fellow police wives, I leave you with this… You are not alone. You are seen, and you are heard. You are enough. You are supported and loved. And yes… you are meant for this.
(Note to my non-law enforcement friends, guests, and readers- This post is an outreach to show support for those in a common, unique, and at times difficult situation. It is in no way, shape, or form a political statement. To those of you who support us, know that we need you, thank you, and appreciate you.)