When I started Type A Style, I knew at some point I would share a glimpse into my life as a police wife. While it is not glamorous, it is REAL and is a HUGE part of our lives.
Growing up, I knew a little of what this job entailed. My grandfather has been in law enforcement since my mother was born, so it was a lifestyle I was somewhat familiar with. Just as every police officer, he has experienced some sort of hardship, and our family was right there by his side- through multiple life-threatening accidents, difficult calls, rescheduled holidays, and changing of agencies. It wasn’t until I married into the lifestyle that I found out the intimate details of this job.
I never expected to marry into law enforcement. I knew I would be heading into a much different career field, and assumed I would find my spouse within that. But I began dating 109 long before he became 109. He would always talk about his dreams of being a police officer, but I fell in love with him several years before he became one. I must say, it was NOT an easy transition when he first started. In fact, it was during this time that we experienced the deepest valleys of our lives. But with immense love and faith, we were able to learn and adapt. And we are still learning as we go, thanks to the support of each other, our friends, and family.
So before I get into my wifely tips, I must first brag on my husband. His salt-of-the earth spirit does not like to be in the spotlight, but I cannot help but praise his accomplishments and character. He is such a tremendous man of God and through all hardships, he has remained faithful: to God, our marriage, and his community. It is truly amazing his willingness to sacrifice. Tattooed on his chest over his heart is the scripture Isaiah 6:8 “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’ “ That could not be any more reflective of his dedicated loyalty. And while that does not help my anxiety and fear, it is what makes me the most proud of him. Because it is what the Lord has hand-picked him for, and I have peace in knowing he is doing God’s work.
Just as I have learned the 10-codes over the years, I have also learned 10 things as a wife of a law enforcement officer. And I am here to share them with you.
1. Burris Party of 1
There have been plenty of times (especially when 109 was working night shift) that we were invited to events, dinner, etc. with friends and family that he was unable to attend because of his work schedule. And instead of staying at home all alone and sulking in my loneliness, I choose to say YES. I would definitely consider us as one of those couples who are always together, but for the sake of my sanity and our outside relationships, I try my best to continue to make plans while 109 works.
2. Sharing is Caring: Communication
We all know that the key to to any successful marriage is communication. But what is unique to a law enforcement marriage is we sometimes have to be okay with lack of communication. Often times, 109 does not disclose the details of his day. While I always ask how work was, I know he only discloses the information I can handle, as I am sure that I probably don’t want to know most details. That being said, there are sometimes when he doesn’t want to talk at all. And while it seems offensive, because I would disclose anything to him, it is how his mind processes his interactions. Working from home definitely makes this difficult. While I am home with our little fur baby all day with little human interaction, he is out dealing with it all. And I’ve been waiting all day to smother him with love, cuddles, and conversation the minute he walks through that door, so I often forget that he needs some time to decompress. And that is important- time to decompress. He needs time to let his mind and body heal from the battles he’s been fighting all day/night. It took me some time to realize that was not a reflection of his adoration of me, but as a coping mechanism from his long day. And I must admit, I still find myself feeling unloved when this happens, but I am reminded of his never-ending love for our family, and that he just needs some mental rest.
3. Taking the Back Seat- Sacrificing Selfishness
This life is not for the weak. And it is not for the selfish either. I grew up an ambitious, independent girl with high self-esteem and selfish tendencies. Never did I imagine I would vow to submit to being second. While I am still the self-determined, controlling girl I once was, I now think of myself second to my husband. There are times when 109 needs me to listen and not speak, a warm home-cooked meal, a motivational speech to push forward, and even a shoulder to cry on. It is times like these where your role as a police wife is crucial. Sometimes, I have big, exciting news, had a hard day at work myself, or need some reassurance, but I have to sacrifice my needs and affirmation at that moment and be the wife he needs, and just wait to tell him about my day later. Because I know he supports me to no end and would do anything for me, I just need to wait for the right time in his day to disclose about mine. This is also applicable with arguments and disputes. 109 and I are definitely not perfect, nor do we try and portray that we are. And us being the hard-headed, stubborn individuals that we are, we fight and argue. And while I sometimes want to prove my point, pout, or tell him what he did wrong, I ALWAYS make sure we do not leave angry and resolve any issues before his shift starts. And sometimes that means putting my wants and needs aside and making sure 109 starts a shift on with a clear, level head.
4. Do You: Self-Care, Hobbies and Such
It is important as a wife to have your own outlet. You too are apart of this job, and while you may not put on the Kevlar everyday, you definitely put on the emotional armor to have your husband’s 6. This is a huge reason why I started Type A Style. I needed an emotional outlet to devote my time so I could release my stress, and of course, as a creative avenue as well. My suggestion- find something creative to do. Take on a hobby you’ve always wanted to pursue. You spend so much time devoted to your husband, take some time for yourself. Plus, this will help distract you from the constant fear and worry, all while giving you a sense of purpose that is often undermined to your husband’s duties.
5. Police Life Takeover
While my husband only works 0600-1600 (6AM-4PM), he is on duty 24/7. You never stop being the police, even when you’re off. But it is important for him to separate work from personal life. I asked 109 what his number one advice would be to a husband in this line of work, and his response was this: do not let it take over your life. Leave work at work! We get it- this job is DEFINITELY more than just a job- it’s a lifestyle. But it is so important to take a step back and enjoy what is important- family, friends, and self-care. There is a fine balance between being a dedicated officer and having a normal life. While this life is never normal, it is important to make it as much as possible. Do not let the job overtake your marriage, friendships, and personal care.
6. The Good with the Bad
It is guaranteed this job will bring some sort of hardship. One minute, he can be working a simple fender-bender and the next minute he can be sent to a guns-blazin’ domestic. Unfortunately, it is the territory this job comes with. And with that comes some emotional baggage. In the short 5 years my husband has been a police officer, he has encountered some very difficult situations, and we have had to learn how to deal with those past events here in the future. You know your husband better than anyone. You know when it is appropriate to let him be, when he needs to be pushed, and when to ask for help. Do not be afraid to rely on others to help you both through this time. Some men, especially in this career field, are afraid to let down their pride and ask for help. Be sure to be aware of these signs and with a gentle touch, jump in when needed.
Understand the severity of this life. This shit is real, y’all. Unfortunately, we live in a dangerous world and need heroes like our husbands to clean it all up. What gets me through the fear of the danger is understanding the good he is doing through the bad he encounters.
7. Bulletproof Relationships: Friends & Family
109 and I both take our friendships and relationship with family seriously. We love hard, and enjoy time with our loved ones. We are both immensely blessed with loving families that are excessively supportive. All that we are is because of them, and we are so grateful. We also have some pretty awesome friends as well! What is great about this job is the Blue Family you adopt through this career. These people get it- and it is great to be able to cut up and enjoy life with others who are going through similar situations as you. In fact, 109 has some amazing coworkers that I am blessed to call friends of my ownl!
It is VERY important to have friends inside and outside of this field. Your husband needs time away from the police talk and cop stories. Sometimes, he just wants to feel “normal”, and being around others outside of law enforcement helps that. We are beyond blessed with the immense support we have received from our non-police friends when dealing with crappy police situations. In fact, our relationship with our non-police friends who GET IT are some of the best friendships we have. While they may not fully apprehend, they are beyond supportive and understanding, and we are seriously so grateful. Most of these relationships we had BEFORE the police life, so the fact that they stuck around through the transition says so much. And while some friendships have faded over time, the uniqueness of this job has shown us the meaning of true friendship. Because in the end, all that matters is love
Just like going to events solo, it is important to be flexible in this job. There are going to be times when you have dinner plans, dates with friends, or a weekend trip out of town planned and an extended shift or call-out will ruin that. It is important to not take these changes to heart and learn to adjust. And this is coming from the biggest planner you’ll ever meet! But nothing is ever 100% in this job, so you must approach it in that way. I make sure to be flexible in our plans as much as possible to accommodate his shifts. Whether that means eating an early dinner, meeting up for ice cream, or driving places separately, as long as we get to spend time together, I am good!
9. Faith over Fear
My number one advice out of everything is have faith. Surrender to God all your fears and worries. They will creep up on you at times when you are alone and you’ll feel like you are locked into a whirlwind of worry that you can’t break. But let go; and let God. There are times when my stress and anxiety will overwhelm me and I will think of the absolute worst, but it is then that I pray to God for peace. Because without Him, I am unable to function normally. He washes all worries away and helps me to cope with daily life when my husband deals with the most dangerous. While he works in the same town that we live, I often have no clue what 109 gets into everyday until he comes home and talks about it. With all that uncertainty, your mind can wander. And that allows the enemy to attack. Don’t let the enemy win, as Christ’s love and serenity is more powerful than the danger your husband encounters.
10. Pray Often
While 109 is at work, I am often home alone. And with that alone time, I pray often. I pray for his safety- that he will return home safely and securely. I pray for those affected by the situations he is called to- that they may find peace in the Lord through their struggles and understand that 109 and his fellow officers are only there to help. I pray for all the other officers and coworkers at his department, as well as officers nationwide- that they may too return home safely to their loved ones. I pray for those police families who have lost their loved ones- that they may find peace in knowing their officer was doing the Lord’s work and know that they will always have a guardian angel watching over them, as well as an entire Blue community who have their back. I pray for our community- that they will support the police and understand the sacrifice they make every day. And I pray for our future children- that they may understand the good work their daddy has done and learn to respect authority and those who serve.
This has been REAL- really hard, really fun, really stressful, really emotional, but I am so happy to just be REAL with MY 109.
Be strong and courageous: Do not by discouraged or dismayed. For the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:09