HOW IS IT BEING MARRIED TO A COP??? Last week a man at church asked me how it was being married to a cop. He wondered how I was handling the thoughts of danger in life as a LEO wife, especially after the events that happened in the past year to make police officers not the most popular people. I immediately knew my answer but had to think about how to put it into words for someone who can’t understand the life from my perspective.
First, I thanked him for his concern and support of my husband. I admitted that it is becoming a different world for police and their families but then went on to explain something to him that brings me peace. When we lived up north and my husband worked in the small town we lived in, he would often be on the road by himself. One officer for the entire town of 1500 plus 1 or 2 deputies working for the County meant if he needed backup it could take a long time to get support. Now, living in Green Bay, he is, of course, never alone. Whether staffing is at minimum or there are a full number of officers on the road, I personally know that his backup is never that far away. In fact, I know that the specific group of people he works with have been together for years now and can tell by the slightest change in tone of voice over the radio just how fast they need to go to get there to back up my husband. Most times he doesn’t even have to specifically call for backup. They just keep an eye and ear out for each other and know what type of calls warrant extra support and which ones are likely to be able to be handled alone. He has told me how he has driven past other officers just to make sure everything is good and to be close by just in case things would go bad. Just knowing that this is how they operate makes me know that he is not in this alone and in turn I can be at home with my family knowing he has the best of the best watching out for him. They have gotten to know each other. They are brothers and sisters in blue and they are there for each other. I am able to go on with my day knowing that my husband is in good hands, and he is one of the good hands helping keep his LEO brothers and sisters safe. That is one of the reasons I can kiss him goodbye with peace in my heart. His job is dangerous, but when danger comes and the fight is on, he is not out there alone.
That is the answer I gave when talking to that man at church, but I want to also share that getting to that point in my life did not happen overnight just because we moved to a bigger department. It definitely took time…a lot of time. It wouldn’t have mattered where we lived when my husband began his job in law enforcement. It is a scary world we live in. There are still days that I fear for him and when I see things on the news like the happenings in Ferguson I do feel some fear in the pit of my stomach. We get a little bit more on edge and hug a little tighter before he walks out the door. I sigh a little bit deeper in relief when he walks through the door at night after a shift. But I am to the point in my life as a LEOW that I had to give up my fears to a higher source. The first several years of life as a law enforcement wife were some of the scariest I have ever lived and he wasn’t even on the road for all of those. Looking back I think part of it was that our kids were younger at the time and being home alone a lot with two young kids, especially at night, brought thoughts of fear and anxiousness at even the little things. Strange noises, having to go into the dark basement or outside all alone, voices of people outside that seemed closer than normal all brought on fears like they would for some other people. But I began to think about all of the things that “could happen”. What if I’m home alone and there’s a fire and I can’t get both kids out by myself? What if I fall and get hurt and nobody is around to find me and help me but the boys? What if I let him and one of the boys go somewhere and they get into a car accident and I’m left to live life alone? Somehow I thought that being with him could prevent the bad things from happening. Being a young mom and new to the law enforcement world brought on fears and I was letting those fears take hold and affect how I lived my life. I realized some of them were possibilities, like the getting out of a fire, so I ran scenarios through my head and tried to prepare myself as best I could. I did things to protect my family but it was those irrational fears that were getting to be too much. That’s when I started to pray for the Lord to just take them away. I couldn’t live in fear. I knew if I was going to make it as a LEOW I was going to have to get over those fears or they were going to make me go crazy!
I prayed and over time things slowly got easier. They boys got older, my husband showed me how to make safe choices that every LEO family should learn, but most of all I prayed. I prayed for peace. I prayed for my husband’s safety. I prayed for OUR safety. I prayed for wisdom. But most of all I prayed for God to calm my fears. I will never forget the night that I finally realized all of those years of praying had helped. I needed something out of the basement so I went down and found it and after returning to the main floor it hit me…I never thought twice about going downstairs, even late at night in the dark. The fear didn’t consume me any longer. My prayers had finally been answered. It had taken SEVEN long years, but my fears were finally gone. In those years I had learned many things to do to help keep our family safe, ways to prepare for emergencies like fires or tornadoes, and most especially not to worry about things that I never had control over anyway! From that night forward I was a new woman.
So, back to the beginning question… How is it being married to a cop? Well, it definitely isn’t easy but I can say that over time it gets easier. Fears that come naturally, fade as you learn ways to be smart and protect yourself and your family. News stories happen and emotions rise but they also fade and you learn from whatever it was that happened in the world to make those fears try to creep back into your mind. You find friends and people to help you talk through the hard times and you above all, always remember that no matter how hard you try to plan, YOU ultimately aren’t in control. I can’t stop the criminals from doing bad things. I can’t stop car accidents from happening. The only thing I can do is remember that God is in control and HE knows so much more than I do. Living a life of fear is no way to live, in fact it is miserable. Even though we now live in a city with more criminals and more crime, I know that we need good men and women out there on the side of the “good guys” and that is what my husband was born to do so I can either ask him to stop doing what God intended him to do or roll with the punches and learn to give up my fears. I can tell you that the second option is working so much better than the first and I am honored to live with my officer through the good days and the ones that scare me half to death. Fears still come but now I learn from them and move on because usually along with those scary days come some totally amazing days that make it all worth it. So, how is it being married to a cop??? It is an HONOR and I wouldn’t have it any other way!