Shoring up your foundation to hold a heavy load

Author: Carolyn Whiting
Author’s Email Address: bc@gmail.com
Author’s Agency or Organization: Retired  Town of Greenburgh NY Police Department
Author or Author Agency’s Web site: facebook:  The Crazy Lives of Police Wives

As a former police officer and a police wife I have seen my marriage from both sides.   Working with “the guys” has given me a perspective from a police officer’s point of view.  Knowing many police wives and being one has given me a perspective from the wife’s point of view.  Can the two meet somewhere in the middle?  Yes!  

As a police officer, you probably are not used to wearing your heart on your sleeve or “sharing your feelings.”  It’s not “manly” and it’s not something police officers do.  Women on the other hand, often love to talk, talk, talk and then talk some more about their feelings.  How do you satisfy your wife’s need to talk about your feelings from work and your natural instinct to “buck up” and “shrug it off”?  And does it really matter if you don’t talk with your wife about the job.  Yes it matters!   There is only so much “shrugging it off” before you become overwhelmed and cracks may appear in many aspects of your life, including your marriage.  Like a house, if your foundation is not strong, you won’t hold up to a heavy load.

Many cops I used to work with have told me how lucky my husband is to have a wife who understands the job, a wife he can share all details of the job with.   One need not have been a cop to be a willing and understanding sounding board.  Develop the habit of sharing details about your day, on and off duty, from the start of your relationship.  If you are already several or more years into your relationship, begin a new chapter today.   Pick a time to set aside for talking about your day.  Perhaps it’s over a walk around the block or a beer or an iced tea when you each get home from work.  Perhaps it’s a half hour of no television after the kids are in bed, or a daily breakfast coffee date. The time may vary with your work schedule but what matters most is that you make a commitment to set time aside each day, making this time your priority.  Start the process slowly, getting each of you used to talking about your day.  Perhaps an officer can start by discussing the latest home project, a workout at the gym or the day’s fishing trip. The conversation does not need to be fraught with meaning, the important thing is to start a habit of sharing the big and small events of your day. Take some time to explain what each division in your department does, how they intertwine, who you work with and their individual quirks and family situations, the various laws you deal with on a regular basis and anything else that you think will better help your spouse to understand your job.   On work days, if your spouse is not used to hearing the gritty details of the job, start with the simple calls and in a few weeks, work up to the hard calls you have been on.    Trust that your spouse is capable of hearing the worst and you will survive the long haul of the job better, now that you have a healthy release for your stress.  You will grow closer to your spouse as your spouse becomes the person you know you can count on to listen and support you on the good days but more importantly, on the really hard days. Your foundation will be strong enough to hold a heavy load.  You will become “that guy”, the guy other guys envy, the guy who can relax and share every aspect of his life with his wife.



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Recommended Resources:
The Crazy Lives of Police Wives to gain a perspective on how your job impacts your marriage and your wife from your wife’s viewpoint.

Resources Web site(s)

Author’s Biography:
I began my career with the Town of Greenwich Connecticut Police Department and left after a brief time to join the Town of Greenburgh NY Police Department.  Unfortunately, I injured my back while lifting a stretcher after approximately six years and retired. I had wanted to be a Police Officer since I was a young child and retiring after such a short time was not something I was happy about.  I met my husband while both of us were working for the Town of Greenburgh Police Department, where he is still working and we have been happily married for over twenty five years.  I am the co-author of The Crazy Lives of Police Wives, a book by and for Police Wives.

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