Letters from Mentors: Supporting Your Police Officer Husband

Mine is bottom right, taken a few years ago
About a month ago, I had a dream that my husband had already passed away, and that I was living day to day, imagining he was here for short time periods to talk or touch base with, but that in reality, he was gone from this world and I was all alone, handling everything on my own and just “make-believing” I had a partner to do life with.  I was so grateful when I woke up that it was just a dream!  And it hilariously (and horrifically) reminded me of those women a few years ago in the media who were so lonely, they started having romantic relationships with ghosts! LOL  But I can’t deny that it had an element of truth to it in that being a police wife can sometimes feel like being a “married single mom,” even when our husbands go above and beyond to be there for us and our children!
Supporting one’s husband is something I’ve written about before in a more general sense for any wife, here.   It can be extremely stressful being a Police Officer’s wife due to the particular circumstances that come with that career.  The difficult family-schedules, the missing out on birthdays, major holidays, and weekends and special days with family members can be hard on not just the wife, but also your children.  And the unique struggles a police family faces aren’t something I think a wife should navigate alone.  We need neighbors who we feel connected to, supportive family members who can help out when our husbands can’t be there, loving friends who understand our limitations with our husband’s odd schedule or rules, and mentors who can guide us when we have questions and fears about this life, and in emotionally navigating the ups and downs of the political environment saying police officers are the enemy.
Ame, from BlendingAme has been such a mentor and friend to me, giving me very cherished advice and encouragement.  This post is from an email she wrote to me months ago, (and repurposed so that it can be for any police wife reading this).
From Ame:
~ ❤ ~

“Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm 139:16

Before we took our first breath, every day of our life was ordained, written. There is no exception.
It is hard to remember that God has given each of us our own “Death Date,” and NOTHING we do or think or imagine will change that date. Our Death Date was set before the foundation of the world, so your life, your husband’s life, our children’s lives, everyone’s life – and every single day of our lives – were set before the foundation of the world.
Are there some who live lives with higher risk of death? Sure. Does that mean their Death Date will come too soon or unexpectedly to God who created every day of their lives? No. We cannot alter our Death Date.
The reality is … we all die. People die. At every age and for every reason imaginable. I know a man who works for his county’s Medical Examiner’s office, and he has seen just about every kind of death that is common and many that aren’t … at all ages … expected and unexpected. He has worked in this role for his large county for seven or eight years, and in all that time he knows of only one Police Officer’s death in the line of duty. Do officers of all agencies die in the line of duty? Sure. Is it unexpected to God? Never.
Your husband has chosen a very noble career as a Police Officer. It is who he is. He cannot change who God created him to be; neither can he change his Death Date by being and becoming that man. Asking him to choose between you and being a Police Officer is asking him to choose between who he is and who you want him to be, and what kind of choice is that? He would hate you because he’d hate himself, and you would hate him for caving in to you.
It is hard, sometimes, to accept our husbands and who they are, as they are. I remember a time when my husband and I had a conversation, and to do something that would obviously be beneficial to him, he flat out said to me, “I will not do that.” There is nothing I can do but to accept it, let it go,  and still choose to respect and honor him. His life is in God’s hands, not mine … not even his.
I have a friend whose husband works in a very high-security position with a good amount of stress. Although she has a good degree and had a good career before having children, they decided she would become a stay-at-home-mom when they had their first baby. So, she quit her job and her career when their first baby was born many years ago, and she hasn’t gone back. He is the first one to tell you that the reason he successfully do all that he does in his job is because she takes care of everything at home.
Your husband has that kind of job that demands an enormous amount from him. It demands everything from him. It forms who he is as much as who he is was made for this job. In that kind of situation, it’s like God is the CEO, and you are both Exec VP’s over the two divisions of your corporation: he runs everything outside the home; you run everything inside the home. He being the Senior Exec VP is the one you will always report to; never the other way around.
Do not focus on those whose husbands are home more than yours. Do not focus on those whose husbands do more outside of their job/career/profession than yours. Focus only on your husband. Focus only on who God created you to be and become and where He has placed you.
The risk of death is always there. For all of us. No one is guaranteed tomorrow. No one. It’s shocking to me how little it takes for someone to die … and also how resilient people are. Seemingly benign things take people into the next life all the time, and yet humanity has survived vicious wars, plagues, illnesses, and poverty since the beginning of time.
My first husband traveled extensively, and in the early years of our marriage I would worry myself sick. I desperately needed to hear his voice to know his plane made it, he didn’t have a wreck of any kind on the way, or nothing else freaky happened to him.
Finally one day I just got it. I got that God’s got all this, and my worrying about it would not change a thing. Either he would come home, or someone would knock on my door. And not a moment of worry would change that. 
My late Mentor taught me many things, one of which was to only live things once as I experience them in reality. When I worry, I let my imagination go wild and create all these possible scenarios. When I do that I live through things that aren’t even real yet affect my whole being. 
When you live wondering all the time about if or when Patrick will die in the line of duty, you are doing two things. One, you are living an imaginative experience that is not reality and yet is depleting you as though it is reality. And two, you are living his future death (which is guaranteed, by the way, unless Jesus comes back first 😉 ) over and over and over ad nauseam. That does NO one any good, especially you and your children and your marriage. 
Have a plan in place written down that is easily accessible. Review it once a year with your husband, and then force yourself to forget about it. You are prepared for “what if.” If you spend your time worrying about “what if,” you are taking away time and energy and emotion from yourself, your husband who is alive right now, your children, and what God wants you to do right now, today.  Don’t do that anymore. You only need to live through your husband’s death once – whether you’re on this side of eternity or the next when he passes through to the other side. 
I hope her words bless you like it did me.  It’s hard to trust God with the outcome of our husband’s being in danger, and managing the home-front mostly on our own.  But even in the midst of struggle to find balance or fighting off feelings of guilt that we’re not doing “enough” like other families are able to, I’ve found that the joy and love in even a circumstantially-stressful marriage can far outweigh the trials or hardships one goes through.
I hope any police wife out there reading this knows you are not alone ❤ !
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  1. Being on “the other side”, I can’t stress enough just how much support from your wife really means, and can effect your safety at work. I have had both a lot of support from my spouse at the beginning, as well as blatant attempts at hurting my work-life. The job is hard enough, but when someone is purposefully trying to make things bad for you, it could cost you your life.

    God bless you Steph, for being a supportive spouse.

  2. FML, yes, that is very true. I know I can’t actually prevent anything from happening, but even my own mom was saying that the other day – that accidents can happen when the husband isn’t supported emotionally/mentally/physically/spiritually.

    You said it so perfectly with this:
    “The job is hard enough, but when someone is purposefully trying to make things bad for you, it could cost you your life.”

    Yes. On the job being dangerous enough – we just took dinner to a family of an officer (who works with mine) and was hit by a car while working traffic at night, suffered head injuries and leg injuries 😥

  3. Being distracted at work because of some nonsensical drama at home, can get someone injured or killed. Spouses really need to understand that their BS can have serious consequences.

  4. from what i’ve heard and read … an unsupportive wife wreaks havoc in her husband’s life regardless of his career choice, but a supportive, gentle, loving, generous wife is like a SuperPower! she can pour life and confidence into her husband.

    it is challenging to be always ‘up’ and always supportive over many years, but it never looses it’s power to be such.

    i think it is helpful for willing wives … (belligerent, bitter women are generally unresponsive to positive feedback/encouragement) … when their husbands affirm what they do that is helpful for them … when their husbands give them feedback on what they like and what they don’t like about anything and everything.

    my first husband could have saved tons of stress in our marriage if he would have told me specifically what he liked and didn’t like about a plethora of things rather than just being reactively angry. i got the anger, i just never knew why he was angry or what to change. so i would change things to try to figure out the anger. it was frustrating.

    my second husband will tell me when he’s angry with me. it’s not often, but he will let me know. he’ll also tell me when he doesn’t like something. whew! makes it so much easier than a guessing game. and, he also tells me the things he likes and the things that are beneficial to him.

    one thing i love to do is send him encouraging emails at work. he loves it. but … also … if anyone’s monitoring personal emails at work, i give them wonderful things to read about my husband 🙂 🙂 🙂

  5. Yes, and it’s weird how even though we’ve been married for years, things like this are still a good reminder. It’s VERY easy to give way to fear for me, especially when friends end up in the hospital. It could happen regardless, but it’s a good refresher to 1) trust God and 2) renew all efforts to make sure I’m supporting him enough in the ways he needs.

  6. i imagine it would be very stressful for him to see fear in your eyes every time he left for work … and/or hear it in your voice.

  7. My Ex went and contacted several of my employee’s spouses, and tried to sell them Longaberger baskets. When I told her that created an ethics issue for me, she called me a liar and refused to stop doing it.

    It wasn’t until she mentioned it to one of her friends who had been a .gov employee, and who told my Ex that it could get me fired, did she finally stop doing that.

    And she never apologized for what she did, or for putting me in that position.

  8. I don’t see the fear or worry she is very good at making sure I leave in a good mood daily even though I know there is worry there.

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