This was a beautiful post I found from Melissa Littles, one of my favorite bloggers and author of Bullets in the Washing Machine.
She can be found at The Police Wife Life:
I’ll address those lingering in the “offended by everything” category of 2015 first: The acknowledgment of one is not the equivalent of diminishing another.
Talking about what makes police families stronger is in no way suggesting any other type of marriage or relationship is “weaker.” I’m simply discussing some commonalities amongst many LEO families which make the bond of togetherness uniquely special.
1) We learn early on that compromise without resentment is fundamental.
Officers are sworn to answer the call. They do not have the luxury of handpicking their duties. All LEO relationships encounter the end-of-shift call, and those middle of the night call-outs. Those calls (which extend an LEO’s regular service hours) typically come on days most inconvenient for the family — your daughter’s recital, an anniversary dinner date, your son’s basketball tournament, etc.
LEO families must learn to assign frustration where it belongs — outside the marriage and not within the control of the LEO. Tossing around blame and resentment for the uncontrollable soon becomes a moot point in the marriage. Rolling with the punches and approaching marriage as a joint effort with mutual respect leads to LEO couples that can withstand any hurdle LEO life sends their way.
2) We don’t keep score.
Marriage, life, raising children, jobs, self-fulfillment — it all takes constant effort. In LEO marriages there will be times when an LEO spouse will be responsible for much of the daily life tasks. Getting kids to school, the doctor, sporting events, handling finances and household duties — you may be on your own. This happens when an LEO is assigned a special detail which requires more hours, or when extra jobs or overtime is needed to make ends meet. It happens when manpower is short and shifts are long.
We have a saying in our home — “Dad may not be here as much as we would like, but when he is here, he’s ALL here.” He gives his all whenever he’s here to give it. He gives his all to his community when he’s not able to be here. He’s in no way choosing his duty over his family. He’s giving his all in every aspect of his life.
In an LEO marriage you learn quickly that the “my day was worse than your day” game is pointless. We learn to look at the entire big picture of our lives, as a team, and not as two individuals with a “who’s a better spouse” chart. If you are each giving all you have available to each other and to your marriage as a whole, there’s no need for points.
3) We know that little efforts carry the equivalent of substantial memories.
LEO families have the unique opportunity to make memories out of moments. Those moments turn out to be some of the memories that last a lifetime — dinners at midnight in parking lots, drive-by visits at gas stations, loading up the kids to take drinks or donuts to mom/dad and their shift buddies. We have many a memory of dad rolling by on his break so we can pass him an order of fries out the window. LEO families really understand that those small moments can make a big difference.
4) We know that family time means SO much.
Just as those little moments mean so much, I’ve never seen a child smile like our son when we tell him, “Dad is off for ten days, and we’re going on vacation.”
LEO families make the most of true together-time, because the daily together-time is always full of compromise and last minute changes. When the opportunity arises for a good stretch of togetherness, we make the most of it.
5) We forgive quickly, let go of grudges, and don’t sweat the small stuff.
Don’t think there’s not a bunch of hot-headed LEOWs and LEOs out there trying to make it work at home. All this “Loved Deeper, Spoke Sweeter, Tim McGraw diatribe” is not a suggestion that there are not conflicts like every other marriage; however, when you’ve dedicated yourselves to working as a team for the good of the big picture, there’s no point in harboring negativity toward one another.
We learn quickly that anger won’t change the meth heads and drunks and criminal minds that keep our lives on the ups and downs like a roller coaster. We can yell and fight, or we can commit to loving and respecting one another and venting our frustrations without being hurtful.
6) We take immense pride in our blue family, and we are fiercely loyal.
Nothing is deeper than our love of the blue family — the pride we take in honoring our heroes, the lengths we will go to help another LEO family, and the sacrifice an LEO family will make for another. An LEO will give his life for his brother/sister in blue.
An LEO’s widow will comfort a blue family during their darkest hours and a blue family will stand beside the loved ones of the fallen…forever. There is nothing deeper than the loyalty of those who truly live with blue blood.
7) We know tomorrow isn’t guaranteed.
The LEO marriages that are most successful are those that live each day to the fullest. We do not live in constant fear that today might be the last day we have together. We live each day with no regrets, no “I love you’s” unspoken, no “I’m sorry’s” lingering in the air, no “I wish I would have’s” at the end of the day. Fear of loss does not inspire us. Appreciation for the day we have been given empowers us to make the most of each moment.
8) We love deeper.
Not because every shift could be the last, but because each day we love the most is another day of memories that will never be lost.