*This post is based off my own experience and opinion*
My husband and I are the best communicators. We always make time for one another and because of his career in law enforcement our schedules are usually WIDE open. He has the best schedule, honestly. It is one of the reasons I love being a police couple.
SAID NO POLICE WIFE. EVER!
Okay, let’s get real here. Relationships require a lot of work, no matter what careers you and your spouse have. But law enforcement marriages are rather unique. Police couples deal with challenging schedules including shift work, which means the stars have to align almost perfectly for us to see our husbands on a regular basis. When we do have time together, we are forced to fit a weeks worth of activities or events into one day or small amount of time. Household chores, grocery shopping, seeing immediate or extended family; little time is left for us to really focus on our marriage or relationship.
I won’t lie- it can be hard and frustrating.
We aren’t alone, either. Many police couples seem to face these same obstacles. We usually all need support for one of these problems at least some point in our marriage. So let’s dive in.
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The most common obstacles that police couples must overcome & ways to fix them:
When it seems like you and your spouse are ships in the night, when can you really find the time to communicate effectively? Emotions are high or low after your officer works his shift and usually you feel stressed or just drained. So communication about your marriage and family may be the last thing on your mind. This is true for so many police couples.
How to solve this problem: Check in each day.
Talk with your officer about finding 5 minutes each day to talk with you about family, your marriage, household duties, whatever it may be. This could be morning (or evening); whichever is easier for the two of you to check in. Make it a point to check in each and every day with one another and talk about what each of you need out of the day. I learned about this technique from Corie Weathers at the Empowered Spouses Retreat with the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation.
If you make each other aware of what you need, emotionally or physically, then you can work as a team to get that accomplished. Maybe you need help around the house or you just miss your spouse- share those things. So many times I assume my spouse knows how I am feeling or should know how I am feeling, but this is not the case. They are not mind readers.
This is preferably done in person, but if you need to leave a note, or talk via phone, do it.
Just like with communication, finding time to even be together on a consistent basis can be hard. My husband and I feel like we always have so many others obligations that it can be difficult to schedule. Your husband works holidays and weekends and you are forced to do a lot alone.
How to solve this problem: Set aside one time a week to meet and schedule as a couple.
If you and your spouse can make time to schedule your calendar then you can both be on the same page. As a police wife, know that it is more than okay to say “no” if your plate is too full. I do this fairly often and I have no guilt. My kids and I miss events on occasion just to catch up on quality time with my husband because we feel it is important. On the flip side, I have learned to be okay with going to events while my husband is working so my kids and I do not miss out.
On weeks where your schedules don’t align, try to find small pockets of time to be together and make your time together count. You don’t need a full day to make memories; even 15 or 20 minutes of time can be special.
Scheduling and time together go hand in hand.
Your husband is working, you are sleeping. Your spouse is sleeping, you are cleaning, working, and taking care of the kids. When will it all sync up?
I know that most of your time together is spent playing catch up to your home, doing errands, bills, etc. but where you can’t play catch up is with your relationship.
How to solve this problem: Make time together a priority.
When you are taking time to schedule and plan your calendar, don’t forget to schedule time for the two of you. We are tired, lonely, drained, right? Law enforcement takes a toll on our spouses and we feel the impact at home. But we have work to not let it creep into our marriage. Even if you only get one hour together, put it on the calendar. Don’t allow anything else on the calendar to take it’s place.
I highly recommend the book, Emotional Survival for Law Enforcement by Dr. Gilmartin, for both the officer and police wife. While it doesn’t touch on marriage tips it does open your eyes to common situations that officers go through and how you can support your officer which in turn, helps with your relationship.
Communication, scheduling and finding time with your spouse are multi-dimensional and interconnected. Each of these problems are hard to isolate and a lot of us may have problems with all three. Honestly, the best way to solve these issues comes down to being INTENTIONAL.
Be purposeful and decide to work on these areas as best as you can each day/week. You are working hard already; I know that. So I am not going to tell you to work harder. Just change where you put your energy. Allow yourself to work with the schedule/time you have, not just be okay with it. You can do this!
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