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Being an LEO wife is a job like no other. I’m certain it requires super powers I simply don’t possess yet as a rookie but hopefully they’ll come. I’ve done my research and prepared as much as I could, but there is a truth I can’t suppress. I can’t support him without having extra support for myself. I have a long list of things I do to support him, but this list is useless unless I’ve another list handy: How to support myself. My list looks like this:
Read articles: It seems like between him and his colleagues, they’ve seen it all. And, when they need assistance, they immediately call for back-up. LEO wives need back-up too. In these cases, Google becomes my closest friend. Searching police wife, cop wife, thin blue line spouse and the sort presents an array of articles written by wives around the nation who are dealing with the same things I am. I typically can find an article that is both entertaining and heartfelt while scarily relatable. Laughter is great medicine and I guarantee there is at least one police wife out there who understands what you are going through and has a funny story about it. Relating to others can be used as support in efforts you once felt helpless in. Here are links to articles I enjoyed: http://bit.ly/tp0Ihr,http://bit.ly/sKUUpJ.
Actively join the sisterhood. People often talk about the brotherhood inside the department but I promise you there’s nothing as amazing as the sisterhood behind the brotherhood. Policewives.org has forums, blogs, books, and special projects designed to support LEO families and causes they care about. They send care packages to LEO families, blankets and stuffed animals to child victims of crime, and offer state-specific resource information to police wives. Another site for the sisterhood is wivesbehindthebadge.org. My favorite part of the site is the blog series called “Going through the emotions” where they discuss all of the emotions of being married to the badge. They also have fun fundraisers such as “Puppies Behind the Badge” calendars which support K-9 units across the nation. There are many websites out there that connect wives similar to yourself that act as a safe zone for your fears, struggles and funny moments derived from your husband’s honorable career choice.
Find a confidant. It’s easy to claim no one understands your situation because your man is in a high-risk profession. This isn’t always true. Either way your man is a man and your marriage is a marriage. It’s important to have someone that relates to your unique fears that come from the job, but it’s also beneficial to turn to someone who just understands marriage and men. I have a friend whom although her husband isn’t in a high-risk profession, she understands me and has 25 years of marriage under her belt. Sometimes I get so flustered that I just drop-in and my folded arms and pursed lips are the signals she reads all too well at this point. Find a friend that doesn’t completely reflect your situation because they’re likely to have a vantage point you don’t have on your own.
Know your limits. Nobody your strength but with strength comes some weakness. In my house, I think of it as the thin aqua line. Yes, Honey, I want to hear all about your day and make it all better by letting you vent but some details are bound to put me out of commission and will indefinitely lead to me leaning on you to dry my tears. I feel blessed to know that my man knows me well enough to have this line all figured out. At first this fact bugged me. It made me feel inadequate. We quickly learned that my support is useful to him but we must approach some situations strategically. For example, if a picture in his head bugs him about a gruesome dead body, I can hear that. The details (depending on what happened) are what may need to be left out. Sharing things this way allows me to be supportive with some understanding about his situation while not turning me into a blubbery ball of tears. In our lives, the same takes place in child abuse cases. Our solution: I trust him. If he says something is bugging him and I ask what it is, if he chooses not to tell me any more than that, I deal with it. I do whatever I can to take his mind off of work and I don’t delve any further into the discussion. At first, this may feel like weakness but in our case it was a healthy solution that improved both of our lives and allowed us to support each other in ways that worked for us.
I’m not delusional enough to say that impossible isn’t in my vocabulary but I can say that I have reserved it for very specific contexts. It is impossible for me to not try. It is impossible for me to give up. It is impossible for me to support him without finding support for myself first.