Police man and Her Spouse smilling at eachother Realistic

10 tips for a police spouse

Being a police spouse is different

Being married to a police officer is totally different from being married to an average Joe. It is a responsibility, a burden, an honor and a blessing. It is often thankless and throws up many challenges. But it also has its rewards. I often think that it is we who are in the police force, not just him. We signed up; we joined back in January 2007.

I wear his badge with honor too.

Here are my 10 tips on how to handle life as a police spouse:

Learn resilience

Solo parenting

Often I get a text from my husband when he is already late saying he will be home in 30 minutes and 3 hours later we still haven’t seen him. A LOT of the time you will be solo parenting, and frequently it will be unplanned. The dinner/bath/bed routine that you were counting on him helping you with will have to be done alone. AGAIN.

Avoid resentment

Try not to be resentful. It’s hard, but the call-outs outside of scheduled hours are part of the job and you need to expect them and get used to parenting alone. His job involves putting others’ needs ahead of yours. You will most likely be the parent to attend school concerts, sports matches and school assemblies sans spouse, so make sure you explain to the kids about daddy’s job so they understand.

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Be adaptable

Ruined plans

Trust me, that planned weekend sleep-in that you had marked on the calendar for the past month will ALWAYS come after a 2 am call-out and your spouse won’t even be HOME to get up with the kids.

Re-planning

The Mother’s Day picnic you had planned will fall on his day off. He will get a call-out to your neighboring town just minutes before you head out the door as a family. Re-plan for the next day or weekend.

Have a routine

Consistency

I am up at seven each morning with the kids and I am responsible for getting them ready for school while I leave hubby to his own devices for work. Regardless of his schedule, I prepare dinner for the entire family at 5 pm every night.

Stick to it

If he isn’t home then, his gets wrapped. The boys go to bed at 7:30 pm every night. We do this because even if your police spouse SAYS they will be home, you cannot rely on it.

Vacation differently

Make your own fun

It is really hard to handle the resentfulness as you see pictures flooding your Facebook newsfeed of family camping trips and backyard games. Suck it up and make the most it with the kids or go away yourself with the kids and create your fun with another family.

Officers are always on duty

Hypervigilance

Being a police officer is not a job; it’s a lifestyle choice. They are not the general public any longer. They must carry their police ID at all times and be expected to respond to public situations as a police officer – not stand by and watch with no obligation. This results in a general enhanced awareness of their situation at all times.

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Accommodate it

We try and get to the pub on a Friday night to give me a break from cooking and socialize with the town folk a little. I see Mr. Point Five constantly monitoring his surroundings, watching who comes in the pub door, assessing the risks and weighing up various options, all subconsciously.

Hypervigilance is exhausting

Create a peaceful home

Even when it is subconscious, the constant mental and physical state of flight or fight is exhausting for them. Try to create a peaceful home for them to unwind in.

Give space

I find that if I pepper hubby the minute he walks in the door with my day’s questions and happenings, he gets very frustrated as he needs time to try and stop “thinking” for a while and adapt to being a husband and father where he is safe and not at risk.

Unsavory encounters

Have a backup plan

There have been a few times where Mr. Point Five has suddenly ditched us at the shops and we find him a few stores down, or when we were having a family day at our town swimming pool and he suddenly leaves. These things happen and it is for the safety of his family that he does it.

Meet up spot

Maybe have a chat about the possibility of this happening and have a back-up plan such as a place to meet while shopping or calling each other’s phones.

Your actions affect your spouse

Monitor public opinions

I try very hard to monitor what I say in public and on social media concerning any polarizing opinions I may have, as people may assume my opinion as his.

Be cautious on social media

Police officers must be impartial in their dealings with the public and I would hate for anything I say on social media to come back and haunt us. My private social media is my own space to be me, but even then I try to be cautious.

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Danger is part of the job

Don’t worry excessively

Try not to worry. I know it’s hard when the only words you manage to overhear on that 2 am call is, “Shots fired,” but worrying robs you of happiness and is a futile emotion.

Offer support

When they come home from a tough job, offer your support and a listening ear should they need it. Perhaps not to tell you all the ins and outs of the job, but how they are feeling and how they are coping.

Embrace the Blue Family

Camaraderie

The camaraderie among the officers and their families is amazing. Soak it in and enjoy. It’s like making friends in most places; some you will click with better than others.

Lifelong friends

I am willing to bet that in 10 years your best friend will be a police spouse. It’s a really nice way to live. I am glad our boys will grow up to respect and love the boys and girls in blue and know that they are to be trusted and can be counted on in times of need.

In conclusion

Challenging but rewarding role

Being a police spouse is a challenging but extremely rewarding role. You support your police officer in their difficult job, and in return you gain a second family.

Support your spouse

Support your spouse emotionally, understand the demands of the job, embrace friendships within the police community, and find joy along the way.

FAQs

What percentage of police marriages end in divorce? There are varying statistics, but anywhere from 60-75% of police marriages end in divorce, citing the stresses of shift work and dangers of the job as major factors.

Do police spouses get benefits? Some departments offer benefits to police spouses, such as counseling services, survivor benefits if an officer is killed in the line of duty, or tuition reimbursement. Check with your local department.

How do I deal with worry about safety? Worrying is natural but not helpful. Focus on the extensive training officers receive, department safety protocols, your spouse’s experience and skills, and statistics showing most officers retire safely.

Are kids of cops more likely to become cops? Yes, there does seem to be a strong correlation showing kids of officers are more likely to pursue careers in law enforcement themselves. Cultural identity and childhood experiences play a role.

Do police spouses hang out together? Often police families socialize frequently with one another for friendship and solidarity. Many departments have spouse support groups as an official resource, as well.

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