Isolation is another difficulty. I often consider myself a single married. I spend part of my time married but when he is working, I am single. Since police work is shift work, holidays, and weekends, I spend a lot a time alone. This is compounded by the fact I do not have family of my own and Mike's family live hours away. Finding compatible friends as a single married is difficult, too. Singles want to have single friends and marrieds prefer spending time with couples. I have spent many a holiday and extended time alone. For me, this has been the most difficult part of our marriage, as I am an extreme extrovert and need the energy of being around positive people for my emotional survival.
There are many ways I give of myself in order to support my husband's career and I do not have enough space to list them all, but the biggest one I make is the knowledge that when he goes off to work each day, he may not come home at the end of his watch. The reality of the dangers he faces are not lost on me. I know just one traffic stop gone wrong and I can see the police chaplain, social worker, and police chief come walking up my driveway delivering me news I desperately never want to hear. It is the fear every police spouse lives with when they kiss their partner good-bye and why every conversation ends with be safe.
So to those of us who support the one with the badge, it is a life of sacrifice that often goes unrecognized. I think most of us do it in silence because it is a hard role to define, explain, and understand, even to ourselves. I know we often go with our own needs unmet because how do we assert our needs when we see the greater good our partner is doing for the community they serve? For those of you contemplating a relationship with a LEO... Run! Well, maybe not, but it is definitely not for the weak.
For those of you with the badge, listen to your partner! Know how they support you, and learn and know how to support them. Recognize what they sacrifice so you can live your dream, and know when and how to sacrifice in return. Notice how your partner provides for your needs, and learn how to provide for theirs. Being a police spouse takes hard work, dedication, commitment, and unlimited sacrifice of self. It is a hard lifestyle - and one many marriages will not survive - but if you stay face-to-face, communicate openly and honestly, and put your relationship first, your partner might just decide you are more than worthy of the sacrifice involved!