There will always be times duty calls and you have no choice but to answer: a major investigation requiring all hands on deck, and forget sleeping anytime soon; that simple end-of-shift traffic stop that turns into a stolen vehicle recovery/out-of-state fugitive apprehension/retail theft ring capture all rolled into one – 45 minutes before your daughter’s big dance recital; getting called in for overtime again, because you have to grab it when you can even if it means more time away from home. Making regular deposits into everyone’s “emotional love banks” increases the chance everyone will happily roll with the vagaries of living with a cop.
Join their world
As you open your world up to your family and friends, and are remembering to be grateful, stay connected, and make deposits into their emotional banks, the tie that binds it all together is to join their world.
A lot of you already do this, and can probably attest to the benefits, but the reality is – in LE and non-LE relationships alike – very often there is one dominant partner who defines for everyone “what we’re into” whether consensus about that was ever really reached or not. We can all think of the obvious stereotypes: the wife who has grudgingly spent every vacation for the past two decades trudging along on every hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, and extreme heli-skiing adventure vacation imaginable because outdoor adventure is what her husband lives for. She’d kill for a week at a 5-star spa but knows he’d never go for it – because he’s dismissed it as “just not my thing” every time she ever brought it up; the husband who knows driven every back road and visited every Podunk town with a two-bit antique store in five states because he spends every weekend shuttling his wife and her newly purchased junk around. She’ll tell you how much they “adore antiquing.” He fantasizes about taking a 34” Louisville Slugger to a field of priceless figurines.
Take an interest in what others like. Push yourself out of you comfort zone and into theirs. It doesn’t matter if you really don’t like it that much... it’s about sacrificing for them. And who knows, maybe you’ll learn about something you enjoy you never thought you would.
Honoring the sacrifices of those who have your back on the home front improves the likelihood they will continue to have your back, and to honor you and your profession with their willing sacrifice. But more importantly than that, it is simply the right thing to do.
About The Authors:
Althea Olson, LCSW has been in private practice in the Chicago suburbs since 1996. She has a Master of Social Work degree from Aurora University providing individual, couple, & group therapy to adolescents, adults, and geriatrics. Althea is also trained in Critical Incident Stress Management & is a certified divorce mediator.
Mike Wasilewski, MSW has been with a large suburban Chicago department since 1996. He holds a Master of Social Work degree from Aurora University and has served on his department’s Crisis Intervention & Domestic Violence teams. Mike is an adjunct instructor at Northwestern College.
Mike & Althea have been married since 1994 and have been featured columnists for Officer.Com since 2007. Their articles are extremely popular and they now provide the same training and information in person throughout the United States. This dynamic team was recently featured at the at the 2010 & 2011 ILEETA Conference & Exposition.
Out of their success has come the formation of More Than A Cop where the focus is providing consultation and trainings on Survival Skills Beyond The Street.