Dealing with Fear as a Police Wife

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I received a message from a reader the other day after posting this article from Melissa Littles on Facebook: The Police Wife Life: Selfish is Not An Option.  It’s one I read shortly before J went to the academy and I felt it was a great preparatory article.

This reader, however, said she didn’t like it.  She said it was depressing and scary.  In fact, she said, after reading it, she didn’t want her husband to become a police officer at all.

Yikes.  I wasn’t sure what to say.

In my experience, when someone feels called to law enforcement, not much will dissuade them.

It’s kind of like someone who staunchly wants/doesn’t want kids: there isn’t much that will change their minds.  It’s why couples are generally advised to ask that question before getting married, because it’s something that, if one partner doesn’t get there way, there’s not a lot of compromise to be had.

If you’re a Parenthood fan, you’ll remember the conversation between Cosby and a girlfriend who wants a baby and he asks for a compromise. “What, you want half a baby?” Yeah, it just doesn’t tend to work. Same with law enforcement – if you’re feeling called to it, you can’t really be half in.

When I thought about it, I realized that when J was first applying for departments, I had moments where I felt the same way.  I felt scared whenever I heard about a police officer being killed or injured in the line of duty.  I worried about it happening to J.

I, too, had moments where I thought, why can’t he pick a safer job? One that’s not so risky?

I had to keep something in mind at times like these.

Life is inherently risky.

That might sound morbid, but it’s true.

Being alive is a pretty dangerous thing.  Every day, you risk certain death by doing simple, everyday things.  Driving a car, for instance, is probably one of the most dangerous things you can do.

More dangerous things: (source)

  • 24 lives each year are claimed by champagne corks.
  • Almost 6000 people die each year from tripping and falling.
  • Hot tap water claims about 100 lives each year.
  • 450 people die each year from falling out of bed

It’s a fact that there’s an inherent risk to living.  You can let that fact paralyze you with fear, or you can let it free you.

I’m so glad my husband chases his dreams.

 I know he was dissuaded from being a police officer as a kid because he was told it was dangerous and he wouldn’t make any money.  For years, he pursued other careers.  He spent many years in college before deciding, even though he could be good at what he was studying for, he didn’t want to do it.  The thought of doing other jobs didn’t excite him the same way the thought of being in law enforcement did.

If J were to die in the line of duty, I’d be devastated.

But that being said, perspective is important.  1.3 million people are killed in car accidents every year (source).  It would be terrible if he died trying to protect others, but how much more terrible might it be if he died driving to or from a job he hated?  That didn’t make him feel alive like law enforcement does?

I think I’d feel a lot worse if I’d tried to cheat him out of living life the way in which he felt called.

If you recognize that every day carries its own risk, that any moment could be your last, it means you shouldn’t be so afraid to follow dreams, even those that are scary or risky.  The risk of failure or death is far less scary than holding yourself back completely and never knowing what could have been.

Nonetheless, the fear will still come.

Whenever my husband has a close call at work, I have a small panic attack still.  When he tells me about someone who’s threatened him or pulled a weapon on him, my wifey alarm bells still go off.  It’ll be the same for you, too.  That’s only natural.

Those days, I hold him a little tighter.  I forgive a little more easily.  It’s a huge reminder to stay focused on what’s important.  Because no matter what you do, this life is fleeting, and none of us get out alive.

How has fear held you back, and how did you overcome it… or, how do you plan to?

If you liked this post, be sure to check out the related posts at the bottom of the page!

Being a police wife can be so hard and scary. Great perspective:)

About The Author

Leah Everly

We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post.

Leah is a mom, a wife, and a blogger who loves to read and (occasionally) exercise in her spare time. She lives in Utah with her family and has never met a cookie she didn’t like (well – almost never :))

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  • Amy

    I just wanted to say thank you. I’m new to the LEO wife life and I still worry about him every time he goes to work, especially hearing the ambushes against cops around our nation. It makes it hard and reading this definitely helped me some. It’s also a sigh of relief knowing I’m not the only one who still worries like crazy after hearing certain things! But thank you so much for telling your story and your opinions. It’s definitely touched me!

    • Thank you!:) I’m so glad I could help you in any way. Take care!

  • Brittany

    I wanted to reach out to other women who are married to a police officer/deputy and find some resolve to my anger. I’m angry at people who spit on police and burn flags. Chant about killing cops, throw rocks at them, but are the first ones to call 911 for help. I’m a 911 dispatcher and I see more than a uniform on a person. I see a brave human being with love and a family that sacrifices themselves to protect the ones that hate them. I am from Georgia. Six officers were shot within a few days at different cities. Two of them died. I cry for them and I cry for their family. I hope I never have to go through that. When my husband leaves the house, I wonder if that’s the last time I’ll see him alive. He’s a walking target. I’m hurt, scared, and angry.

    • Thank you for reaching out. I’ll be praying for you! I wish I had more answers, but just know you’re not alone. <3

  • Charmaine Dawson

    I love your posts. So happy to have found your blog. In my 25 years as a LEO wife, I never let myself dwell on the fear. I always said when people asked me if I was scared that my husband could die that he could work in an office and get hit by a car on the way home. We can’t live in fear.

    One thing I have had to do with the recent surge of hate towards our LEO’S is that I stopped watching the news all the time, I check once online once a day and that’s it; I don’t monitor any radio reports or troll Facebook or twitter reading everything. I have unfollowed every single person who posts negative things about LEO’S and I am more peaceful now than when the hatred first began.

    I hope this helps someone.