I’m super stubborn. I don’t know if it’s because I’m the youngest in my family, or if it’s the German roots coming out, or what it is, but even my mom said I was her most difficult child.
Part of it’s passion. If I’m on a path I’m excited about, it can be hard to dissuade me. Some of it is just hard-headedness and not wanting to give in.
This part of my personality isn’t always a good thing – but on some occasions, it can be a huge asset.
Take marriage, for instance. When I got married, I knew it was forever. I promised we’d make it work come hell or high water, and that divorce was not an option. People told me marriage was hard, but I thought maybe they were just doing it wrong, and that I could do it better.
To my credit, I think we have a pretty great marriage. We’re going on 4 years without major incident, so that’s good 😉 But that being said, even though I love my husband and love being married to him, it’s just as hard as I was warned it could be.
Between financial difficulties, chronic pain, and a job in law enforcement, our marriage has had a lot going against it. Our combined chances of divorce are somewhere around 90%. Yikes.
How about you? Is your marriage considered high-risk?
High-risk marriages include (but are certainly not limited to) the following: (source)
- Those in which one spouse (or both) works as a firefighter, police officer, or paramedic
- Military marriages (which are 250 times more likely than civilian marriages to end in divorce.)
- Marriages where one spouse is dealing with chronic pain or serious sickness, like cancer.
- Couples with an annual income under $50,000 per year
- Couples who have recently lost a child.
- Couples dealing with the aftermath of infidelity.
If you’re married to a first responder (or a first responder yourself), you might recognize a few of those risk factors in your own marriage. But don’t let this stress you out! Don’t lose hope. You just need to recognize the reality of your situation and adapt accordingly.
How can you protect your marriage when it’s considered high-risk?
I have to pray for my marriage every day.
When I’m at odds with my husband, when I feel unappreciated, and/or when my patience (with everything) has all but run out, there’s one person I can turn to who I KNOW will have my back. It also helps that that person also happens to have a vested interest in my marriage working out. 🙂
What should you pray for?
- Pray for the guidance to know how you’re falling short as a spouse and how you can improve.
- Pray for opportunities to serve your spouse in the way he wants to be served.
- Pray that you and your spouse will be able to communicate effectively and understand one another.
- When your husband has wronged you, pray for him to improve as a spouse.
- Pray to forgive your husband when he’s wronged you.
- Pray to have a deeper understanding of your husband.
In addition to praying for these things alone, pray as a couple. Let your husband hear you pray for him and for your relationship, and listen as he does as well. It will strengthen your marriage more quickly than any other change you can make – trust me.
Have a support system outside of your spouse.
Being a police wife means a lot of alone time – and consequently, a lot of loneliness. It’s hard when your husband is gone so much and so unexpectedly. It sucks when you can’t plan events far in advance like your friends whose husbands have jobs with more regular hours.
Because of this, it’s super important to have a support system, whether that means family, friends, your church community, or your neighbors. It’s also great to get to know other wives from the department, because you’ll have a better understanding of what each of you is going through (something that can be frustrating in friendships with non-LEO wives!)
Some places I’ve found to meet new friends to make up a support system:
- Find a local playdate group.
- Visit a local library for story hour.
- Go to the park.
- Be active in a local church.
- Take a class at a community center.
I’m even a participant in an online mom group for women whose due date was the same month as my son. We originally found each other on The Bump, but we now have a Facebook group where we discuss kids, marriage, LuLaRoe (of course), and just day-to-day things. Some of us are stay-at-home moms, some of us are working moms, some live in the US, some don’t. It’s just a fun group and something I highly recommend if you’re struggling to build a support system, since it’s so convenient 🙂
The point is, it doesn’t matter what your support system looks like, it just matters that you have one.
Discuss expectations about money.
Disagreements about money are the number one cause of divorce – which is something I’d heard pre-marriage, so I spent a lot of time trying to get our ducks in a row financially.
We’re totally not perfect on this front, but we try really hard to be on the same page on our budget and have goals as a couple that we’re motivated to work toward together.
One thing that’s had a huge impact on reducing disagreements is the fact we set aside “fun money” for each other every paycheck – money we’re not accountable to each other for and we can choose how to spend without outside input, unless we want it. It’s super helpful, especially on our tight budget 🙂
Be loyal to your spouse.
I think sexual fidelity is a “duh” (for most people), but what about other kinds of loyalty? Are you being loyal to your spouse in word and deed, too?
When you complain about your spouse behind your back, you have to remember your friends remember it way better than you do. You may forgive your spouse for their shortcomings because you see the full picture, but they don’t. So be super careful about what you’re saying behind your husband’s back.
Here are things you should be saying behind your husband’s back:
- He works so hard for our family.
- He’s such a good father.
- He treats me with respect.
- He always helps out when I ask him to.
- He really cares about making a difference in the world.
- He’s my hero.
Of course, this is also a good list of things to tell your husband to his face. 🙂
Additionally, cheating isn’t always physical. If you’re focusing flirty/romantic energy in a direction other than your spouse, you’re doing something wrong. If you feel the need to be secretive about who you’re texting, what you’re saying to them, or when, stop and think about the potential ramifications and change what you’re doing now.
Do nice things for your husband.
I totally get that this can be hard to do when you’re feeling unappreciated and/or resentful, but the fact of the matter is: your marriage isn’t about you. It’s about what’s best for both you and your spouse, and that means sometimes you’ll put in 200% of the work and feel they’re putting in 0%, and vice versa.
You’re a team. You both have to make sacrifices to make it work, and there will be times that your sacrifice seems greater than your spouse’s, but this goes both ways.
Being married to a police officer is hard sometimes, but remember that you’ll get what you put into your marriage. Do what it takes to make it stronger and happier today 🙂