Being Married To Someone With A Dangerous Job
For most police officers, firefighters, or military personnel you see out there, there is a spouse and perhaps whole family waiting at home, hoping that today is not the day that the worst possible hazard of their job happens. Regardless of political opinions or personal experiences, we can probably all agree that we don’t want the streets to just suddenly be vacant of authorities, armed forces, or people who literally put their lives on the line to save others. Who else is going to go into that building that is on fire? Or where there has been a bomb threat? Probably not most civilians. We need these forces, but we have to remember that to someone else, that’s a father, mother, son, daughter, spouse, or best friend. The partners of these individuals go through their own terror that may not be better or worse than actually being a police officer or firefighter, but bad in its own right. Here is what it’s like being married to someone with a dangerous job.
“How was your day?” is a loaded question
When you ask your spouse how his day was, you know you’re asking a very complex question. Maybe he…saved a child from a fire or violent situation, but that child’s family is now locked up or didn’t survive. Is that a good day? A bad day?
You don’t always get the full answer
You know that you never get the complete answer to, “How was your day?” You know that there are details that he has to conceal from you, because sharing them with you would traumatize you. Or, just make you so worried that you beg him not to go back to work.
He never turns that gear off
When someone’s profession involves saving lives and running towards danger, they can’t just turn that gear off. Police officers, firemen, and military personnel don’t leave work at work. They’re always aware of risks, even when they’re just on vacation with their family.
Some people thank you/applaud you
When you tell some people what your spouse does for a living they applaud you, hug you, thank you, and give you your meal on the house. They understand your partner is providing a priceless service, and that you are part of the love and support that enables him to do it.
Some judge you/him
It’s no secret that many people have their own opinions and political views surrounding law enforcement and the military. If your partner works in either of these, some people may turn cold or give you a judgmental speech about it. This infuriates you because you’re certain your partner has, at some point, probably touched this person’s life in a beneficial way. Maybe he responded to a 911 call placed by their family member, friend, or even them. It’s easy to have rigid views in a vacuum.
Your parents struggle to accept it
Your parents will always struggle to accept your choice in partner. How could they not? They want their grandchildren to have a father who grows old. They want their child to never experience being a young widow.
He’s seen the worst of humankind
Your partner sees some of the worst of humankind. It’s his job to seek them out, or show up when he’s alerted to a problem. The types of individuals that you hopefully only interact with a few times in a lifetime are people he deals with several times a day, every day. You understand that he has to work hard and compartmentalize, and not think that all humanity is like that.
Every goodbye could be goodbye
Every day when you send your partner to work, a little part of you understands it could be the last goodbye. You have had to condition yourself to do away with that thought or else every day would be unbearable.
You secretly wish he’d do something else
Of course, you’d be thrilled if your partner told you he wanted to quit the force. You’re proud of what he does but on a selfish, primal level, you hate that your partner puts his life at risk every day.
You cannot ask him to do something else
You cannot ask your partner to quit. His job is who he is. That’s not true of all jobs but, for people like police officers and fire fighters, their job is part of who they are. And if you asked them to quit, you’d be taking one more cop/firefighter off the street. And you know the street needs him.
You have weapons in the house
You have weapons in the house. That warrants a discussion. Do kids know about these? What do you say to your kids about weapons? What do you want them to think about weapons? You certainly need to keep them away from the weapons.
You have to ignore the statistics
You have to ignore the statistics about the lifespan of a police officer/firefighter/military member. Reading about those statistics do you no good.
Your problems can feel trivial
Your problems can feel like nothing compared to what your partner dealt with that day. You can become angry if he doesn’t feel as passionate about your argument with the PTA president as you do.
You have an amazing support system
You do have an incredible support system. Nobody sticks together like the spouses and family of police officers, firefighters, and military personnel. You have each other’s backs in a way other friend groups don’t.
You can’t choose whom you love
Ultimately, you have your feelings about what your partner does but you have to stop the internal (and external) battles about it. You can’t help whom you love, and this is what he does.