All law enforcement officers have some sort of back up. There are other officers who show up in their time of need, ready to assist. Dispatchers guide and direct them on their calls. During roll call or line up, depending on their agency’s jargon, they announce their presence and receive important information. As officers need back up on their calls, spouses also need back up.
We are a group of women and men who love those who serve and protect. We choose to love and give our all to an individual who goes out and sacrifices their life for the sake of others. We are the ones who kiss our spouse goodbye not knowing if we will have the blessing of kissing their lips again. Many times we feel alone in our journey as a law enforcement spouse not knowing if anyone can understand what we face and how we feel. We could never truly understand what our spouses face on a daily basis.
It’s no secret that being married to a police officer has its challenges and obstacles. Our marriages are unique. We face different marital issues than the average couple. No matter what profession one is in, there will be obstacles. Marriage takes work. However, law enforcement marriages entail an additional different level of challenges. Because of all the many challenges and emotions we encounter, seeking support is a must.
As law enforcement spouses, many of us can become fearful of sharing our emotions and struggles with others. Sadly, many do not respect what we share. Perhaps we fear that others will share our information by gossiping or we think we may be judged or criticized.
There is no shame in having struggles. Struggles build us up to a newer level of strength. The only shame there might be in struggling is what we choose to do with them. What do I mean?
Law enforcement spouses must have enough respect, love, and compassion enough to hold others’ struggles with much care. The sad truth is that many departments are faced with gossip. Such gossip can diminish anybody’s trust in seeking help. There are also social networks that can bring much harm to our own families by what is shared. Many are quick to give their advice without ever truly understanding the unique nature of our emotions or situations.
When looking for guidance in your role as a law enforcement spouse, seek healthy support. Choose a person or a group who will be there to encourage you without having their own agenda. People may reach out, but some will not care for your needs with respect or even understand what you are facing.
The truth is we all need someone to lean on. There are many ministries and organizations designed specifically to serve law enforcement families, spouses, and officers. I encourage you to seek out those safe places. Find the one that suits you and meets your needs. Not every ministry or organization will be in your reach, but that does not mean one cannot reach out.
Not all support needs to come directly from ministries or organizations. Support can also come from an individual willing to serve and encourage you. Law enforcement spouses naturally relate and understand each other. The next step could be to reach out to another spouse simply by making a phone call and listening. You can make all the difference!
It only takes one person willing to display a caring heart to serve and help others. By reaching out we can be ready to learn and gain more wisdom. This journey as a law enforcement spouse is unique and one we should all embrace.
I was in my son’s room the other day. I saw so many different colors and shapes of Lego pieces. I picked them up and began putting them together. I realized how wonderful it is that although Legos come in many shapes and colors, no matter how you put them together, they build something great.
As law enforcement spouses, we each have our own struggles and challenges. We are all different! How awesome would it be to join together and build something great? Our differences and unique situations may add another spouse to our own human “Lego creation,” creating an even stronger structure of support. It is time to unite to build a strong police family support system for not only ourselves, but for generations of law enforcement spouses to come.
This life was never meant to be walked alone. Reach out and make a difference.
Allison P. Uribe is an auxiliary chaplain with the San Antonio Police Department. Allison’s husband has been a San Antonio police officer for 10 years. She is also a chaplain with Serve and Protect, serving the spiritual and emotional needs of law enforcement, fire/ rescue, and corrections; www.serveprotect.org or 625-373-8000. Allison is the founder of Wives on Duty Ministries, designed to support and encourage wives of law enforcement and other emergency services through the word of God; www.wivesonduty.com or email Allison at [email protected] She is also the lead community chaplain and student with Global University Berean School of the Bible and speaks at many Law Enforcement events. Allison wrote “Because I’m Suitable-The Journey of A Wife on Duty”, geared toward wives of law enforcement.
Learn more about her book here: