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Is LE Too Much For A Marriage

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  • Is LE Too Much For A Marriage

    Against the advice of my superiors, peers, family and friends I married my high school sweetheart one year into my enlistment with the Marines. They all warned me that the Marine Corps is no place for a budding marriage. They were right ... sort of. We were divorced within 3 years following my discharge ... mainly due to lingering aftermath of the stresses we incurred during our time in the Corps.

    I spoke to my ex-wife a couple of weeks ago and she warned me that the same thing is bound to happen once I become a police officer. She holds a masters degree in criminal justice and has had the pleasure of meeting dozens of officers during her coursework. According to her, many have told her that marriage and police work are like oil and water. They claim that it's because after awhile the officer begins to feel that non-officers do not understand them and their daily trials and therefore cannot connect with their spouse. Is there any truth to this? Thanks.

  • #2
    Blah blah to what she said. Marriage takes work. While this career does attract a certain "type" of person, what's to say you can't find a woman that understands what it's like. What's to say you won't find a female Officer...we certainly understand.
    sigpic

    I don't agree with your opinion, but I respect its straightforwardness in terms of wrongness.

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    • #3
      i am married, and I have absolutly no trouble just because of my job. if you find the right woman, then things will workout. this job can cause problems if you let it, but so can everything else. you have to understand when she has questions and concerns, and she has to understand when you cant explain the feeling you get when one of your fellow officers is screaming on the radio and you go flying 120 mph though traffic to get into the same situation he is in. my wife knew i was going to be a police officer when we met, i suggest informing anyone you plan on getting serious with that you will not change your job, and tell them the downfalls. Marriage will work if you want it to work.

      also let her know that sometimes you just need to hang out with other officers to let some stress out. if she cant agree to that, i would kick her to the curb.
      "What you do in life, echos in eternity"

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      • #4
        I entered law enforcement in 1972 and married shortly thereafter, six years later in 1978 I had a divorce and two failed relationships behind me.

        I was fortunate to meet, what was for me, an exceptional woman. We have been married for over thirty years now and have three increadible grown daughters.

        I seriously doubt I would have lasted this long as a cop without her love and support, There is nothing I wouldn't do for her, I would kill for her and I would die for her.

        They say that everyone has a perfect lifemate somewhere in the world, I wish you the best in finding her.
        never forget: www.odmp.org

        "In peace time our best still don battledress and lay their lives on the line"

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        • #5
          Wow, 36 years as a LEO? Long time!

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          • #6
            EDIT: NOT sworn. My mistake. The below information was forwarded to me by an officer here and I have already found it useful.....if not invaluable. (swearing in in 2 weeks! gimme some slack!)

            libohound,

            First off, thank you for your service, sir.

            Secondly, let me recommend two EXCELLENT books for you to read before you go into LE and/or a new marriage/relationship.

            1. Emotional Survival for Law Enforcement
            - By Dr. Kevin M. Gilmartin

            2. I love a Cop
            - By Ellen Kirschman

            Read them, and have your significant other read them.

            I was referred to these books by a few LEOs (thanks LA DEP) on here and, even though I'm still 2 weeks away from being sworn-in, they have already helped me and my fiance. I can only hope and pray that the lessons I took from these books will mesh well with the lessons I learn on the street and I will be able to apply them to my relationship.
            Last edited by Chit2001; 07-20-2008, 05:45 AM.
            1*

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            • #7
              Thank you all for your input. You're all pretty much echoing what I told my ex-wife, but I wanted to make sure that I wasn't talking out of my rear end.

              A PM I received on this brought up another question I've been pondering -- I know it's impossible to avoid talking to my wife about work. I also know that this is a career where I won't be able to offer "Fine" as a response to "How was work, honey?" My question is ... where do YOU draw the line on what you'll discuss with your spouse? I'm sure you don't chat about the gory details of a homicide scene or play "Guess who I pulled over today and found an ounce of reefer in their car". But is there a clearly defined line that you absolutely will not bring your spouse across in the name of "talking about your day"?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by libohound View Post
                ....also know that this is a career where I won't be able to offer "Fine" as a response to "How was work, honey?" I'm sure you don't chat about the gory details of a homicide scene or play "Guess who I pulled over today and found an ounce of reefer in their car".
                If you can't deal with the subject matter, you shouldn't be a cop and if a spouse can't deal with the subject matter she/he might not do well as a cop's spouse. My wife and I have never avoided issues from work because she would have trouble hearing about them. If it's significant enough to bring home from work, it's significant enough to talk about. IMO, a case can certainly be made to censor some details from work when talking around children, but adult to adult is very different. We've been married for only 23 years, but it's worked all right with us.
                "I'm not fluent in the language of violence, but I know enough to get around in places where it's spoken."

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                • #9
                  A marriage can survive any line of work, if it is built on a strong foundation it won't crumble under stress no matter what source. Maybe some stress fractures though!

                  I speak from experience on this, be very aware how you are when you leave for and return home from work. I had a tendancy to bark commands at wife/children, even yell do it now at them, because at work people are either complaint with me or they have a really bad day. So it was hard to turn that off. Sooo, before I get ready and absolutely before I get home I have a little reminder to myself that I'm a husband/father to my family, and if I want to keep it that way, I will need to act as such. And, not drink as much as I once did. So far so good.

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                  • #10
                    You know, people throw that "50% of all marriages fail" crap all the time. And I know that LE types don't make up anywhere near 50% of the adult population.

                    Another good book on police stress is Copshock by Allen Kates. Ways to decompress from work and the proper methods for debriefing incidents with non-police friends and, especially, family is discussed.

                    Lots of careers test many marriages. The strong ones survive. The ones based on BS reasons (like my first) do not.
                    "You're never fully dressed without a smile."

                    Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.

                    Three things I know for sure: (1) No bad deed goes unrewarded, (2) No good deed goes unpunished, and (3) It is entirely possible to push the most devoted, loyal and caring person beyond the point where they no longer give a 5h!t.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by libohound View Post
                      Thank you all for your input. You're all pretty much echoing what I told my ex-wife, but I wanted to make sure that I wasn't talking out of my rear end.

                      A PM I received on this brought up another question I've been pondering -- I know it's impossible to avoid talking to my wife about work. I also know that this is a career where I won't be able to offer "Fine" as a response to "How was work, honey?" My question is ... where do YOU draw the line on what you'll discuss with your spouse? I'm sure you don't chat about the gory details of a homicide scene or play "Guess who I pulled over today and found an ounce of reefer in their car". But is there a clearly defined line that you absolutely will not bring your spouse across in the name of "talking about your day"?
                      Keep it simple.....leave out the gory details......

                      You will need to tell her at least some of what happens during your shift......when you get into a critical incident, she is going to have alot of questions, DONT clam up on her to 'protect her' from the incident.....One of the reasons that my ex-fiance and I broke up is because of a lack of communication after my last OIS.......
                      The posts on this forum by this poster are of his personal opinion, and his personal opinion alone

                      "Politicians are like diapers. They need to be changed often and for the same reason"

                      "We fight not for glory; nor for wealth; nor honor, but only and alone we fight for freedom, which no good man surrenders but with his life"

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                      • #12
                        I met my wife 1 year before I became a COP. Two years after I got hired We were married. Since that time I have worked for three different departments in two different stated and we have two children. Oh and my wife has also become a Police Officer. I love her with all my heat.

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                        • #13
                          Mrs. ateamer and I have been married for 15 years. Cops don't need to have such a high divorce rate. Most of it is because so many of us refuse to communicate at home, refuse to soften up, act like we're on duty 24/7, have about zero self awareness and emotional intelligence and pay the price in heartbreak, alienating loved ones and shortened life span. We're great communicators (or at least the best cops are - the ones who aren't world champion conversationalists usually aren't worth a damn) on the job, but an awful lot of cops shut down at home. We should have a very low divorce rate if we all took our best qualities at work - effective communication, doing the right thing, thinking before acting, loyalty, watching out for others - and used them in personal life.
                          Last edited by ateamer; 07-20-2008, 05:45 AM.
                          Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. - Ronald Reagan

                          I don't think It'll happen in the US because we don't trust our government. We are a country of skeptics, raised by skeptics, founded by skeptics. - Amaroq

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                          • #14
                            A good marriage is based on good COMMUNICATION... That's all that's needed.

                            Treat a marriage like a job, you must work at it every day.. The moment you sit back and watch is when you lose it.

                            I've been married for 12 years and it's taken a lot of work but it's worth it.
                            sigpic

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                            • #15
                              Coppery & Marraige can be a tough mix

                              I've been married for 36 years. I've been sworn for the past 11 years. Prior to that, I was working in multiple non-sworn capacities in LE.

                              First: I just finished Gilmartin's book: Emotional Survival for Law Enforcement. It's fantastic and provides real insight into the various ways that a cop can become emotionally derailed, ruining personal relationships in the process.

                              Second: at moments of frustration, my wife has been known to blurt out, "I didn't marry a cop. You've become a jerk (cleaned up from REAL term) since you became a cop." Unfortunately, what she says can be true -- at times. But, not always.

                              I believe that my wife (and maybe others) struggle with the fact that I have an emotional bond to anyone other than just her. Cops are wired together, whether you thank it's good or not, it's just a fact of life. We find solace in each other's company. My wife will never fully understand what it's like to arrive moments after a grizly homocide where the vicitm is still twitching. That's OK. But, it also means that she can't fully understand what I experienced there. That's OK, too.

                              The only people who can understand are follow cops, which is a part of my life where she is (to some degree) excluded.

                              As a cop, it's important for us to remember that our spouse can feel threatened by emotional ties outside our marriage. We have responsibility to reassure and reaffirm our comitment to our spouse regularly. Don't minimize their fear, but rather, help them through it.

                              There are times that I need the consoloation, support, and love of my wife. She is there for me, and I am most appreciative. There are other occasions where that emotional need can only be met by others who face the same dangers as I do. I appreciate that, as well.

                              Stay tuned in to your spouse. Understand her fears and feelings of rejection when you go elsewhere. Make sure she knows that she is #1 in your life. That will give you a good start.

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