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How To Love Your Cop
How To Love Your Cop

Chp 9: Silver Bullets-Money & Your Marriage-How to talk

Money Talks

Ted and Sarah have difficulty talking about money, as it is a constant source of conflict. Ted gets frustrated that he works hard to bring in the money and they never seem to get ahead. Sarah naturally avoids conflict, so she inadvertently sabotages their efforts by not communicating with Ted about upcoming bills. This of course angers Ted and adds late charges to an already tight budget.

Even though money seems like it should be handled without emotion, it isn’t. So much of who we are is wrapped up in our money! For men the traditional role as provider says a lot about who they are as a man. The expectations have been built up into status. If you make a lot of money, you are a success. If you don’t, not so much!

For women, we tend to view money as security. If we have money, we don’t have to worry about where to live, what we wear, and what we eat. If we are short on money, we tend to worry.

Rich and Anna didn’t have a large income, but they made it work. However, Rich felt that because he worked hard he deserved a nice truck. He spent a lot of money on his trucks while Anna scrimped and saved and did odd jobs to feed and clothe the kids. Over the years Anna and Rich had many arguments, and eventually Anna took over the management of the money. She didn’t give Rich much to spend, so when Rich got an overtime check, he’d cash it and spend it without telling her.

How you handle money can build trust or be a source of mistrust. Typically, every couple has a spender and a saver. And unless the two have agreed upon goals and budgets, the constant push and pull of the money can be destructive to a marriage. The solution lies in acknowledging our shortcomings and for both to be involved in money management. We need to ask ourselves the hard questions and then answer honestly:
• Are we both committed to improving this area?
• Who is the saver, who is the spender?
• What are our individual responsibilities?
• What do we both want from our money?
• Where can we cut our spending to invest in our future?
• When do we waver in our control of spending?
• How did we get ourselves into the debt we have? How will we get out?
• Are we a slave to our home, striving to make the payments?
• Is our money working for us, or against us?
• How deep are we willing to cut luxuries to ease financial stress?

Have a regular business meeting with your husband to get on top of things. When we are proactive about communicating, especially when it comes to money, it will have an accumulating effect much like the emotional bank account. For the one who does most of the money business, it’ll really help him/you feel a lighter burden.

To keep our money life intact, we need some guiding principles. Then we need a plan based on those principles. I’ve included some financial guidelines that Brent and I have learned and tried to practice over the years.

September 16th, 2013

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Hiking Life

Yosemite - Mirror Lake
It was a beautiful day in Yosemite National Park and about fifteen of us decided to take an easy, one-hour hike around Mirror Lake.

Little did we know it would take us most of the day.

We started out, a motley crew of family and friends ranging in age from six weeks to 80 years, conversing along the paved way. We leisurely hiked about two-thirds around the lake when we came to a barricade that said, “Warning! Landslide damage. Trail ends here.” Being the adventurous type and rationalizing it would take twice as long to turn back, we said to each other, “How bad could it be?”

We forged ahead until we came to the actual landslide. White rocks ranging in size from toasters to houses were toppled upon one another, with huge trees laying on their sides at the bottom. The area covered about three acres. To traverse over this seemed a daunting task with the small children and elderly present. Unbelievably, we went for it. Up and down, rock to rock, tree to tree, we got all fifteen of us across the debris with only minor scrapes. We regrouped on the other side, taking swigs of water and eating trail mix, chuckling about our ordeal, and amazed everyone made it intact.

On the journey through life, there will be hazards that show up along the way. They may seem impossible, but the only way to go is through them. I’ve pulled a few principles from our Yosemite hike that I think are very applicable to hard times in our lives.

First, we got through the debris one step at a time. There were rocks upon rocks, and some of them were not steady. We had to test each rock as we moved forward and side to side, taking the most sure and stable route. When life gets tough, maneuvering through pain and consequences can be pretty tricky. You may see where you hope to be at the end, but the path to get there may be riddled with uncertainty. Taking each step slowly and steadily minimizes pitfalls that come with a difficult journey.

Second, some hikers needed help to get across. We took turns carrying the two-year-old and lending extra support to the mom who had the six-week-old baby strapped to her front as well as the grandparents. When things get tough, we need to lean on our support systems to get us safely to the other side. Sharing each other’s loads is not only necessary for survival, but bonding can be a byproduct. By the end of the day we felt a special kinship with each other through what we’d been through.

One of the hikers was really fearful for the children. She was really angry at why we were in this situation. I was a little surprised, because she is usually very level-headed. My husband told me later that just a week earlier her son slipped and fell with his newborn son in his arms and dropped the baby. She saw the whole thing happen. The trauma of that situation carried over into seeing another grandchild in potential danger. The third thing to remember is when we go through tough times, past hurts may ignite anger or fear. Past hurts tend to complicate things. Understanding, acknowledging and communicating this will help you navigate your response.

No sooner did we rejoin the trail, when we heard a huge crack and rumble from above. Thunder and lightening filled the sky, and then the downpour started. We were soaked to the bone by the time we reached our bus stop. Sometimes, when one trial ends, another one begins. And then another. It’s just the way life happens sometimes. We dealt with this by laughing. Most of us kept our sense of humor intact. Just moments before we got soaked, we were all sweaty from climbing over rocks and trees. We joked about not needing showers anymore. When life is one trouble after another, sometimes it’s just good to laugh in the midst of it. Laughter is also contagious.

The last thing is we never gave up. We kept moving forward, helping each other, talking it through. Once we made it to some shelter to escape the downpour, some of the teenagers decided to run all the way back to our campground. We were all exhausted, but they made it fun by going that extra mile.

Don’t give up!

July 25th, 2013

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Chp 8: Stuff Happens – Substance Abuse

Alcohol and drug dependence are coping mechanisms. Something is up, and they have developed a crutch to lean on. Here are some symptoms of a drinking problem, adapted from Alcoholics Anonymous:

1. You have tried to stop drinking for a set amount of time and couldn’t go the distance.
2. You want people to quit telling you to quit drinking.
3. You switched from one kind of alcohol to another to avoid getting drunk.
4. You need a drink to get started on the day or to stop shaking.
5. You envy people who don’t get themselves into trouble while drinking.
6.You’ve had problems related to your drinking in the past year.
7. Your drinking is causing problems at home.
8. You try to get extra drinks at a party because what is served is not enough.
9. You tell yourself you could stop drinking any time you wanted to but keep getting drunk without meaning to.
10. You’ve missed work or school because of your drinking.
11. You have black outs, times when drinking that you don’t remember.
12. You feel like your life would be better if you didn’t drink.

If you suspect that your guy has a drinking problem, talk with him about it when he isn’t drinking. Be ready with specific examples of behavior, not generalized accusations. If he denies it, get others involved who love your husband. Have your resources lined up—phone numbers, locations of meetings and support groups, and people to contact.

PTSD

Brenda’s husband had nightmares and suffered uncontrollable shaking. Rhonda’s husband told her he was sure he was crazy and even acted like it sometimes. Mary’s husband retreated to the fetal position on the couch and whimpered like a baby then later left her for someone else. All of these men were diagnosed with PTSD.

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a condition that results from a critical incident or develops as a result of repeated exposure to trauma, both very frequent in the career of a police officer. In his book CopShock, Second Edition: Surviving Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Allen Kates says that “one in three cops may suffer from PTSD, a condition that could lead to depression, suicidal thoughts, addictions, eating disorders as well as job and family conflict.” Some of the common symptoms include anger, nightmares, flashbacks, concentration problems, emotional detachment, and avoidance of people and places.

The Power of a Good Marriage

It was a perfect day for Clarke and Tracie to chill out in the pool. But Clarke felt like he would sink beneath the weight of dread. He was struggling with the stuff he’d seen on duty. He wasn’t thinking he’d kill himself, but knew he was starting to head down that road, and he needed help. He’d inwardly argued with himself for quite a while before he took the plunge. “This stuff is gettin’ to me, Trace. I’m not okay.” As soon as it left his mouth, the weight lifted. Until she replied in horror, “Are you kidding me?!” It was not the response he was looking for.

On the outside, Clarke was supercop. On the inside, a teen’s suicide triggered a breaking point. “It was one of five suicides that day, and it was my boiling point,” explains Clarke. “Everything began haunting me. Everything came out—calls from the day before, the week before, the year before, ten years before. They all came back and they came back with a vengeance. Everything I thought I had dealt with, but really just disassociated from, came back.”

He’d told himself to get over it, forget it. But when he couldn’t, he decided he was a coward—a loser. But he did have a great relationship with his wife, and he trusted her enough to share his pain. And although initially her response was less than ideal, by the end of the day she understood that he did the most courageous thing he could’ve ever done—ask for help. After doing some research together, they found the assistance he needed.

Clarke and Tracie are now hosting police suicide prevention seminars across the country. As part of his healing, Clarke made a movie called “The Pain Behind the Badge,” and it’s speaking to officers who have suffered silently for years. When Tracie gets up to speak, she imparts these powerful words: “Why did I ever think he was okay after twenty-two years on the job? The Rock of Gibraltar was crumbling, and I never saw it coming. I’m lucky he’s alive.”

Post-traumatic stress disorder can be very serious, but there is help available. Please let me know if you need resources.

July 22nd, 2013

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July 17th

Today is July 17, 2013, or 7-17, simply put.

Maybe this day means nothing to you. It’s just another day. It’s another day to live and breathe and move about. July 17th used to be that for me – not a significant day. None of my loved ones had a birthday (that I know of), nothing of distinction happened to me (that I remember).

But for twenty United States soldiers, this day is significant. July 17th is the anniversary of a miracle – where it seemed they had an appointment with doom, and the Grim Reaper had come to call.

It happened four years ago in the Watapur Valley of Afghanistan. Sixteen men went on a foot patrol, guns at the ready, and unbeknownst to them, they were being watched. Insurgents were hiding behind rocks and boulders above them, waiting patiently for them to enter the valley so they could close in around them. They wanted to capture at least one alive for God-knows-what, and the others would die swiftly. Young men, barely into their twenties, were walking into a death trap.

The first bullet was sent, and the barrage of deadly weapon fire began, quickly wounding three of the sixteen, one hit in the abdomen. Death was near.

The battle touched off the fate of four more men, older soldiers who had been working all night, gathering wounded from other areas in Afghanistan. These men were aboard a Medevac helicopter, and had the choice to intervene. At least one life depended on them, but they faced the reality they may have to give up their own.

July 17th, 2009, will live in the thoughts and minds of all twenty of these men. Though the chances were slim to none because of the circumstances, all twenty survived the battle. The men on the ground, the helicopter crew that flew in SIX times in the middle of unbelievable weapon fire, and the medic who dared to be hoisted down a thin cable into the fire to gather not three, but five men who could’ve perished in that valley.

That medic is wearing a beautiful navy blue Cavalry Stetson today in honor of the memory. If you see him, thank him.

There are many dates that mark the appearing of death: June 6, 1944. December 5, 1941. September 11, 2001. Many succumbed despite the efforts of the brave. But others did not because a brother or sister stepped in, overcoming fear with courage, and in heroic moments, laid it all on the line. They are living proof that from the battlefields from Afghanistan and Iraq to our cities and counties here in the States – there are courageous warriors who are willing to step up, step in, and live to commemorate dates like 7-17.

Note: This story is recounted in detail in Selfish Prayer, a book due to be released in August 2013 through Amazon.com.

July 17th, 2013

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Chp 5: Game Face, His Coping Mechanisms

His Coping Mechanisms

Your cop will have his ways to deal with stress. You may not be crazy about some of them, but, if it’s working, you need to let it go. A couple of years ago, Brent had a chief who dealt with stress by having an occasional outdoor cigar-smoking session with a few guys in the office. My daughters hated this. They always knew when Daddy smoked a cigar that day. But I knew that a few cigars over a several month period were unlikely to do any damage. In fact, it did him some good to take an occasional timeout in the middle of a hard work day.

Debriefing with their friends seems to help them deal with stuff a bit easier. Suggest he play racquetball or golf with some buddies. Maybe a yearly hunting trip is in order, or have him spend a morning fishing with a friend. During these times, it’ll also help your attitude if you schedule something for yourself.

Cop humor, silence, Monday-night football, motorcycle riding, exercise… our guys need outlets. There has to be some way for them to fill up. He’s putting out a lot of himself to be an officer. You can help too by listening, taking care of your portion of the marriage partnership, initiating sex, and creating a safe home. But as awesome as you are, you are not the only place he can be filled. Support an outlet or two that build him up.

Our Response

Understanding our men—who they are, what they do, how they deal with it—helps us to know better how to support them. But this is only half of it. How we respond is the other half.

Erica, whom I referred to earlier in this chapter, says that she doesn’t think about this stuff each and every day he walks out the door. I don’t either. But I suggest thinking through it ahead of time when all is well, letting these thoughts digest so that day to day and year to year we grow and learn together instead of moving apart. In some ways, it’s putting on our own mind armor to keep us in the marriage game as well.

We have a choice here. We can begrudge the way they are and build a wall to protect our sense of who we think they should be. We could, over time, harden our hearts toward parts of them and complain behind their backs to our friends. We could demand that they change, and they might even try out of love for us. But, in the end, they will not be able to trust us completely.

Or we can accept them for who and what they are, respecting their processes. We can love them unconditionally for what they are and be forgiving for what they aren’t. This acceptance gives them the freedom to be real. And in the security that this provides, they might even just mellow out over time. I’ve witnessed this in many marriages. We might say, “She’s been good for him.” At the very least they will appreciate the safe place that our love creates and trust us with depths of themselves we will treasure. Sex may be better, too, as the walls of mistrust disappear and we grow in intimacy.

On its surface, it seems like an easy choice. But it isn’t. Marriage is hard. Marriage to a cop is even harder. How can we get the courage necessary to thrive amidst all of this?

April 8th, 2013

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Chp 5: Game Face-The Hero at Home

The Hero at Home

Because this book covers different aspects of law enforcement marriage, it probably seems like my entire existence revolves around the fact that he is a cop. It doesn’t. There are areas of our lives that have nothing whatsoever to do with law enforcement. This is a big question for new officers’ wives. “I have my own job; do I have to drop everything for this to work?” The answer is no. Life is life. Kids. Careers. Hobbies. Church. Clubs. Sports. There is more to life than law enforcement.

Erica doesn’t view her husband as a hero when he walks in the door. He’s Marlo, the father of her children, the man she married, and the one who takes out the trash. So when he comes home, she expects him to jump into their lives. I love this. Erica has two boys and a job. She basically runs the home and likens it to a revolving machine. When Marlo comes home from his shift, she expects him to join their lives that are already in motion. Because she has communicated this, it works!

What you don’t know about Erica is she had to face that horrible moment that we all fear: “Honey, I need you to come the hospital. I’ve just been shot!” Marlo called her from his stretcher on the side of the freeway. After this critical incident, she had to make things click in her mind. This was when she adopted this attitude: Marlo is the man she married. He’s not Marlo the hero; he’s Marlo the husband. He’s Marlo the dad. In fact, she’s only seen Officer Marlo a few times.

This mindset may be more difficult for other men. When they are on duty, they have to take control in the midst of chaos. Your man has been trained to be in control of situations and will be direct and to the point. He doesn’t do multiple choice on duty. What happens when he comes home, still in this attitude of control?

My guess is it doesn’t go over well. I know this might be pretty tempting for cops to do, but it doesn’t exactly pan out at home. We’ve been running things all day, and it’s a little difficult to relinquish that position. We’ve got our tried and true ways of making it work, and then he comes in and does it differently! Again, this is where respectful communication comes in. He needs to be a part of the home too, so don’t hold on so tightly to your methods. On the other hand, you are not one of his customers, and he doesn’t want you to be.

The other side of the spectrum is that they are tired of making decisions and/or babysitting crooks all day, and they don’t want to take the reins at home at all. Recall the down stage of the hypervigilance roller coaster. It takes some good talks and patience to work through this.

The Long-term Perspective

I’ve mentioned several things that you see on a day to day basis—the short term. But there is a long-term perspective as well. In a career that spans twenty to thirty years, these issues will ebb and flow with the seasons. Supervisors and commanders come and go, and, depending on their leadership skills or lack thereof, your husband’s career will benefit or suffer.

There have been seasons that Brent couldn’t wait to get to work. And there were times when his stress was so elevated his blood pressure would reflect it. The point here is that seasons come and go. Enjoy the good times and embrace the rough spots for the character building they can instill. Either way, sometimes it just helps to know that it won’t be forever.

April 1st, 2013

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Chp 5: Game Face: Understanding Your Cop’s Motivation

Understanding His Motivation

War is seductive. There’s something inside me that lures me to the mission. I look at what’s goin’ down and know that I have to do what it takes to rescue these men… It’s almost like I have this need, deep inside of me…” The soldier’s eyes were moist and serious like he was reliving his combat experience again. I could see the pain on his face as images flashed through his mind’s eye.

 

“And then, as I heard the bullets whiz by my head, I came to my senses. What am I doing? I have kids… I have a job at home… why am I taking these risks?”

It was a crowded room, but I didn’t notice anything else. It was the closest thing I’d heard yet that describes the warrior mentality. Although I couldn’t step into his shoes, it resonated within me. Duty. Compassion. Laying down one life for another. Courage that comes from deep within. I’d seen glimpses of this before in my husband and his co-workers. This is the mind of a man in uniform.

Some are born with it. Some learn it really young when they’re watching Daddy put on his badge. Some are enticed by the honor and respect that goes with the shield and gun. No matter where they got it, it’s there. It’s a powerful, inner force that drives them on.

Only 3 percent of the general population can do what our husbands do.[i] They are willing to complete what’s necessary in each situation. They may even lay down their lives to stop a criminal from producing chaos and death, and that willingness commands respect. Do you respect your husband for who he is? For what he values?

My friend Deidra has had a difficult time with this in her twenty-year marriage. He may be a hero out on the road, but it wasn’t always the case at home. She and I had a conversation recently and this is what she said:

 “In their line of work, they get respect. When people see a cop, they definitely clean up their act a little. Then he comes home, and I don’t give him that respect. Why don’t I give him that respect? Because some of the things he says are not respectful! When you’re acting like a jerk, why should I respect you?”

One of my biggest failures has been that I haven’t valued him. I haven’t valued his accomplishments, the fact that he is putting his life on the line for other people, that he’s a great provider, a great husband, and a great father. When I don’t respect him, he feels really bad about himself. And that affects a lot of things, like our relationship. He feels like a failure because he thinks I don’t believe in him. They get this level of respect on the road, and then when they get home, we don’t give it. I think it’s degrading. I wish I could go back and do it over again… to be more proud of him. I am proud of him.

Diedra and her cop have been married a long time and have a good marriage. But she is realizing now that the way she treats him affects him as a man and as a police officer. Respect is to a man what love is to a woman. It’s their greatest need. We as wives can remember that there is always something to value within our husbands even when they’re not faring well in other areas. It helps to remember him as a whole rather than honing in on his weaknesses.


[i]     This statistic is based on population calculations.

March 11th, 2013

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Ch 4: Code Four Communication: Unforgiveness kills communication

Unforgiveness vs. Keeping Short Account

When our unspoken expectations are not met, it is very easy to develop resentment. We take it personally. It’s an affront! But that really isn’t fair, is it? How can our husbands know they did something wrong if they don’t know the rules?

Years ago when Brent was working swing shift, he’d normally get off around midnight. One night in particular, he called me from the office to say that he had to write some reports and wouldn’t be home for awhile. About two thirty a.m., I woke up and discovered he wasn’t there yet. So I called the office. They told me he’d left about a half hour earlier. Because I assumed he’d be there any minute, I waited up for him. In the meantime Brent stopped to fuel up on the way home and struck up a conversation with the gas attendant. They had a very deep, meaningful conversation that lasted about two hours. By the time Brent drove up, I was convinced he was dead and then decided he was having an affair.  Either way he would need a funeral! And, of course, I’d planned it all out.

After I unleashed my full fury on him, he told me what happened. He apologized, and I forgave him. Now we laugh about the string of obscenities that flowed from my mouth when I rarely cuss. And that is that.

Unforgiveness will not only kill communication, it will kill your relationship and could eventually kill your soul. No matter how you look at it, you lose. The thing that will keep communication flowing is keeping a short account. Let the anger go.

Brent calls this the emotional bank account. When we spend time together, do favors for each other, have good sex, etc., we are making deposits into the relationship. Arguments, harsh words, unspoken or demanding expectations, slamming doors, etc., are withdrawals from your relationship. Just like money, you look at your account at the end of each month, and hopefully your account is in the black. But too many withdrawals will cause it to fall into the red.

The currency of your relationship isn’t cash; it’s trust. When there isn’t enough give for the take, you run into problems. When Brent was unaccounted for late into the night, fear consumed me. It was a big withdrawal. But when we decided he would phone home if a situation like this came up again (and it did), we made a deposit into our account. When I decided to let it go by forgiving him, we were in the black again. He learned from it too and never made that type of mistake again.

February 11th, 2013

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FEARLESS 2013

Chief and I were on Interstate 5 somewhere in central California when he asked me a question. It was one of those moments. Like when you see smoke rising from a discharged revolver. Or taser darts that grabbed high and low – a perfect hit. Or the boot print on my assets. It was a question that opened up a long forgotten door to my inner self, shedding light on an issue that was meant to be hidden.

I hate when he does that.

Well, not really. Because after the initial hot alligator tears of anger comes gradual relief as I see the silhouette of an obstacle. And like all obstacles, it’s in the way.

Obstacles are kind of like hurdles. And that word right there conjures up memories of gym class eons ago when the coach put out those white L-shaped contraptions on a perfectly good track. My palms get a little sweaty just thinking about it. For those of you who I’ve not met in person, I’ll clue you in. I’m short. And I was blessed with Scottish genes that gave me muscular thighs that should move fast but don’t and a long torso. This translates to very few hurdles left intact after I’ve bumbled through. It’s a wonder I kept all my teeth through the track and field weeks. My knees and elbows still bear the scars of blood long lost on hurdle day.

Chief’s question made me very much aware that I struggle with fear. Fear of heights. Fear of failure. Fear of dying when I run too long. The list goes on a little further, but I think you get the point.

As I made peace with this new realization, I was reminded of a picture my aunt gave me on my 40th birthday. It was a picture of a little blond girl of maybe four years old, running full force through the grass, a look of pure delight and excitement on her face. She had bright eyes and a huge laughing smile. It was me. My aunt wrote a note that said this is how she sees me, even now. It was my favorite gift that year.

With that picture in mind and the fear obstacle in front of me, I made the decision to tackle my fears in 2013. To sprint full force toward the things that scare me, and leave no fear hurdle unturned, even if I have to skin my knees along the way. My word for this year is FEARLESS.

I plan to run a marathon late in the year, with little races on the way. For my 25th anniversary I’m having Chief take me to Maui to learn to surf. And this summer I will jump out of an airplane. There are other goals and fears that I want to tackle as well. It’ll be a new season of adventure!

What about you? Want to join me? What word will be the theme of your 2013? What’s your game plan? I’d love to hear.

January 4th, 2013

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Chapter 2: All Roads, All Codes, All In!

Get in, Sit down, Shut Up and Hang On!

License plate frame, California

It was Christmas Day when I realized our honeymoon was over. I hated our new apartment, I didn’t know a soul, and I commuted to work an hour and a half each way through Los Angeles traffic. This place was very different from the small town of Chico where I grew up. On top of that, we had no money, a Charlie Brown Christmas tree we bought for eight bucks at a hardware store, and one gift from my grandparents. Brent was learning his new job in a difficult part of LA, and he worked swing shift on Christmas Eve. Me? Except for the manager’s kids who came by to sing carols at my door, I spent it alone. Earlier in December Brent graduated from the California Highway Patrol Academy, which was then and remains a residential training academy. We were given a week to move downstate and get settled before he reported for duty as a rookie officer in LA. Our six month marriage was already experiencing a tough season.

We went from five months of weekend-only bliss to shift work and mandatory overtime. We left a small town of supportive family and friends to join a sea of unfamiliar faces and places. Our rent went up significantly, gas became a greater burden, and I had to work full time to make ends meet. We didn’t know anyone except other new officers in the same boat. This was hard to handle all at once. But something else bothered me: Brent seemed to be changing, and not for the better. Working on the streets of LA was affecting him.

Brent had been a pre-med student and a church intern when I met him. He was tender and idealistic, but after he became a cop, he turned tough and painfully realistic. He saw some really disturbing things and couldn’t share everything with me. His sweet demeanor was disappearing, and I didn’t know what to do. Suspecting I wasn’t alone, I gingerly approached another newlywed wife whose husband graduated with Brent.

“Have you noticed a change in Bill lately?” I asked.

“What do you mean?” she replied.

“Well, it’s hard to explain. Brent has kind of an edginess now that I haven’t seen before. Some language too. He seems frustrated and angry. Has Bill acted like this?”

She looked at me like I was purple and promptly shook her head. I walked away, sorry I ever mentioned it. Well, that was helpful, I thought to myself, embarrassed I’d made something out of nothing. Three weeks later I was stunned to learn this same gal returned to her mother’s home and filed for divorce. Obviously something was wrong, and she chose to shut up and get out. I wasn’t giving in so easily. I decided at that moment that I would hold on tight to my man and find help.

But help was hard to find. It seemed everyone was tight-lipped about their relationships. And many of Brent’s friends on the patrol were single. So I had to figure it out for myself. I wondered what I’d gotten myself into. Suddenly I was married to someone different, and it wasn’t what I had envisioned. But the one thing that carried me through this early season was the fact that I’d made a promise to Brent in front of God and everyone that I’d stay with him until “death do us part.” I had to make it work.

November 5th, 2012

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