If you are married to a police officer, your marriage can experience a unique strain. Police families experience stresses that other families do not have. Officers often work odd hours, can't openly communicate about some of the things they see at work, and may have trouble unwinding after a tough day on the force. Here's how you can keep your marriage from suffering from the extra pressure of police work.
1. Schedule time together.
Because of the long days or nights that can come with police scheduling, having a regular home schedule can be a challenge. Unlike other couples, you can't set aside every Friday night for date night. But you can still schedule time together. Every month, review your upcoming schedule and set aside two or three days during the month when you can go on dates together. Don't let the busyness of work and life overshadow your schedules to the point that you never have any time together to fuel your marriage.
2. Communicate needs.
Police officers can see things at work that stay with them forever, and they can't necessarily communicate some of those things to people at home. But, you can still communicate needs. If the officer has had a bad experience at work with a trying case, they should say so, and then say what they need. Those needs might be space, some time to sleep it off, time with family, or time to process what happened. As a spouse, be prepared to give what is needed. Don't try and force your police spouse to talk about what happened in detail, but encourage communication about how they feel about what happened and how you can help.
3. Take time to disconnect.
Police work can take over home life. Police officers should take time when coming home from work to disconnect. This means turning off the police radio to quiet the chatter and turning on other content such as music or an audiobook. Maybe you could call home on your drive to talk to family members in order to prepare yourself for being home, disconnecting from the world of policing.
4. Use time off.
Use your days off and vacation time to do things together. You can bank vacation time for money, which can be tempting, or you can take time off to then work overtime, which can help your budget. These strategies, however, won't always help your marriage. Be sure you use the time off for family togetherness and strengthening your relationship.
For more tips like these, reach out to a marriage therapy clinic near you.