Sincerely, Wife of a Police Officer: Michelle’s Story
Hearing from a police officer’s wife today! Michelle and I were co-workers and our relationship grew into a very sweet friendship. We became friends before either one of us got married and bonded over the irregular schedules our fiancés/husbands had to endure. I really cherished our conversations because we would mutually try to encourage each other, instead of just venting about our frustrations.
Q. Please share a little bit about yourself and your husband
Michelle: My name is Michelle and my husband, “Officer A”, and I have been married for 7 months. We are in our mid-20’s. I work currently for a church and he is a police officer. We love to travel and play board games. My favorite thing about our relationship is that we are always laughing together.
Q. What parts of your husband’s job requires him to travel or be away from home for long period at a time?
Michelle: My husband commutes for about an hour and a half each way to work and he works for 12 hour shifts. Sometimes he will get overtime depending on what happens at work that day, so his shifts can go even longer than 12 hours. His shifts are always overnight. Since I work during normal business hours, our schedules are opposite.
Q. What are some of your struggles with a husband who travels frequently or is gone often?
Michelle: I get a lot less sleep now! I try to stay awake or wake up when I normally wouldn’t in order to spend time with him when he’s home. It’s difficult on me physically because I have to be rested for work, but otherwise I would have to sacrifice quality time with him. Sometimes we have to just pass each other by on the way to going somewhere. For a while I would feel scared or sad that he has to work at night and I would have to be home alone and sleep alone all night. We sleep at opposite hours, so we usually only have a couple of waking hours together. When he has a day off and we’d like to do something with family or even just a fun day-date, it’s difficult because he usually has to wake up during the time he’d normally be asleep and he’s really tired. He often misses out on holidays or events because he works weekends and holidays a lot of the time. Sometimes it’s hard to catch up or feel like we’re on the same page with so much time apart.
Q. How do you find joy in your circumstances?
Michelle: At first I didn’t find any joy in our circumstances! I know that sounds very ungrateful, but I’ve gained some understanding and I think God is using this time in our lives to really grow us and especially to grow me. I would be sick with worry about his safety any time he was at work, I would begrudge the fact that we couldn’t spend a lot of time together, I would complain about it, and I would feel sad a lot. But, through a lot of prayer and time, God has really been working in me and showing me the beauty in our circumstances. For one thing, I’m extremely blessed to have this man in my life at all. He has been such a good partner to me and I’m so grateful that he’s in my life. He is always really positive about everything which lifts me up and gives me a fresh perspective. He works really hard in order to provide for us, too. On a side note — I am an introvert, so I recently began to start appreciating the time I get to myself and to spend time with God. (More on what I do with my time below). “A” is also an introvert and I’m glad he gets to do the things he enjoys (like playing video games) when I’m asleep. We also don’t have children yet, so it’s been nice to be able to build a foundation together, mature as a couple, and learn how to work through things before becoming parents. These challenges have given us the opportunity to learn so much, and I’m grateful for that. Basically, this situation has taught me to be more grateful and appreciative of what I DO have, rather than focus on what I lack. I can’t compare our relationship to anyone else’s. We create our own traditions and holidays and we really make the most of the time we have together. On his days off, we make every day special and different. Sometimes we even have themed dates! Like “guys night” where we eat junk food, play video games together, and watch a movie at home. Or we make a plan for what we’ll do on his day off, like go to our local drive-in movie theater or have a nice dinner out on the town even if it’s a random Tuesday night (it’s great to beat the crowds!). Doing new things together keeps things fun. Making the little moments in life special really make a difference.
Q. What do you usually do to keep busy?
Michelle: When “A” is at work, I use that time to wind down from my day or week. I often pray, read, reflect, plan, and think of the future. I have been trying to come up with meal plans lately (still working on it) and getting organized. I try to come up with creative projects for the house or things we can do together when he’s off. I also try to do little things to make him feel special, like leave a note where he might find it when I’m at work. I catch up on cleaning, too, because then I don’t have to take any time away from him when he’s home. I’ve also learned to use my free time to be with friends and family! This is a big one. I am able to really maintain and deepen my relationships with my friends and family which is important, because I live about an hour from them and it would be difficult to see them as often if “A” was home on the weekends more. One other really beneficial activity is to have a hobby that I enjoy. I recently started taking a community dance class after not dancing for a while. I missed dancing, so this is something I can do for myself and enjoy while getting in some exercise. I think it’s a great idea for both a husband and wife to have hobbies they enjoy individually as well as together.
Q. How has your faith played a role in your specific situation?
Michelle: Like I said previously, I think God has really been using this situation to grow me and us in our marriage. I have learned so much already. I feel like my faith has been tested at times, but it’s all a lesson to always rely on God. We’ve had ups and downs, miscommunications, and times of exhaustion, but through it all we are gaining more understanding and strength. God knew what he was doing when he brought us together, because “A” challenges me in all the areas I really need to grow in. He is also like an angel to me, because he has seen me at my worst and loves me unconditionally, never falters, and has taught me so much about myself. It’s also a testament to how God can create beauty in less-than-ideal situations, like helping us to appreciate the time we have together more and giving us time to ourselves to refresh and come together even stronger. I’ve also grown in my prayer-life. We rely on God so much to get us through difficult times, as well as scary times that arise in his job. We unfortunately can’t go to church together because of his schedule, but I often send him sermons from our pastor that he can listen to on his commute. His faith in particular can get challenged in the type of work he’s in, so I try to encourage him whenever possible. God is still at work in us and will continue to be throughout our marriage.