For nearly two decades, I’ve been the wife of a police officer. Invariably, friends whose husbands do not require body armor to go to work ask how I cope with the inherent dangers of his job. They ask, as politely as possible, how I can live with the every-present possibility of being widowed and having to raise five children on my own. “How can you let him be a cop?” they ask, incredulously.
To which I reply, “How can I not let him be a cop?”
Whenever I encounter someone who asks me how I can “allow” my husband to be a police officer, it reveals a profound misunderstanding of his vocation. They see being a cop as something he does, whereas I see it as who he is. His vocation is as much a part of his makeup as his gorgeous blue eyes or his fantastic sense of humor. To ask him to set it aside for my own comfort would be like asking him to stop being kind or funny or intelligent.
And what if I did decide to pressure him into a different career? Instead of making our family life less stressful, it would gut it of all genuine peace. God gave my husband personality traits that make him ideally suited for police work. He possesses profound compassion and steely strength. He can read body language intuitively, which gives him the ability to detect lies in a person’s most minute movements. But he also has an unshakable faith in Divine Providence even in the face of profound evil. My husband’s desire to serve others and his innate sense of duty and honor made him a public servant before he ever put on the uniform.
To insist that my husband give up police work would rob him of the most natural and fitting outlet for his God-given personality and talents. It would give him a restless soul and make him unable to enjoy the time he spends with our family, time that is valuable and precious, but altogether different from the time he spends as a cop. The fulfilled man that joyfully scoops up our children into his arms each evening (or morning, depending on the shift) would disappear. And he would probably be replaced by a deeply unhappy man who is unable to be fully present to those he loves.
Part of what puzzles me as the wife of a police officer is the assumption that I want my husband to do something else. People just assume I tolerate his job, but that I would really rather he be putting on a suit and tie and going to an office every day. Admittedly, thinking about my strong, noble husband wrestling down a vomit- or urine-soaked drunk or desperate drug dealer is not exactly a turn-on. But knowing what that struggle represents—his willingness to risk everything, including his life, to protect the innocent…well, that’s every woman’s fantasy. The gun and the shaved head certainly help, but there is no aphrodisiac quite like being married to a modern-day knight. A silk tie will simply never compare to a Sam Brown.
Besides that, I put his life–and my future–in God’s hands. We know cops who have survived near point-blank, repeated gunshots, with the bullets appearing in the wall behind them. We’ve known others who died after a rogue bullet found the tiny unprotected spot in their vest and severed a vital artery. My husband even has a video of himself squatting down preparing to spike the tires of a man in a pursuit, who suddenly veered in his direction to run him down. A split second before the car would have hit him, my husband flew backward, his face just inches from the vehicle. The video shows him being pulled backward from the back of his belt, almost as if someone invisible (and very strong) had yanked him out of the way of the car. All of these scenarios have convinced us that his work, while physically riskier than some, makes him no more vulnerable to dying than the man who works from his home office every day. People forget that God, not us, has true sovereignty over life; we come into this life and pass out of it at His good pleasure, not ours.
But the biggest reason I choose to encourage my husband in his vocation is that it’s a witness to our Catholic faith that’s so desperately needed in our world. Every day, he risks his life to serve and protect the most vulnerable among us. He willingly stands between the most violent members of society and the rest of us. Countless men and women who wear the badge have willingly sacrificed their lives to protect others. “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13) The most remarkable thing about my husband is that he would die not just for family or friends, but for total strangers. It’s no wonder, then, that while I love my husband, I love my husband the cop even more, because he shows Jesus to me every time he goes to work.
In a world that depicts men as either buffoons or tyrants, it’s up to us, ladies, to reclaim the honor and dignity that belongs to our husbands. If we’re to see Jesus in every person, the easiest start is to begin with the man gracing our homes. So tell us, readers, how does YOUR husband reflect the beautiful heart of God?
15 Replies to “Christ in my Beloved: A Cop’s Wife Counts her Blessings”
My husband is an Air force officer and has been severing for 26 years. We get asked all the time are you not sick of this life. He should retire already. This sums up how we feel, thank you!
I remember having this conversation with you! I’m still in awe of the peace your family has over this. Not surprised and definitely not thinking you’re weird for it, but I admire it greatly. 🙂
Thank you so much for writing this. My Husband and I are approaching our first anniversary and he has been an officer most of the time we have been dating. While I still struggle with the fear of losing him and how devastating that would be, I feel just as you do: I couldn’t ask him to be anyone else, or even want it. Christ died for total strangers, and my husband is willing to do the same. God Bless, Thanks
(BTW, by husband takes the modern day Knight thing even further and has a functional suit of medieval steel armor, LOL)
“In a world that depicts men as either buffoons or tyrants, it’s up to us, ladies, to reclaim the honor and dignity that belongs to our husbands.”
Perfectly said! Society has tried to take away to very basic functions of a man – at work, in the home, and in the Church. May God allow more of us to see (and respect) their tender strength as the head of our families – our protectors!
Through a series of unfortunate (or not, because it brought us to the Church and AK), my husband works in a field that he does not like at all. He does it for us every day, a quiet sacrifice. He keeps his tough guy alive by doing things like building our house himself, taking the kids hunting, and traversing glaciers (with kids, yikes), so even that part of him is tied up with me and our children; again,every day, all the time, 23 years now. Plus he gives me blue-eyed towheaded cuties!
Blessings and a thank you to your husband, and to you as well.
And Blessings and a thank you to all those who put their lives on the line so the rest of us can live in relative peace.
Misty, I just retired after 27 years with the NY State Troopers. I NEVER would have thrived in my career without the unwavering support of my wife, Colleen. You and your husband are a team – and heroes to your children. Thank you both and please extend my best wishes to and prayer intentions for your husband.
I loved this article! My husband is also a cop, and I truly believe that it is his vocation too. He has had some amazing opportunities to witness his faith to people at the end of their rope and give them hope. Yes, I worry for his safety, but I know that he is doing what God has called him to, and so I have to entrust him into God’s arms.
Plus, I agree that he’s pretty hunky in his uniform too 😉
God Bless you and your husband!
As a 30 year veteran police officer and now a Catholic priest, I must say this is one of the best articles, if not the best article, I’ve ever read about police “back-up.” Thank you very much for your service as well as your husband’s.
There has never been, for not even the slightest fraction of a second, any doubt about the fact that “we work for God!”
May God Bless you, Misty, as He has your husband. My wife has had the same mindset for 33 years now being married to me.
Your writing is beautiful and profound. Thank you for sharing yourself with all of us.
This is so beautiful, I couldn’t have ever put it into words so perfect! Thank you. By the way my husband took that picture of the trooper, I have the exact same picture of my hubby and its one of my favorites 🙂
thank you to all of you with husbands who protect us. I live in (small town) Ontario Canada. My husband, my hero, is an accountant. He shows Christ to me daily in the hidden ways that he helps all those who come to him. Richer and poorer, he guides them through government regulations for their best interests. He helps the elderly, single moms and others by getting them the credits or government support they need. Because of the very confidential nature of his work, people are not aware of how much he gives. He works many long hours and is the best husband and father for us!
As I was reading this, I was thinking of my father. A plumber and pipe-fitter, he opted to do service work (read: unplugging commercial drains and crawling around in sewers, etc) so that he could have more flexibility in his schedule, and wouldn’t be sent for months at a time to all the corners of New England for work. Service work (though it earned him the nickname “Sewer Bob”) kept him close to home, and made it possible for him to be there at almost every sporting event any of his kids ever participated in, and let him be present at the dinner table nearly every night. (I can literally think of maybe 2 games he missed while I was playing sports.) It wasn’t his first choice of work — he has a brilliant, analytical mind, and is adept at putting systems together, so a life spent taking care of someone else’s handywork wasn’t the pinnacle of fulfilling. However, it gave him the opportunity to more fully engage in his primary vocation — being a husband and father. For that, I’m beyond grateful. And that experience informed my own choice of spouse.
Thank you, Misty, for this amazing article! My husband, also AST, was in a plane crash a few years back. His injuries were, thank the LORD, very minor and everyone “congratulated” us on our “luck”. We both made a point of gently correcting. We were not lucky but BLESSED! As you so eloquently pointed out, the sovereign God ordains our steps. In our house, we tend to point out, one’s just as likely to get hit by a bus. . .if there were buses in the bush.;) THANK YOU again for this amazing summation of what so many of us feel but don’t have the ability to express!
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