My husband is a cop.

We met as college freshmen and as our relationship grew, I knew that by loving him I would become a police officer’s wife. I had a choice back then: step away and avoid the chaotic life of law enforcement, or step closer and embrace him through all that was to come.

I chose to stay. Love is stronger than fear, right?

There is so much in the news these days about police conduct and misconduct. I hear the reports–believe me, I hear them. And every single story cuts into a part of my heart I try to shield from pain.

Before every shift, I watch my husband strap on his bullet proof vest. I hear him check the chamber of his duty weapon. He fastens his gear belt and laces his boots, transforming before my eyes into a warrior prepared for battle. That might sound a bit dramatic to you if you’ve never walked in my shoes, but ask any spouse of a law enforcement officer and she will tell you the same thing. My husband is physically and mentally on duty while wearing the uniform and badge, even before he leaves our house. He is well trained and prepared for whatever comes his way.

Have you ever been in an accident? Have you ever witnessed a crime, or been the victim of a crime? If so, then you might appreciate what cops do for you in those moments. How they help calm you down, help you figure out your next step, and walk with you along the way. But the general public sees little of that. They see cops out to get them for speeding. They see the flashing lights race through an intersection and breathe a sigh of relief that today is not their day for a ticket. My husband is so much more than that.

He comes home after a long shift and hands me his broken pieces. A child died today, one he tried to bring back to life with his own breath. A teenager ended his life today, and my husband responded to the mother’s desperate cry for help. A family self destructed today, a drug addiction broke them up, scattering the kids into foster care. One day at a time, one shift at a time, I take my husband’s broken pieces and do the only thing I know how to do—help him hold them, and keep holding on to him.

This is the life we chose. It’s a life filled with purpose, servant hood, and humility. Not all cops are power hungry. Not all cops are corrupt. My cop is a son, a husband, and a father out there doing his job, providing for our family, all the while doing his best to keep his promise to come home to me at the end of his shift. As a cop’s wife, I live with the reality every day that this might be the day he can’t keep his promise. I carry that burden in secret, as I fiercely love my husband and declare myself to be the heartbeat behind his badge.

May 10th – 16th is Law Enforcement Appreciation Week. Please take a moment to thank a police officer and his family. It means so much to us, much more than you know. With your support, love is indeed stronger than fear.

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