If you’re in law enforcement, there’s a good chance you’re going to get divorced. For many, there may be multiple divorces in your future. For some, multiple divorces are already in your past. Let’s face it, the divorce rate is high among cops and we know a few things about why — we spend all day performing pat down searches, cavity probes, and cuffing people. Then our tour ends and we do it all over again at home!
Many years ago I got divorced. We went to a marriage counselor for a while but he wasn’t very good. He kept referring to that big yellow book — Marriage for Dummies! I decided the marriage counselor was a waste of time and money. Instead, I went to WrestleMania and hired a Referee. We got the one that looks away when you go for the choke hold or an eye gouge! He even missed the Corkscrew Leg Drop and my personal favorite, the Macarena Pile Driver!
In any event (and I’m not talking about a Steel Cage Match event), I came up with 793 reasons why cops get divorced. Since I can’t list them all, here are my top five reasons — along with suggestions that may help save your marriage:
5. Fast Food Junkie: Like the crack heads we bust and put in jail, cops also develop an addiction. Our addiction is to fast foods and comfort foods like Caramel frappuccinos and candy bars. Running calls for eight hours and dragging the sack at McDonald’s or Taco Bell will catch up to you and one day you’ll wake up wearing a XXXXL uniform shirt and a special order 58-inch Sam Browne and divorce papers! Try bagels instead of donuts, fresh fruit instead of donuts, salads instead of donuts, and lots and lots vegetables instead of donuts. If you’re a two-man unit, you might want to go easy on the broccoli! Your partner will appreciate it and so will your spouse.
4. SWSD: You’re a cop. You’ve either had it or you’re going to get it! Maybe you have it right now! Shift Work Sleep Disorder. It’s ugly and it can tear a marriage a part but you can overcome it. Don’t drink caffeinated beverages 4 hours before bedtime, blacken out your bedroom windows, and keep the room temperature cool. Safeguard your sleep. Be tough about the sanctity of getting enough sleep. Place a sign outside your bedroom door and by the front and back entrances of your residence reminding people you are a police officer, and part of the many tools on your tool belt include a handgun, pepper spray, a taser, and a baton and your not afraid to use them! Get your rest, nobody likes a grouch!
3. Killer Jobs: There are jobs and then there are killer jobs. A cop’s job is dangerous, we already know that. But when you spend every waking hour in cop mode, it can kill your marriage and it might even kill you. Make time for your family. Have friends outside your circle of law enforcement. Get a hobby. I don’t mean going to a gun show or collecting police patches. Instead, build a robot or join a paranormal investigation club and become a ghost hunter. Goes BASE jumping. Go storm chasing. Research UFO’s in your area. Take a basket weaving class. Go to culinary school and learn to cook and invent great meals. But again, stay away from too much broccoli.
2. Thinking the Grass is Greener: Low pay, working holidays, forced overtime, going to family disturbances, traffic fatalities, fights in progress, high speed chases, and the list goes on and on… Remember, this was your “dream job”. You’re supposed to be “living the dream.” Most of us would say “we wouldn’t have it any other way.” The truth of the matter is being a cop is also very stressful and stressful for spouses and families of cops. So before you trade your spouse in for a mail order bride or think you’re going to ‘trade up,’ go see a funny movie instead, or go to a comedy club with your significant other and get your laugh on!
1. Overweight and Out of Shape: When you graduated from the police academy, you were height weight proportionate or as close to it as you’ll ever be. Now your nick name is ‘Tubby.’ You have to wipe down the interior of your patrol car for remnants of chocolate Éclairs, sliders and seasoned curly fries, not to mention half eaten powdered donuts. So it’s time to exercise and while you’re at it, bring your spouse along. Pick an activity you both like and do it together. Bicycling, racquetball, coed softball, or weight training are some good examples. Stay away from activities like boxing; dodge ball or Australian slap fighting, which are all fun but when you get exhausted, the whole slap thing isn’t funny anymore.
Laughter is Good for Your Health
Laughter relaxes the whole body. A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes. It’s way more fun than basket weaving (although, yeah, basket weaving is actually pretty funny itself). What else can laughter do for you? For starters, how do these three things sound?
1. Laughter boosts the immune system: Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease. And decreases your chances of becoming a grouch!
2. Laughter triggers the release of endorphins: The body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain. Better than beer or Vicodin.
3. Laughter protects the heart: Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.