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If you are currently or have been married, you know it’s tough work. If you want to have a successful and peaceful marriage, understanding the importance of forgiveness and communication is critical.

My wife and I were married at a very young age. I packed my bags about 12 times during the first year of our marriage. I was a horrible husband. In the first several years of our marriage, I held around seven different jobs. I was unstable, uncommitted, extremely immature and ill-prepared for marriage.

There are many reasons why there are so many marriage dissolutions along police officers. The foundation of any relationship — at least one that is healthy — should include open and honest communication, trust, and respect.

After several years, I began to settle down. I didn’t settle down because I found my “dream job.” Rather, I settled down because I became a father, and I realized my wife and child’s lives were more important than my own. I survived marriage because of the love my wife showed me. She was forgiving and I was forgiving. When problems arose, they were mainly because of miscommunication or lack of communication. Once I learned my passion, understood how I was created and why, life became a little clearer for me.

Tie these issues into the stress of one or both spouses being in law enforcement and you will quickly see the reason for so many marriage dissolution’s in the profession. Many couples live under loads of tremendous debt, constant stress, busy schedules and tons of activities for the kids. So how can we have lasting marriages? Here are some ways I revolutionized my marriage.

Prioritize communication.

We realize the importance of communicating with our superiors, peers and community at a professional level. How do you feel about communication with your spouse? Communication should be number one, two, three, four and five on this list. It is truly critical to relationships.

Not merely communicating, but how we communicate with our spouse is vital. When we communicate with hate, resentment or jealousy, we are ineffective. When we have a bad day on the job, we should remember to take time and cool down before interacting with our family.

Be present.

You may be asking, “What in the world does this mean?” It means when you are with your spouse, be in the moment. Put the smartphone and tablets down. Return your emails, messages and calls later.

Look at your spouse as your teammate. Your time is already stretched thin, so when you are with your spouse, be with your spouse.

Never stop pursuing your spouse.

Always pursue your spouse. Send your spouse texts. Comment on your spouse’s beauty. Praise him or her in public. Hold your spouse’s hand. Hold the door open. I could go on, but, you get the drill.

Your spouse wants you to continue this pursuit. They don’t want to feel like trophies that were won in a contest. Never. Stop. Dating. Ever.

Treat your spouse with kindness.

You’ve heard the saying, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” This applies to marriage as well. Kindness is a rare quality nowadays, and it’s easy to take someone we love for granted.

Show your spouse kindness, respect and love. When he or she performs some act of kindness to you, show your appreciation. Kindness shows you have a concern for your spouse. Trust me when I say, you will not regret showing kindness. It is easy to dismiss the need for this when we are continually around negativity, evil and hate. Don’t allow your day to contaminate the kindness your spouse deserves.

Forgive freely.

I have been on both sides of this issue. We should be free to forgive our spouses as we would want someone to be free to forgive us. Everyone makes mistakes – I have learned this lesson the hard way.

Maintain balance.

When you go on duty, leave the stuff from home at home. I am talking about the money problems, the argument you had with your spouse, the plans for the upcoming weekend. Focus on your duty to make it home at the end of your shift and to ensure your brothers and sisters make it home as well.

In the same light, however, when you prepare to go off duty at the end of shift, leave what happened at work at work. Your family doesn’t deserve to be the punching bag for the mess you dealt with on duty.

You could choose to be intimidating, refuse to cooperate, negotiate, or compromise, but your spouse may not wait on you to change forever. Focus on loving your spouse. Focus on why you are doing what it is you are doing. If you are going to experience any level of success in your career and relationship, you will have to establish a fine balance between the two of them, or one – or both – will destroy you.

 

Adam Davis is a former police officer who knows the stress and pressures our law enforcement officers’ face. As an author and speaker, his mission is to offer help and hope to those who walk the thin blue line. He is the author of five books including Behind the Badge and Bulletproof Marriage. In his writing, Adam provides spiritual nourish¬ment and encouragement for law enforcement officers through personal stories, scripture, and prayers. Adam is passionate about his faith, family, and his divine purpose. However, he is most proud of his role as husband to Amber and father to three precious children. More info is available at www.TheAdamDavis.com

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