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  • 19 Oct 2015 6:56 AM | Cooper Landvatter (Administrator)

    11 keys to a successful marriage from a police officer's perspective

    The foundation of any relationship — at least one that is healthy — should include open and honest communication, trust, and respect

    May 29, 2015


    As a follow-up to 10 pieces of advice from police spouses for a successful marriage, it only seemed fair to ask the other half what they thought. I wondered how similar or different the responses would be. Would any discrepancies help explain the number of divorces in police families?

    The following is a compilation of thoughts, ideas, and suggestions provided by male officers regarding their marriages, relationships with their significant other.

    1. Sometimes, I need things from you, but I either don’t know how to ask or am too embarrassed or scared to ask.

    2. I don’t always want or need to be in control.

    3. Being married is great, but I also need time with my friends and time to do things I like. I need ‘me time’ and I need you to understand it is not that I don’t want to spend time with you or my family, but that it helps me recharge.

    4. Laughter is very important, but know that my sense of humor may be a bit morbid from time to time. Don’t judge me, it helps me deal with things I see and do.

    5. I want to be able to share more with you. I want to share more about what I do, who I am, and why I am the way I am, but sometimes, I fear sharing things like this with you. I am not purposely withholding information, but just trying to protect you and me. I know you are strong, that is why I married you, but there will just be some things I cannot or will not share. Don’t pry.

    6. I will make mistakes. I will make bad decisions. I feel like I always have to be right at work and I may even bring this home with me. I may need you to remind me of this from time to time.

    7. I don’t like missing important events — birthdays, anniversaries, holidays — but I enjoy the work I do and please know that my sacrifices are not in vain.

    8. I need quality time from you when we are together. This is a dangerous job and nothing is ever promised. I don’t want an argument or fight to be the last thing we say or do.

    9. Physical and emotional intimacy is extremely important. It is healthy, it keeps us from straying, and keeps us from temptation. It also brings us closer together.

    10. I don’t have all the answers. We will have rough patches. We may even need to seek out professional assistance in our marriage, for my health, or for our family, and I need your support and guidance without fear of judgment.

    11. I love sharing things with you, but I need to have someone that has been there and done what I do. Sometimes, I just need another cop’s perspective.

    Police relationships are not for the faint of heart. These relationships demand strong, committed individuals. It can be difficult to get officers to open up, and understandably so because many are very private people. The officers above had the benefit of anonymity — in your relationship, you do not.

    However, your significant other wants to know what you think makes your relationship happy and healthy. They value your thoughts and opinions and more importantly, they value you and this relationship.

    About the author

    Dr. Olivia Johnson holds a master’s in Criminology and Criminal Justice from the University of Missouri, St. Louis and a doctorate in Organizational Leadership Management from the University of Phoenix – School of Advanced Studies. Perseverance in raising awareness to officer wellness resulted in her being named the Illinois State Representative and Board Member for the National P.O.L.I.C.E. Suicide Foundation. This role led to her being invited to speak at the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit’s 2010 – Beyond Survival Toward Officer Wellness (BeSTOW) Symposium.

    Dr. Johnson is a veteran of the United States Air Force and a former police officer. She collaborates with several law enforcement publications and is a columnist for She was recently asked to lead the peer support section with Crisis Systems Management, where she trains Military and Law Enforcement personnel worldwide on Critical Incident Peer Support (CIPS) and Law Enforcement Resiliency – Peer Support (LERPS).

    Dr. Johnson and the Blue Wall Institute have partnered with the University of Wisconsin-Platteville to bring The Balanced Warrior: Proactive Officer Wellness class online. Recent speaking engagements include: FBI National Academy Associates Conference 2013, International Association of Chiefs of Police [IACP] Conference 2013, National Interdiction Conference 2013, Midwest Security & Police Conference 2012, and the International Law Enforcement Educators & Trainers Association [ILEETA] 2012.

    For further information on the Blue Wall Institute and Dr. Olivia Johnson, visit

    Contact Olivia Johnson

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