CopsAlive asked relationship expert Janice Hoffman for some suggestions that police officers could consider before they become involved in a committed relationship or marriage and here is her article with some of our cop specific additions.
Falling in love is a beautiful thing. When we meet that special person, we want get to know them. We ask lots of questions, listen with curiosity and in the process fall deeper in love. If it feels right, we make the decision to share the rest of our lives together.
As a cop the desire to go from being single to married is a big step and should be taken very seriously. Sometimes the person we fall in love with has responsibilities they bring with them so it behooves us to learn as much as possible about this person we love and want to marry. Don’t forget also that inviting someone into the world of law enforcement also carries a lot of baggage and some people may not be ready so don’t withhold information from them thinking that you are helping them. It is always a good idea to fully inform your prospective mate of all that you think is important for them to know about your police career.
Getting married is a statement of how you choose to spend the rest of your life. Having the desire to be successful in our marriage, we must be proactive. With that said, logistics also have their place in relationships. Are you learning what makes your partner tick? Do you know what they want and expect from you-and how they envision your relationship unfolding? Have you talked about what your marriage will look like? Do you know how often your partner expects to make love?
Set aside a time to ask each other these questions. Use them as a guide to know-at a deeper level-your beloved. There are no wrong answers, only insights into who your partner is and what they want and need.
These are questions that require a lot of thought. Take your time with each one. Don’t answer them all in one sitting. If you get stuck, put that question on hold for now and go to the next one. Don’t allow one question to keep you from finishing the list. Let these questions be a guide for you to get to know each other at a deeper level.
The best marriages are built on a strong foundation. When you have the tools to build the relationship of your dreams, you can have one that will last a lifetime!
1. Do you want to have children? If you do, how many do you want?
2. If we aren’t able to have kids, will we remain childless? Will we adopt or seek other alternatives?
3. If we do have kids, who will stay home with the children?
4. Should we have a prenuptial agreement?
5. How will we spend our vacations? Will we take vacations together or apart or both?
6. What strategy will we use to resolve arguments?
7. What are your feelings about being monogamy? About cheating?
8. What discipline style do you want to use with our children?
9. What religion will we practice, if any? Will we attend church, as a couple? As a family?
10. What are expectations around sex? Frequency?
11. Who will handle making sure the bills are paid every month?
12. How will we combine our incomes and divide expenses?
13. Where do you see us in 2 years? 5 years? 10 years? 20 years?
14. Are you a morning person or a late night person?
15. Who will do the grocery shopping?
16. Who will do the cooking?
17. How will we divide up the housework? Before kids? After kids?
18. What are your spending habits? How much should we put in savings monthly?
19. Does your family have a history of mental illness?
20. What are your goals, long term and short term?
21. Where will you live? Whose house will you live in? Will you get a new place?
22. How will you communicate your needs?
23. What are your personal boundaries?
24. What is the best way to support you when you are stressed, upset or overwhelmed?
25. How will we ensure the success of our marriage? What will we do to keep it healthy and strong?
I would add a 26th. How do they feel about you being a cop? Ask about issues of shift work, dealing with the dangers and fears and if they can handle the whole career package.
Author Janice Hoffman is an ordained minister and expert on the theory and practice of personal relationships. In Relationship Rules, Janice reveals a new way of looking at relationships – with ourselves and with others. You can learn more at her website at www.RelationshipRules.com