In 12 years I’ve been married to three men – sort of.
I mean technically, he’s the same man, but career-wise it is three very different men. I would never have guessed 18 years ago when I met this tall, fast-talking, geology/paleontology studying man child that he would someday be a police officer, but only after a stint as a lawyer. In fairness, I guarantee he didn’t predict that either.
Copyright: konradbak / 123RF Stock Photo
Would I still want to marry him knowing what he would become?
I surely didn’t date and marry him because of his career choice. However his career choice has influenced our marriage and family life.
Thirty-seven years old.
Today marks the birthday of my favorite man.
It’s hard to believe I’ve known him for nearly 18 of those years. I still remember the very first time I saw him. He was slowly pedaling away on an old, rickety stationary bike in the activity room of my freshman year residence hall. He, a community advisor, had brought his floor of residents to my hall for a program that my community advisor had organized. I don’t even remember the program, but I took notice of the tall, older looking guy on the bike.
Who knew he was actually – as he reminds everyone- 53 days younger than me?
He has always looked older than me, something that any woman who is older than her significant other will gladly accept.
So I married my college sweetheart, three men in one?!
The man I married – law student.
So he wasn’t a law student when we got married, he was an aspiring law student – he started law school six weeks after we got married.
We spent our newlywed years with him pouring over law books and studying A LOT.
So much in fact that I decided I better just get my Master’s Degree because I had a lot of free time on my hands while he studied. He was a non-traditional law student because he wasn’t fresh out of undergrad and he was married.
During my marriage to law school Brian I learned the fine art of spending time on my own and respecting his needs for study and decompressing time.
During those three years, I was the breadwinner, whatever that means when you’re barely making ends meet. We didn’t have much money, but we paid our bills, we found cheap and free ways to have date nights when the rigors of law school allowed us time together, and we managed with only one car. There were a lot of hamburger helper meals back in those days; I’m thankful that we learned to budget from day one.
The time he spent studying for the bar exam was one of the more difficult times for both of us. He was constantly studying and stressing, and I was trying to make life as easy as possible for him.
He studied non-stop. In fact, if we were traveling to visit one of our families he studied while I drove or I quizzed him with scenarios while he drove.
It was a LONG two months, similar only to the long two months we had to wait to get the results back to see if he passed.
He passed and then came the second man I married.
No longer a struggling, law school student I was now married to a struggling, commuting prosecutor.
This husband of mine commuted to work, leaving the house at 7 and not returning until nearly 6 – never mind the bad weather days.
He had long days, which only became longer as we welcomed our first child into our family. I remember many days in those early weeks of Cassidy’s life when I would count down the hours until he would return. It was lonely and exhausting being home with a newborn for so many hours.
I hated his long commute (I’m sure not as much as he did), and it cut into family time.
I was always jealous of those families who got eat dinner together at a reasonable time and spend time together before bed. It seemed like our nights were so short, but we always had the weekends.
As long as he wasn’t on call – which wasn’t too terribly often – we had our weekends to spend as a family or catch up with friends. If he was on call, it meant middle of the night calls and/or trips to the jail for morning jail call.
Did you know the holidays typically bring on more domestic arrests – something I learned being married to a prosecutor? There was always jail call on those days.
I thought being married to a commuting prosecutor was difficult, but I could not have predicted then that my next husband would challenge my view of family time in ways I hadn’t known since I was a child.
After four years as a prosecutor, Brian changed careers to a police officer.
The grueling three-month schedule of the police academy was difficult for the entire family – who knew it was just preparing us for life as a police family. During the academy I was a weekday single parent.
Luckily, for me, I grew up with a dad who did shift work and worked holidays. So this way of life was not completely foreign to me.
It doesn’t make it easy; it just makes it bearable.
After five years as a police family we’re finally figuring it out – the best anyone can. Now my husband and I share a bed just as much as we don’t. Half of every week he sleeps while I work and I sleep while he works.
Being married to this man means having tough skin. I have to have tough skin when I hear people talk bad about police officers. I have to have tough skin when my kids continually tell me they miss Daddy and wish he could read stories and tuck them in.
To think I thought the schedule of a commuting husband was bad and intrusive to family time. I had no idea what family life could be like.
I’ve learned to accept this schedule and find the positives.
- We can sometimes have date day in the middle of the week in the middle of the day now.
- His commute is now only 5 minutes, which does give him a lot more time with the family.
- We eat dinner together every night.
- Amelia gets a whole day every week with just her and her daddy, and before Cassidy was in school, she had that privilege too. This allows my daughters special bonding time with their dad.
- He also makes more money and is eligible for overtime. This is definitely helping us pay down our debt faster.
Every one of these changes in the man I married has required flexibility, a period of transition and acceptance at what our new life entailed.
I know that I too have changed in the 12 years that we’ve been married. Brian has had to be flexible, accepting and loving throughout these changes.
On our wedding day, we pledged to love each other and accept each other always.
It would surely be boring if we never changed from those 19-year-old kids who met each other so many years ago.
Happy Birthday to my favorite man who always keeps me on my toes. I wonder what the next 18 years together are going to bring.