Police families may experience times that are incredibly rewarding however the challenges and unpredictability of rosters, workload and high stress environments associated with police life can also lead to family distress and relationship difficulties.
Fostering a positive work life balance is key to maintaining a good relationship and it’s important to be aware that harmonious relationships don’t just happen, you have to continually work at it.
Life is continually evolving and changing and there may be times where you feel things are running along smoothly but then suddenly things change or issues start to arise slowly that puts pressure on a normally happy relationship.
It’s normal for couples to experience problems and challenges as well as times where things are happy and harmonious, the key here is self-awareness and understanding the signs that things are unravelling or not quite going to plan.
Sometimes life is busy, and we don’t take time to stop and reflect and perhaps build new and innovative strategies into our relationship to care for ourselves and each other.
Children can also add to a very busy workload and take priority with family commitments which means finding time to do things as a couple becomes difficult however it’s important to be aware that simple strategies involving time to enjoy each other’s company needs to be high on the priority list.
Listening 100% to each other with respect and working as a team when allowing space to hear how each other is feeling, including any issues or worries keeps the lines of communication open. It’s important to note that when communication starts to break down, this is often the first sign of an underlying problem or difficulty that one or both in the partnership may be facing.
Self Help Strategies to maintain healthy relationships;
- Try not to withhold issues or concerns, speaking about what’s on your mind or what you are concerned about is best tackled sooner than later
- Using respectful language with a calm tone is the best way to voice your concerns, avoid yelling, blaming, excusing or negative attacks
- Stay in tune with the positive aspects in the relationship and try to focus on a solution that will be mutually beneficial
- Spend time together but also make time to be apart doing the things that replenish and give you joy and happiness
- Be considerate and emotionally present so intimacy is not lost, consider a warm hug when appropriate and be mindful to include affection in the relationship as a sign of love and respect
- Share the load! This can be vitally important when both partners are working, consider how you can make things easier on the whole family by contributing to household chores, children’s needs and general responsibilities
- Plan a holiday break, whether it’s a short get away or a longer vacation, book in advance and work towards taking time out.
If things just don’t seem right and you are finding it difficult to communicate, seeking help via counselling and family support should be considered. Counselling is generally available via state police jurisdictions Employee Assistance Programs by booking a confidential session with a counsellor.
Additionally, resources for family members are often supported via the police family support coordinator who can recommend resources and support groups.
Other options include asking your GP for a mental health plan which will allow access to counselling services with the clinician of your choice under the Medicare benefit scheme.
You can download the MESHA Family Guide 2021 for more information