Remember that game? Everyone sits in a circle.The beginning of all riveting games. One person whispers something into the ear of another person and it travels the circle. Usually, what is spoken at the end is a far cry from the original statement. Something gets lost somewhere in translation.

I like to call this marriage. Minus all the people in the middle. Unless you have children.

For example, I say one thing. My husband hears something all together different. (All right, and vice-versa.) Communication is challenging. But in our house, there’s another factor in the mix.

The language of law enforcement.

After years of having a toddler or two underfoot, I’m pretty fluent in tantrum and exhaustion. And likewise, my husband’s experience among the less than virtuous in our society has made him fluent in his own language.

Here are some examples. The first statement is something I might say. The second statement is what my husband hears after a lightning flash translation in his head.

Outing to the park. Translation, “ER visit.”

Grocery store. “Potential abduction.”

Solicitor at the front door. “Home invasion.”

The language of law enforcement.

This translation issue came to light again recently. I was returning from a weekend away. (My husband is awesome.) As we got on the freeway, I asked my friend to send a text to my husband so he would know were on our way. He likes to know these things, but maybe that’s another blog. Long story short, the auto correct feature kicked into high gear and the text that was sent was not a correct representation of the situation. It was kind of funny, I thought. So did my friend. We laughed and she asked if I thought he would decipher it. Within seconds, my phone was ringing. My husband was calling. His take on the message was that I had been kidnapped. He was not laughing. Between him dialing my cell phone and my friend answering, he had worked out which office he was going to call to roll out the rescue squad.

The language of law enforcement.

I used to think my husband was paranoid. Or that he didn’t find me competent. Those opinions made for some lively marital conversations. But I’ve come to discover that my law enforcement husband simply speaks a different language. And as I take the time to listen to the incidents that have transformed his thought processes, I find it much easier to give him grace. He loves us. And he fights to keep us separate from the horror he’s seen.

He took an oath to serve and protect. He takes that oath seriously every day. And at the top of that list are the one’s he loves. He doesn’t sit atop a white stead with shiny armor.  Somedays it’s a grungy uniform with just a shiny star on his chest. But the bottom line? I’m trying to learn his language. It’s one way I can show him I love him too.

Can you relate? What languages are spoken in your home?


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9 Comments on "WHAT?"

  1. Krista
    23/08/2012 at 11:36 pm Permalink

    I completely understand, my husband is the same way! Love him for it, even when it can be frustrating sometimes.

  2. Susan Basham
    28/08/2012 at 2:00 pm Permalink

    How did I miss this? I only saw it on your wall after wishing you happy birthday…..FB…what the heck? Anyway, I HAVE to know what that message you sent David said. I’m assuming it was on the way home from my house in Tahoe? haha
    PM me, if it’s not fit for the public. Gotta love autocorrect.
    My husband speaks “Lawyer”….it’s own little form of law enforcement, with a slightly different twist but pretty much the same. Factor me in, Ms. Paranoid, and you’ve gotta hot mess around here. I found David’s interpretations quite believable and acceptable, because they have been mine. My children never played out front, or even walked to the mailbox without the watchful eye of the on guard parent. *sigh* Polly Klass almost took me out. I had my friend’s husband, also a policeman, assure me most abductions are by a non-custodial parent… but boy, is that ever exhausting! The upside: all my kids are karate kickin’, mace sprayin’, observant to the point of FBI agents types…..haha My work here is done.

  3. Teddi Deppner
    30/08/2012 at 4:47 pm Permalink

    In our house, we speak geek! 😉

    Great post. So important to learn to speak each other’s languages and learn to understand the heart behind what is said.

  4. Rebecca Qualls
    30/08/2012 at 9:47 pm Permalink


  5. Handcuffed Heart
    30/09/2012 at 10:23 am Permalink

    You said, “And as I take the time to listen to the incidents that have transformed his thought processes, I find it much easier to give him grace. He loves us. And he fights to keep us separate from the horror he’s seen.”

    Maybe this shouldn’t be part of my paradigm, but after all that — listening, transforming, giving grace, fighting…. How do I freakin’ explain that to my friends who think I am off my rocker for going along with whatever “protection” my husband deems necessary?

    In a crowded city my husband made me drive 1.5 blocks to meet a friend in the dusky twilight because it was “too late” for me to be out walking in the city alone with three kids. My (tough guy) friend thought I was crazy, and let’s not get started with “Where do I park the car?” I thought my husband was being paranoid, but he IS the one who responds to all the mugging cases…. It feels like a constant battle of compromise and laying aside my freedoms for his concerns about my safety.

  6. Rebecca Qualls
    30/09/2012 at 1:14 pm Permalink

    Thank you so much for your comment. It is difficult to explain to friends and family why your relationship looks different than theirs. And I must say thank you again because your comment gave me some ideas for this weeks blog. I hope you’ll check it out and let me know if it rings true. And I love “Handcuffedheart.” Nicely done :)!

  7. Handcuffed Heart
    30/09/2012 at 11:35 pm Permalink

    Yes, I’ll look forward to checking it out. I think we’ve finally figured out our “normal” after 8 years, but I do get tired of defending and explaining — mainly — to my husband’s parents/siblings about “how it is.”

  8. handcuffed heart
    03/10/2012 at 1:52 am Permalink

    I look forward to your post!

  9. Rebecca Qualls
    03/10/2012 at 8:34 am Permalink

    I try to post every Thursday! So it should be out tomorrow morning. 🙂

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