I want to share with you the special place in my heart for spouses of physicians. I’ve lived the life and know how hectic, lonely and stressful it can be. I also want to assure you that through my training and personal experiences I have found true happiness – a happiness that transcends all areas of life – and you can too.
You deserve and can have a life that you enjoy to its fullest. You can find your place in the world. You can! You can even have a rewarding relationship with your spouse.
Typical self-help books don’t focus on the realities of being a physician’s spouse. Now you have a place to go to find help in your unique situation. I’m here to help you discover what you’ve been searching for all this time – your happily ever after.
Don’t you sometimes want to scream when you blow off steam to a friend and their response is: “Count your lucky stars; you married a doctor!” There’s the implication that you married for money. You didn’t marry your spouse for a paycheck, you married him/her because you loved and do love him/her. You’ll hear this often if you haven’t already. Don’t dwell on it. It’s a comment born in another century when women had not the means nor the right to build independent lives.
Develop activities that have meaning for you, get involved in causes that you have a passion for, express yourself in your own unique way when you are apart from your spouse. If you are working, get involved in your career and derive satisfaction from the work you do. It may not be saving lives, but it’s important all the same. The world is made up of people with talents and passions every bit as essential and self-fulfilling as doctoring. Live your life with your spouse, not through your spouse.
Expectations and disappointments
It sounds horrible to say but if you don’t harbor expectations for a family vacation, dinner reservations or both of you going to your child’s school play, you won’t be disappointed. If you replace those feelings with the thought that your spouse is doing his/her best, you won’t be disappointed – well, you might be a little, but it will soften the blow this way.
What you discover after marrying a doctor is that you will never live in the now. It’s always “We’ll go on that trip after I complete (fill in the blank)” or “I’ll take that class with you as soon as I (fill in the blank)” or “I’ll have more time to spend with you and the kids when I (fill in the blank).” But it never happens. That’s the way it goes when you’re married to a godlike figure. I say “godlike” because it feels that way. A surgeon cuts someone open and is able to put them back together. If that’s not godlike, it sure comes close.
Doctors are a bit full of themselves but that’s understandable because of the nature of what they do. They take chances. They have to be in charge and in control. It’s a stressful environment. They are dealing with life and death situations and that’s their priority. Plans and promises get broken because lives are at stake. It isn’t perfect but you adapt.
When is our “together time”?
If there’s constantly not enough time with your spouse, communication can suffer. Try to resolve disagreements immediately and with honesty. Try not to nit-pick. Sometimes you need to take a breather, count to 100 and then, if it’s still a bug in your bonnet, put on the boxing gloves. Usually, the anger or frustration diffuses in an hour or two or the next day or so.
New opportunities will present themselves if they don’t right now. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Communicate openly, have a positive attitude. You’ll survive.
A doctor’s spouse needs a strong support system, especially during medical training. Other doctors’ spouses are going through the same thing you are. Sometimes you’ll laugh about it with them, sometimes you’ll cry. They will be your lifelines. Befriend them. Confide in them. They will want to do the same, believe me.
The friends I have made with other doctors’ spouses during the years of medical school, internship, and then residency have become dear lifelines for me. Don’t be shy. Form strong alliances with them and others who are in similar situations. Don’t bottle it up.
Share Common Interests
Sometimes you’ll feel your goals and interests are far apart from one another. You can remedy that by getting involved together in a hobby: a date night, a physical activity like biking or running or swimming. Marriage is a changing dynamic. It requires work and workarounds by both of you.