Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Nervous to be married to a doctor?

An anonymous reader left a comment under the tab: Being Married to a Doctor.  She is engaged to a doctor who has two years left of residency.  She wrote: "All around me, I am being asked if I am ready to be a doctor's wife, and do I know what is expected of me?  Am I sure I can handle the lifestyle?  Do I have cause to be scared out of my mind, or should I just take a chill pill?"

My advice to Anonymous is, first, to commit yourself to your husband, and second, to fill your life with things that make you feel validated and happy.

Oh, and also: don't worry about what other people say.  I have met an entire spectrum of "types" of physicians' spouses.  There are only perceived expectations - there is no "recipe" to follow in order to be "a doctor's wife."

At the end of my mission, my mission president said to me, "When you are married, there will come a time when you will disagree with your husband, and you will not feel love towards him.  That is when it will matter more than ever whether you are committed to him.  Your level of commitment must be 100%.  Of course you will love him most of the time, but that will - sometimes - not be enough."  I think this is invaluable advice.

I believe the pressure physicians are under is enough to make most people crack.  I know that I could not deal with someone dying under my care, or even risking the possibility of giving the wrong orders and thus increase someone's physical suffering.  Everyone changes during their lifetimes.  Already, my husband and I are very different people than we were ten years ago when we were married.  But, during residency, I believe, physicians change a lot - out of necessity - in order to survive.  Your husband will be immersed in his work, which is a good thing.  Surround yourself with your own passions.  But, stay committed to each other throughout it all, though at times it will feel like you are leading separate lives.

A doctor's wife once told me that during residency I would wonder what happened to my husband - because he would be a completely different person.  But, she also assured me that "he would be back."  I can't yet confirm the truthfulness of her statement, but it daily provides me with a ray of hope.

And, just a little side note, if you (Anonymous) are in love with him while he is in the middle of his residency, I'm pretty sure things can only get better!


Amanda said...

Great post. I can only imagine what it would be like if Tyler were in medical school. You are amazing, Liz - for supporting him, keeping your life full of good things, being a wonderful mom, and having such a great perspective on things!

The Christensen Family said...

I think your comments, Liz, are true for any marriage. My husband and I have changed a lot over the last 8 years. Sometimes I feel like a married single mother, and my husband isn't even a doctor! I think it is good we all change, as long as we are committed to each other and learning to love what we become.

Rena said...

To anonymous, I just want to say, "What are you nervous about?!? He's almost done! You didn't have to suffer through med school with him! You don't have any kids yet! This is the perfect time to marry him!" This is coming from a woman about to deliver her fourth child who has to be induced tomorrow because my husband's first 3rd year of med school clerkship begins on Tuesday. My husband and I have been married for ten years. When we had been married for four years he began an MD/PhD program. He passed his doctoral defense two weeks ago and is now back in med school. So two years left of school, plus a 6-year residency. Our oldest will be 15 by the time he's completely done. Anonymous doesn't know how good she has it...