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If you read my last post, you know I am a HUGE planner and have to be because of my ADD nature. I honestly didn’t realize I was so “type A” until my wedding planning process. Who knows, maybe it’s something that developed because of the planning/stress? If it were up to me, I would plan my entire life out, but that’s not for us to do. Wanting to be in control is something I struggle with. You may remember a post from last year where I shared my testimony about having anxiety around Match Day and how the Lord showed me he was in control. When I find myself in these situations, I am reminded of this example in my life. It was a huge turning point in my faith.
Originally when I picked out this dress to wear, it was for a day at the zoo with Jake. Jake was supposed to only work a half day last Saturday and our plans were to FINALLY check the Birmingham Zoo out. This has been on our agenda since we moved and it was the perfect weather. I was all excited and had been looking forward to this for a while. Unfortunately due to his heavy work load, he got home 4 hours later than he was supposed to. We were unable to make it to the zoo before they closed. I was definitely a bit let down at first and was starting to feel sorry for myself. I quickly told myself I need to snap out of this. Instead of getting upset I reminded myself I needed to go with the flow and that this too shall pass.
Being married to a resident (a physician who is in training in their specific medical specialty) has taught me a lot of amazing lessons about life. Based on the connections I’ve made with ladies who have reached out to me on Instagram/emails, I know I have a lot of ladies whose husbands are in the medical field or another extremely busy career. I wanted to share what I’ve learned to help motivate someone going through the same or similar journey. I have found myself falling into comparison many times during this journey when I see couples who have every weekend off together. “Comparison is the thief of joy” is a quote I remind myself of anytime I feel like this.
10 Tips To Survive Medical Training or a Demanding Career as a Spouse
- Pray: God won’t put in you in a situation you cannot handle. Pray for his strength and guidance. This has been something that has really helped give me peace.
- Communication: Communication is key to any successful relationship. It’s so important to let your partner how you’re feeling and be their rock. Chances are they feel the same way. They want to spend time together just as badly as you do. This is something I always remind myself of. Jake and I love to dream about the future of when training will be done.
- Attitude: Going with the flow/being flexible is so important. Neither you nor them can control when they get off/their work load, so staying positive is important. Having a bad attitude will make you miserable; believe me, I’ve been there. Choosing joy is so important and will make you a happier person overall. Use the time they’re busy to do something for yourself.
- Hobbies/Independence: I started my blog when Jake was a 3rd year medical student (one of the hardest times in medical school). You can read my blogging story here. I am so thankful I have this creative outlet. It has been a huge saving grace for me. Before my blog, my hobbies consisted of Netflix, decorating, and painting (which I need to pick up again). Just do what makes you happy! My hobbies, especially blogging has given me a huge sense of independence.
- Be present/enjoy the time together: When they finally do have free time, it’s important to soak every second in and make it special. While having limited free time together can be frustrating, it makes the time together so much sweeter. When Jake has a weekend day off, we like to make them very special, doing fun things like strawberry picking, going to local festivals, or (hopefully soon) going to the zoo.
- Low expectations: This might sound weird, but I try to go in thinking Jake will work later than he likely actually will. That way, if he gets off early, it’s a bonus. I never know what his on call schedule will be like (sometimes he could get home a little after 8 pm, while other times like last night it’s close to midnight), so I try to tell myself I won’t see him that day and make other plans. Having other plans on the nights I know he’s going to be gone really makes the absence easier.
- Be a cheerleader and a listening ear: If your husband has a demanding career, chances are it’s very hard on them, too. Jake loves being a doctor, but unfortunately for anesthesiology residents, they have to do a year of internal medicine first, which he strongly dislikes. He doesn’t enjoy the long days of stressful work keeping him away from home any more than I do. Be their biggest supporter and let them vent. This is a healthy thing for all relationships.
- Acts of kindness: With how busy Jake is, I try to do anything I can do to help give him more free time. I always cook and clean. He does do a lot to help me as well and I am so thankful for it. Sometimes I will give him little acts of kindness, like a note or treat can help so much. It is also fulfilling to me, too.
- Get involved: Getting involved is so important and has helped me with this journey so much. I have gotten involved with other local groups of ladies with similar interests/situations, as well as a Bible study and with work.
- Plan for the future/daydream: Chances are they have some vacation time, I try to plan for the time I know he’s 100% off. This helps keep me excited. I like to plan out dates or vacations. I saw the best advice on my sweet friend Amanda’s OK’s Instagram caption- “Always have your next vacation planned.” I also like to daydream about life when Jake’s done with training.
Thank you so much for reading. Sometimes I feel like writing is therapy, so I needed these reminders myself. Does your husband have a demanding career? How do you cope with it?
What a great post Courtney! Your attitude is awesome and I love the positivity. I imagine that it is hard!! You’ve done such a great job at being a wife and supporting Jake through this season. Can’t believe he is almost done!
Katherine | http://www.oneswainkycouple.com
Thank you so much for your kind words and encouragement, Katherine. It really has gone by pretty fast. He is almost done with year 1 out of 4.
I’m sure having hobbies is a great thing to have when your spouse is gone for long periods of time!
Absolutely. I think hobbies are healthy for everyone.
I really relate to all of this! My husband is finishing up his third year of medical school and we have two small children. I’m also a huge planner and I get really upset when my husband doesn’t get home when he says he would (even though it isn’t his fault!). I feel like I spend a huge amount of my time just waiting on him and it can be really frustrating. Instead of normal weekends together I’m watching the kids while he’s at the hospital or studying for a shelf exam. It’s definitely a challenge and hard to not feel sorry for myself for taking on a ton of the childcare and household work, esp. when I also work full time. I keep telling myself it will be worth it in the end! PS: My husband is going into anesthesiology, too, and also hates internal med. 🙂
Hey Beth! Thank you so much for your reading and for your comment. 🙂 Congrats on being so close to the end of med school, 4th year is amazing. It’s like a breath of fresh air especially after match day. I am glad to know I am not the only one who feels like I’m always waiting around. I try to keep myself busy and it really helps. It bet it’s extremely difficult having kids too. Med school mama are super heroes in my book. Absolutely, it will be worth it one day and one day we will look back on the training and realize how far we’ve come. Ahh that is so exciting. My husband loves anesthesia, he is excited to be done with intern year. I think hating internal medicine is a common thing I’ve heard from ladies whose husbands are in anesthesia.
These are all really great tips for anyone in a similar relationship situation Courtney!
Thank you so much, Monika!
These are such great tips! When I was working both my husband and I had very demanding jobs so I can totally agree to these!
Thank you so much! I am so glad that you agree too.