Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Wife of a 3rd Year Med Student

It's been a while since I wrote about med school. Since this is a rather hard time in the med school process, I thought it would be good to get my thoughts down on paper. I know that I'm not the only one going through this -- being married to a med student -- so hopefully these words will be encouraging.

...But you may have to wait until the end of this post because what I'm about to say is not going to sound encouraging.

Practicing his knots

Sometimes I feel like I'm in a long-distance relationship.  Michael, my 3rd-year med student husband, gets up at 3:00am (you heard me, THREE O'CLOCK IN THE MORNING) to get to the Georgetown hospital to round with his patients before scrubbing into surgery. He's in surgery all day and comes home anywhere between 5:00pm and 9:00pm. If he comes home at 5:00pm, he usually will take a nap. So when I come home around 5:30, he is sleeping. I'll make dinner and we'll talk about our days for 15 minutes while eating. If he comes home at 9:00pm, then we'll sit on the sofa for 15 minutes to hear about our days before Michael goes to bed at 9:30pm.

We used to love going to bed and waking up together, but that hasn't happened in four months. We used to have more face time, but now we are just ships passing in the night. We are in desperate need of a date night. We are in desperate need of re-connecting.

And I'm in desperate need of trying to keep myself from being self-pitying and selfish and from complaining the day away. I can SO EASILY slip into a resentful and mean-spirited wife. I make Michael's lunch, I do the laundry, I clean the house, I make money, I do the grocery shopping, I run errands, I cook dinner. And I only see my husband for 15 minutes a day. I get tired of talking about med school and what specialty Michael should go into, and I get tired of our normal nightly convos about how the day was. I just get tired of it all! And I want to see my husband more! And I want him to know that this isn't easy for me!

All I want to do is sulk.

But this strategy... basically.... doesn't work at all. I've tried it. In fact, if I don't check myself, my natural inclination would be to sulk and pout and be a terrible wife to my desperately tired husband. When I do this, I might be vindicated for.... like... three seconds.

"You haven't taken me on a date in a month!"

"You don't make time for me!"

And then Michael stares at me speechless because he knows that I'm right, but he also knows that he literally and physically can't do anything about it. He really can't make time for me. He literally doesn't have enough hours in the day, and he physically is so tired that he would fall asleep at dinner if we went out. (I feel like this is making Michael out to be a terrible husband. He is so incredibly far from being a terrible husband. He is my angel man, I swear. He just doesn't have that precious thing called time. He is not on call this coming weekend -- something that I am OVER-THE-MOON happy about.)

Question: What to do in this situation??

Answer: Get yourself to Bible Study and tell your girls your problems and have them remind you of some solid truth.


I was doing that very thing last night when my dear friend Jen reminded me of a talk we heard last year about how to better understand your man. John Yates, the pastor at the Falls Church, said that sometimes the wife has to take charge and plan a date night. Pick a restaurant, make a reservation, schedule the babysitter, and tell your husband. Understand that right now, he doesn't have the time or energy to figure these pieces out. And understand that if you (the wife) don't take charge and schedule time to re-connect, you are just going to pile resentment on resentment.

A few years ago, I read something from this blog that has stuck with me: "My marriage is the most important thing." And there is a sweetness that comes with that reality. That no matter what the circumstances are or how I feel like I am taking 2nd place to this big THING (med school,) my marriage is the most important thing.

My marriage is always the most important thing.

And I can't wait for the weekend.


  1. CB, This post was so good for me to read! I go through all these emotions/thoughts all the time, and it's so comforting to know I'm not alone. Such wonderful guys - such truly terrible schedules! Hang in there! Sending love from across the country! love, Tina

  2. Is it weird that I have read your blog? You were at my wedding...I think that's the only time we have been in the same room. But I hear you go to church now with my sister in law and her husband - Erin and Paul Ferree. So it is still a small world. Anyway, John is in his 2nd year of General Surgery Residency. I FEEL YA! Our son, Rider, was born in May at the end of John's second/beginning of his third year of Medical School. The medical training life is crazy. I hope you and Michael make the most of this weekend :) It is hard when all you want is time together. Hang in there! And when you get it, enjoy it. When he decides on a specialty and starts interviewing, keep Cornell in mind! Y'all do DC well so you should give NYC a shot!!

  3. Tina! Hey girl. Oh man, we WILL get through it! The thing that I keep telling myself is that it's a huge joy to see our men doing something that they really love, despite the crazy hours. That is a great thing. xo!

  4. Carrie -- what a small world! I didn't know that Erin is your sister-in-law! Erin and Paul are great, and while I haven't officially met him, I've seen their new baby boy from across the sanctuary. And yes, I remember your wedding! I'm honored that you read my blog -- thank you! And thank you for your encouragement. NYC! We actually really love New York, and my brother lives there. What it is like raising kids there??

  5. Love your honesty and thanks for speaking truth :) Hope we can come visit you and Jen sometime soon!

  6. God is using medical school as a major source of fire and refinement in my life. I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one who struggles with these emotions - but also that it's a source of growth! I'm freaking out about residency applications and the thought of moving to a new city again but one more opportunity for growth, if I allow it! Thank you for your honesty and willingness to share about your struggles and your joys!

  7. Hi Esther! Are you in medical school or is your husband? I think your husband, but I'm not sure :) Either way, these days will only make us stronger and I think it will be definitely worth it in the end! Thanks for your kind words!

    1. Yes, my husband! Sometimes it feels like I am. :-)