Thursday, August 21, 2014

Keeping a Medical Marriage Strong

One Happy Thing is taking a break this week in favor of a happy topic. I hope you enjoy!

Jared and I have been married for three years. It definitely doesn't feel that long, which I think is a good thing. Though I am obviously not an expert on marriage, I have learned some valuable lessons as a medical wife. The medical profession (or any profession which requires a huge time commitment on the part of a spouse) is not for the faint of heart. There's a reason why statistics place medical marriages at a divorce rate of 50 percent.

Fortunately, we can avoid becoming a statistic by following a few simple tips:

Speak Your Spouse's Love Language

I'm sure you have heard of Love Languages. Basically, love languages are the primary ways people understand love from others. During our premarital counseling, Jared and I discovered our primary love languages are gifts/time for him and words/time for me. 

When we were first married during medical school, Jared and I had a lot more time to invest in each other. During residency, this has changed. So we recently had a discussion about the things we do for each other which communicate love in the most efficient way. For Jared, he likes when I do things to take care of him like cooking dinner or doing his laundry. For me, I appreciate when Jared texts or calls me to check in throughout the day and writes notes for me. He also cleans the kitchen for me after dinner so I don't have to.

While "efficiency" is not a very romantic word, sometimes you have to be realistic and love your spouse in the best way possible at that time in your marriage. What are some things you can do to speak your spouse's love language more efficiently?

Communicate Honestly

Residency leaves no room for bitterness and hurt feelings. There simply isn't time to address them once they take root and fester. So it is important if Jared and I need something from each other, we communicate it honestly. This lesson has been hard learned, particularly on my end, through all the transitions we've gone through the past three years. But I have found my marriage stays on solid ground, no matter how tumultuous residency becomes, when we communicate honestly.

Set Boundaries and Priorities for YOUR Marriage

Time together is precious, and Jared and I love to spend whatever we can with each other. However, as two individuals with separate interests, Jared and I feel it is important for us to invest in friendships and hobbies outside of our marriage. This means making time apart a priority. So Jared and I have decided we can spend time apart as long as we have had recent quality time with each other.

For example, about a week ago, I went to a Friday night dinner with a group of medical wives. Jared and I had spent some quality evenings together, so Jared had no problem with this. If Jared wanted to get a beer with fellow residents, I would also have no problem with this as long as we had been with each other recently.

What are some things which are important to you inside or outside your marriage? How can you communicate this with your spouse and set boundaries and priorities to make it happen?