And what you can believe instead.
By Sara Payne, Master Certified Life Coach
Let’s face it: having a husband who’s a doctor comes with a unique set of challenges that not everyone understands.
Most people don’t really get your problems (and often think you shouldn’t have any).
You may have even been told, “How hard can your life be?–at least you’re married to a doctor.”
But the truth is, you DO deal with hard things.
Massive student loan debt.
A husband who often comes home from work burnt-out and emotionally unavailable.
Being married to medicine is not for the faint of heart.
As a master certified life coach who specializes in working with women who are married to doctors, I often see 3 lies that many of my clients believe.
These lies are holding them back from the life they want.
In their marriages, in their parenting, and in their life.
And I’m here to share them with you so that they don’t hold you back any longer.
Lie #1: “I have to do everything or it won’t get done.”
After a decade or more of putting your husband through medical school, then residency, and often a fellowship, you’re really good at doing things on your own.
Whether it’s getting the kids to all their after-school activities, balancing the budget, or taking the car in for an oil change–you know how to cross things off your to-do list.
After all, you did it almost completely on your own throughout all of your husband’s medical training.
You might still find yourself doing everything on your own, even though he’s now a full-fledged practicing physician.
Even though you have more money to hire help than you did while he was in school.
And your husband’s schedule has eased up (at least a little) since he was a busy resident.
You still find yourself thinking, “It’s just easier to do it on my own.”
And you totally can.
You’ve proven that.
But if you find yourself exhausted, burnt out, and resentful toward your husband or his job, maybe it’s time to stop believing you have to do everything.
If you don’t know where to start in order to let that lie go—try believing this:
“Maybe it’s ok to ask for help.”
When you believe that, you’ll likely be more inclined to ask your husband if he can shoulder some of the load when he’s around.
And you’ll be more likely to do things like hiring help, or asking friends and family to pitch in where they can as well.
Doing this can take courage. You might be thinking, “What if they say ‘no’?”
Or “They won’t do it right.”
Both things might be true. And then you might choose to do it on your own.
Which is exactly what you are doing right now.
So you might not have anything to lose by thinking, “Maybe it’s ok to ask for help.”
Lie #2: What I do will never be as important as what he does
I know you’ve seen the looks that people give you when they first find out you are married to a doctor.
You know the ones–they’re like a cross between curiosity and a mild version of being star struck.
Even though there are a lot of differing opinions about doctors, most people still have a reverence for them and what they do.
It’s considered a noble profession.
I think this is great—
AND it can be easy to believe that, because you are married to someone who saves lives, that you’ll never do anything as important as what he does.
This lie likely has you putting your husband on a pedestal.
Which means that, if he’s on a pedestal, you aren’t on a level playing field, working as a team.
Because in your mind (and maybe his), he’s more important than you.
This uneven dynamic makes it very hard to work as a team in your marriage.
I’m guessing you didn’t get married so you could be on opposite teams with your husband.
You might be thinking, “But it’s true! What could be more important than saving lives?!”
And you could be right about that. Maybe nothing is more important than saving lives.
It’s also possible that his job can be really important AND it doesn’t have to take away from whatever you do–whether that’s taking care of the family at home, or working in some other profession, or both.
Instead of believing the lie, “What I do will never be as important as what he does.”–You might consider dropping the whole “comparing jobs” thing, altogether, and instead considering believing something totally new. Something like “Together, we do important work.”
That belief puts you and your husband on the same team.
Which, I’m guessing, is what you intended to do when you got married.
Lie #3: I’ll never get my turn.
Of all the lies that doctors’ wives believe, this one might be the most widespread.
I think this is why:
You put your dreams on hold for a decade or more so that you could support him in his.
That is a very noble thing.
And I’m guessing that when you first started medical school, you believed, “One day, I’ll get my turn, too.”
But that day never came.
Because his job is still demanding, and the kids still need you, and there’s just never been a right time to pursue what it is that lights you up inside.
So you keep waiting.
But the right time never comes.
Here’s why: His job will likely always be demanding.
And life will get in the way any time you let it.
Maybe it’s time to stop letting life do that.
It will be much easier to do if you stop believing “I’ll never get my turn.”
And instead considered believing this:
“There’s a way to take MY turn AND support my family and my husband in his career.”
If you believe there’s a way to do both, you’ll find it.
I promise you will.
If you’re looking for more help specifically for doctors’ wives, check out the podcast The Doctor’s Wife here (or wherever you prefer to listen to podcasts). Each week you’ll get help for your mental and emotional well-being.
It’s tailored to your unique situation as a doctor’s wife.