1. Support his efforts to work out
Becoming a doctor is about training the mind just as much as it is training the body.
When he’s on call, in a matter of minutes he could he going from deep sleep to getting up to do a procedure or making life and death judgment calls. He could also be running to codes and doing CPR for a long time. (Sometimes you crack ribs.)
The fact is doctors have to battle fatigue while being expected to give their best performance.
That’s why it’s important that he stays fit.
My husband and I have an agreement: He gets his workout in before he comes home. If I know it’s a day he’s exercising, I promise not to text “when are you coming home?” or say one negative word for being home (even) later than usual.
It’s on your DrSpouse to commit to working out. But you can help carve out the time to make it happen.
2. Fuel him with fast, healthy foods
On National Doctors’ Day this year, my husband’s hospital gave doctors a nice breakfast with an omelet station. He went to it only to grab a bagel because that was all he had time for.
He’s not alone. Most doctors don’t have protected time when to eat. Eating for doctors usually happens whenever they have a chance.
Fuel your DrSpouse’s body by packing good food that is fast to eat and doesn’t require any reheating. It doesn’t have to be labeled “organic” to be healthy. I’m a fan of fresh and homemade.
Some great ideas are homemade granola bars and hardboiled eggs.
I also find that when I feed him healthy, I also eat healthy, too. #leftovers
3. Create a good sleep environment
When my husband was a third-year medical student, he started to wear a pager. From that time on, he developed the ability to fall asleep pretty much anywhere.
I won’t forget how he would sleep on the floor just a few feet from the bed — as if a few extra steps were that much more effort. (I don’t get it.)
I bet you have similar stories of weird places you found your DrSpouse asleep, too.
You can’t control how much sleep he can get. But you can try to make the sleep he gets the good quality, REM type.
You can do this by getting blackout curtains, switching in the settings to filter blue out blue light on his smartphone, and having him go easy on caffeine before he goes to bed.
4. Free up his time
When I was living at home, my parents excused my chores my last year of high school so I can focus on getting into a good engineering college.
I am the least domestic type today, but I find myself wanting to do the same for my husband as my parents did for me so he can get what he needs done.
While in medical school, residency or fellowship, there are opportunities your DrSpouse can take advantage of to become a rockstar. He can research, write case reports, serve on committees, become chief. All of these go a long way when trying to Match into the top choice for fellowship or job opportunities, especially in competitive subspecialties.
The more he doesn’t have to be on the phone lowering his car insurance, planning the next vacation, or figuring out how to unclog the sink drain, the more he can focus on accomplishing all that.
(Don’t take this too far. You shouldn’t be abused or feel like a domestic martyr. If you do, get Thee and Thy DrSpouse to a marriage counselor stat.)
5. Go on dates
I have a friend who told me while her husband was in training, they didn’t have the chance to go out on dates often. They still had a solid marriage, or so they felt.
When he finished training and they had more money to pay for babysitters and go on vacations, they were so disconnected that it would take the first three days of their trip just to break the ice and learn to talk to one another again.
It’s no shock that this can happen to medical marriages. Many days, you and your DrSpouse don’t see each other and are just trying to survive.
Chances are, you will have to remind him how to care for your marriage.
Try to reconnect as a couple as often as you can. Date nights on the couch at home are perfect.
And remember, schedule your date nights. If plans fall through, don’t make a big deal out of your disappointment. Just reschedule and try again.