The Life of a Spouse
I’m back! And this time, I’m writing from a different perspective: my husband’s. As a spouse of someone in the program, it can be challenging to adjust as well. They see you less, pick up chores they perhaps didn’t have to do and can get frustrated with you. It’s ok and totally understandable. It’s a huge commitment on our behalf but your spouse or significant other commits to it as well. Hopefully, you’ll find the following information beneficial for yourself (as a prospective/incoming student) and your significant other.
In the words of my husband:
- “Find your own grad school.” This seems counterintuitive because your significant other will probably want to capitalize on your free time, but if they can find a craft/hobby/sport they want to get really good at as well, they can stay busy while you go to class and study. My husband is an avid golfer so needless to say the day time alone is well spent on the golf course but, at night, his grad school was learning Spanish. As a result, we both feel connected knowing we are working on improving ourselves. And to, be honest, studying together, even if not about the same thing, is really comforting.
- “Pick up the slack.” Whether that means cooking meals, cleaning the house, or whatever you do now, they’ll probably have to do in the future. In my house, that meant I cooked less and we hired a cleaning service. There are just not enough hours in the day to do everything you used to do and now school. Remember it’s not just the hours in class you have to account for but also the time away from your family/friends to prepare for class, so if you and your significant other can work out what gets taken off your plate, early, hopefully, it won’t fall through the cracks and will help to avoid confrontation.
- “Help your significant other take care of themselves.” The last thing you’ll have time for is to take care of yourself so if your significant other can help with that, it makes the relationship a lot stronger. For us, that means him cleaning my car so I won’t have to or getting me a massage. I think this plays into your spouse knowing what you need but you also telling them, so whatever it is you need, communicate and maybe they can help you take care of yourself. These times are stressful and knowing there’s someone in your corner helping you get through it is so important.
It goes without saying that communication is critical to stay connected and keep them aware of your schedule.
I started putting my class calendar on my husband’s calendar so he could plan around my “outages” but really plan things on off-weekends. Last, but certainly not least, is strengthening your relationship before the program so when things feel disconnected with you and your special person, that you both can pull on the “love reserve” and keep going.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this new blog and thank you to my amazing husband, Alex, without whom I wouldn’t have made it this far in the program without losing it at least once.
He has been my rock.