I get a variety of responses when I tell people I’m a medical student
“Wow, you must have worked hard.”
“You’ve got to really want it if you’re going into medicine.”
Most people tend to praise me, but almost none of them praise my wife. Awhile ago, my wife and I were having lunch with a mutual friend. Somewhat randomly, this friend looked at my wife and told her that she must be a wonderful lady, that it must take a lot of strength and patience to be married to a student, and that she deserves a lot of credit.
My wife takes compliments about as well as I do, so she smiled a shy smile and spoke a quick “thank you.” Later, she told me how much she appreciated someone recognizing what she does. For all the successes of the feminist movement, people still fail to recognize all the effort and energy my wife puts into being what women have classically been–a wife (and someday a mother). She has a pretty impressive job, and people are more likely to remark on her achievements in the workplace than on the effort it must take to be married to me. She already knows she’s a star business woman, but it was a breath of fresh air to hear someone recognize that she’s a star wife as well.
Because being married to me means sitting alone while I study in the other room. It means finding hobbies she can do without me. It means worrying about where we will go when I graduate, what kind of doctor I’ll be, and how I’ll perform on the next test. It means going to bed alone three hours before I sleepily tumble into the covers next to her. It means scheduled date nights, quick dinners, and vacations constrained to scheduled academic breaks.
Yet somehow, she still manages to love me in a way I’ve never been loved. With her, I can talk about anything–even the interesting tidbit I learned in class or the strange experience I had with a patient. We share vacation memories, watch shows together, play games. She encourages me when I’m doing well, cries on my shoulder when she’s frustrated, and laughs with me about the ridiculous things in life.
She’s a wonderful lady, and she deserves for more people to recognize the effort she puts into our relationship. At the very least, I can take note of what she’s doing for me, because I certainly couldn’t make it through medical school without her.