Late nights. Early mornings. Weekend hours.
None of those things were on my radar when I thought about the life I would have with my husband one day. I always imagined the classic 8-5, M-F job, where my husband and I would have evenings and weekends to spend time together in marital bliss.
Then I married a medical student.
I married a medical student who studies 24/7 for two straight years, then works and studies 24/7 for another two years. And then will spend the four years after that working around an 80 hour week until he is officially a certified doctor that can practice on his own. (Okay, the 24/7 is obviously an exaggeration, but it feels pretty close ;))
Before we were married, I knew that medical school would be time consuming and hard, but I wasn’t aware of just what that would look like for me. The first several months of our marriage, I had to work through some bitterness with the amount of time that my husband spent studying. We ate dinner together, and most days that was all. We had the occasional date nights on Friday or Saturday, but other than that I was on my own– literally, because I was in a new place where I knew practically no one.
“This is not what I imagined.” “This is way harder than I ever expected.” “It’s going to be 8 more years before a steady income and ‘normalcy’?!”
But there came a time when it finally hit me. I’m either in or I’m out. We can either do this together or I can let him do this alone. My role as wife is helper (Gen. 2:18), and in that moment, I decided I wanted to be the best helper I could be to my husband in this process. I was all in.
This was our adventure and gift, not just his. When I started to look at it through those lenses, I began to get excited about this whole medical school thing. Study time now meant that I was doing what I could to give him the best focus and not distract him for my own selfish reasons (still working on that one). Test week, I was doing everything I could to make him feel special, rested, and prepared. Each celebration of a grade or success was equally felt by me. My prayers for my husband were now deep heart cries on his behalf. I was learning that my role in this whole thing looked different than his, but it was just as purposeful and important.
All that to say, it hasn’t been a cake walk since that transformation of heart. There are many days where I forget all of the above. There are many days where I have to commit again to myself and to my husband that I am all in. There are many days where I want nothing more than to have a “normal life”. But praise the Lord for the Holy Spirit and continual grace…amen?!
God has been good, as always. I have learned lots in these short two years of being married to a busy man, and I want to share what I’ve learned for all the wives out there that are in a similar boat:
- God will sustain your marriage. After two years of very little time together (relative to many couples), I look back in amazement that our marriage is where it is. Only God could take what seems like an impossible situation for a marriage and let is flourish. I can’t tell you how many people, when they heard that Braden is in medical school told me, “Ooo, that’s hard on a marriage”. They were right, it can be hard on a marriage, but so can lots of things and my God is bigger than all of them. God will sustain wherever he calls.
- Be all in. Decide now, that you are all in with your husband and his calling. God has chosen you to fulfill the role of helper to your specific husband. Find what that looks like for you, and own it–JOYFULLY (it’s way more fun for both of you when you are just as excited as he is).
- Find a hobby or hobbies. You can only watch so much Netflix and Hulu. Don’t get me wrong, I love me a good TV series or cheesy movie, but often times binging on Netflix is what I sinfully use to “numb out”. Find something that is a breath of fresh air for you. Maybe it’s working out? Maybe it’s painting? Maybe it’s going on walks with your dog? Maybe it’s baking? Try out different things. Don’t let yourself sit and be lonely and bored all the time. I started painting, baking, writing, and working out a lot. All of those things provided life and excitement; they shifted my mind to positive thinking rather than dwelling on the negative. Or maybe you are a Mom and thinking: “What’s a hobby? I have children.” I’m not there yet, but I know the extra time without Daddy is purposed by the Lord. Hang in there and find ways to be intentional with it.
- Loneliness can produce fruit. I’ve felt the pang of lonely often. As much as I hate the feeling, I’ve also seen the amazing benefits to my friendships and my spiritual health. I have no choice but to sit and commune with God when he is the only one available. I’ve grown a deeper intimacy with Him than ever before during this season with a busy husband. Thank you Lord for drawing me near! Also, it’s a push to text, call, or invite friends into my life. I’m a major homebody, so the extra kick in the pants to be intentional and see friends is exactly what I need sometimes.
- Don’t be afraid to do things by yourself. You just gotta do it. Life can’t stop because your husband is busy. Go to small group, go to the store, eat out (I’ve actually grown to enjoy this). The more you do it, the easier it becomes.
- The time you do get together is that much more sweet. This one speaks for itself. It’s absolutely true. I celebrate and treasure the time we do get together!
- In your weakness, He is strong. Like I said earlier, it’s not always a walk in the park, and there are times when it feels easy and times when it feels extra hard. But we don’t have to be the strong ones. We don’t have to muster up our own strength to get through. We lay our burden down at the feet of Christ, and let him carry the load. He will strengthen you, sustain you, and uphold you (Isaiah 41:10). When we seek Christ first, the energy, joy, and strength we receive then overflows into our lives and role as a wife and helper. He is the source.
See, the thing is…our husbands would rather be home and spending time with their family too. Instead, they are working their booties off to provide for us and honor the Lord in the calling He has given them.
One of my all time favorite things about my husband is his courage, drive, and the way he works heartily for the Lord right where he is at. Not only that, but his character while working hard holds my highest respect and admiration. I am BLESSED beyond what words can say to be his wife and to get the front row seat in watching him pursue his lifelong dream.
When God started stirring in little six grade Braden (makes me wanna cry thinking about it. #sappy) the desire to be a doctor, I know he was preparing me for the role of being his partner even when I was very unaware. Now here we are 12.5 years later living the life that God prepared in advance.
God planned for me to be the wife of Dr. Braden Wilson, and that is the role that I want to learn and love. When God called Braden to medicine, he also called me. This is our calling as one unit (Mark 10:8), and I am thrilled to be apart of this journey. What an adventure together.
May we be women who remember the complete sovereignty and goodness of our God, and let those truths saturate and redefine our hearts and minds; forever changing the way we see our role as “helper” to our busy man.
Hang in there sister, we’re in this together!