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Lives of Doctor Wives: Survivor Stories: Riding it out

Monday, September 9, 2013

Survivor Stories: Riding it out

Submitted by Jennifer, survivor in Pediatric Ophthalmology

It happened again. We are very, very sad—but not surprised. We’d seen this one coming, though we dared to hope it wouldn’t.
Another medical marriage, with people we dearly love, has bitten the dust.
Our first response was historically typical: In what ways are we different so this won’t happen to us? We’ve had that conversation with every divorce we’ve witnessed from the sidelines. Yet every time we reach the same conclusion. It could happen to us.
Here’s a heaping tablespoon of reality: Your marriage is not safe. You are not immune. Infidelity, addiction, apathy, depression—all of these could happen to you, or to your spouse. Your faith, your family, your idyllic childhood, and your socio-economic status will not protect you. None of us is exempt. No one.
Which is why we have to work our butts off to maintain a healthy marriage. It does not come by default.
My husband and I will celebrate our eighteenth anniversary this year. We were engaged our senior year of college and married during his Christmas break of MSI, so obviously, we’ve been through a lot. We’ve had seasons of mushy-gushy love fests, and other times where we have come dangerously close to throwing it all away. There are times we have looked at each other and said, “I love you. I choose to love you. But I am not in love. I really don’t even like you very much.”
And we choose to ride it out, and figure it out, and work it out. During those times, we realize why so many marriages end. Riding it out is hard. But we know these brutal seasons won’t last—as long as we commit to not ignoring the issues that threaten to strangle us.**
Here’s what we’ve learned: marriage is an equal partnership of mutual submission. We both yield to each other for the greater good of our marriage and our family. There are times when one of us yields more than the other. During the training years, his job certainly claimed priority, but we still found ways to nurture our marriage and take care of each other. It was very, very hard, but we rode it out.
There are times still when his career takes precedence. We can’t control when some kid decides that running with scissors or playing paint ball without protective eyewear is a good idea. It happens, and I choose to yield. But he has some control over how many patients he will allow on his clinic schedule, or when he can block his call dates, or when he can work on charts at home late at night so he can take our son to basketball practice during the afternoon. He chooses to yield. These are things we figure out together.
Canyons begin with a tiny crack. Small, seemingly insignificant decisions can lead to insurmountable problems. We have to watch over our marriages with diligence. We have to talk to each other. We have to seek counsel when needed. We have to work. And we both have to yield.
No marriage looks the same. There is no blueprint, no handbook, no money-back guaranteed method. You and your husband have to figure out what works for your marriage. No matter the season, you have to work at it relentlessly. The reward of a healthy, nurturing marriage far outweighs the agony of effort.
What about you? What have you learned about “riding it out”? In what ways do you & your Dr. H nurture your marriage? What have you learned about yielding and mutual submission? Comment below and share your thoughts.

** Obviously, if there are issues of abuse in your marriage, you should not “ride it out.” GET OUT. None of the above applies to you. 

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Blogger From A Doctors Wife said...

I think you said it beautifully. You have to find what works for you and while advice from friends and family is nice - it isn't always right for you. I think the only thing I could add is that talking while riding it out is imperative. Talking is often the last thing you might want to do, but shutting down will only make things worse and take longer to correct.

September 11, 2013 at 11:41 AM  

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