What is it like, being married to a doctor? My gorgeous wife is an eye surgeon; we have been together for 16 years and married 7 years ago. When we met, Anne had two children, a boy aged 4 and a girl aged 5, and I had three girls aged 12, 17 and 18 years.
My first awareness of her was seeing how amazing this woman was, to have brought up two children by herself, and at the same time practise medicine and surgery. I say this not in any disrespect to any other woman in any other profession, trade or work; just in awe of how she managed to do it all.
But all this doing did come with a cost; she was very driven by a duty that demanded she look after everyone – that being her children, her patients and me – at the expense of herself and leaving her to live in guilt at not being able to meet all these demands.
This was not that easy to live with. On the one hand you had this incredibly hard working partner that you could not fault as far as effort and commitment to life and attempting to do whatever was asked of her, and why would I find fault as I loved her; but on the other hand we all lived in great tension knowing she was living on the edge of exhaustion and overwhelm. And each month all that Anne had kept a lid on would erupt like any great volcano to release the stress of all that had not been expressed and had been bottled up and suppressed by this driven duty and guilt. It felt very male like in the way she worked and then monthly the female would express herself to say, ‘I’m not that’ and demand it be known.
Entering into a relationship with a doctor is also entering into a ‘ménage à trois’ relationship with the medical/hospital system.
To get through the arduous steps required to become a doctor and then a surgeon requires dedication and drive, in a way that is nothing short of disregard to a person, their wellbeing, their body and their whole life. They are asked to be this super human that then goes and cares for others, whilst not caring for themselves and usually at the expense of themselves. It’s as if they think their training has and will make them immune to life as they have acquired some extraordinary powers that enable them to be above or removed from the consequences of a life lived in disregard to their own body, being and welfare.
But doctors are not super-human; instead we have doctors that do their utmost best but live in anxiousness, exhaustion, feeling ill at ease, with psychological disorders and physical diseases, the same as the very people they are attending to as their patients. In truth, doctors are actually worse off health wise than their patients in many ways. (1)
This is what a doctor is living, but so too are their families.
I am very fortunate here as my wife developed lymphatic cancer and was offered a necessary stop to the way she was living and through this experience came to a great revelation that doctors are human too and that medicine had to be lived, not preached.
However this was not always the case. 15 years ago Anne was caught up in a consciousness of being the ‘good doctor’ first, then caring for family, then herself and she would even cry out for ‘some time for herself’, meaning – to escape from the life I’m living. And to try and uphold this way of living she consumed copious amounts of coffee to keep her going, cakes to sweeten and treat herself, and at the end of day alcohol to take the edge off the day and mellow her own edginess and overdrive.
All of these were much needed then for her to function because of the way she was living, but is life just about function and what is then the state of having a relationship with someone who is just functioning?
What happened to being in a loving relationship? Isn’t that what we all yearn for? To feel lovely in yourself and take that love that is innately you to work, to family, to your husband or wife.
That’s what my gorgeous wife did; she started treating herself with doses of love, started to care for herself and her body, listening to what her body was truly asking for – a good night’s sleep, regular exercise, food that nourished her body and most importantly she started to honour the beautiful woman she is.
This was a big turnaround, which in turn translated to us – all the people she comes in contact with. When we meet now, I really get to meet Anne as a woman and the glorious sacred being she is.
This new steadiness is in all her life, including work. She has rewritten how to live in a relationship with family and work as a doctor/surgeon in a steady loving way that supports her life and everyone she comes in touch with. And I’m the luckiest man on the planet as that’s the woman I’m married to …