Making Your Time Together Count When You Both Work Full Time.

By Drew

This post is part four of the series:  How To Keep Your Marriage Strong When You Never See Your Spouse.

We know how crazy a medical resident’s schedule can be- often working all night and then all day and then most of the night again.  So now imagine BOTH you and your spouse are medical residents at the same time.  Yikes.  And then add a pregnancy and a baby in there somewhere.  If anyone knows how to make a marriage work while never seeing each other it’s Katie and Drew.  Sometimes when I’d be trying to get together with Katie she’d say something like, “Oh not Wednesday, that’s the first night in six weeks Drew and I have off together.”

I’m good friends with Katie, but I wanted a husband’s perspective in this series, so I asked him for some tips on how they keep the love alive 🙂   – Celeste


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I’m grateful for the opportunity to share a bit about our experience as working spouses. Before we get too far into this, I should admit that I have never written for a blog before. Hopefully you find what I write to be informative and helpful in whatever circumstance you may be.

By way of introduction, and perhaps to add a little insight to our circumstance, my wife and I met while we were both attending medical school. We went on to complete residencies in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics. As you may know already, residency can be very demanding with work hours extending beyond 80 hours a week.

Needless to say, the rigors of medical school and residency have kept us very busy. Early on we were sure to delineate between our study time and our fun time. In other words, our date nights were not spent memorizing anatomy or quizzing on microbiology. I feel that drawing a line between work/study time and our own personal time has been key to the success of our relationship. Such delineation has helped me to keep my focus where it needs to be; either on my work or on my wife, whatever the circumstance may be. And while conversation about the patients I saw that day may be stimulating to me, it may not be for my wife, so I try to keep this to a minimum.

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It’s also important to plan ahead so that personal time does not get neglected. My wife and I will sit together and review our calendars on a monthly and weekly basis. We set aside time on the calendar for our date night. These date nights are away from our children, and away from our responsibilities from work. As the saying goes, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. If we don’t make an effort to schedule these date nights, they rarely occur by themselves. This becomes even more important when baby sitters may be in short supply.

Often, we would go weeks without having a date night, simply because our schedules didn’t line up. Many times, I would be on days and my wife on nights, or vice versa. In such circumstances the quality of the date became much more important that the quantity of dates. There is a lot that has been written about quality time and I don’t claim to be an expert on any level. However, I can say that those dates that revolved around an “experience” are undoubtedly the most memorable.

For example, while we were in medical school I gave my wife a jar full of small pieces of paper with date ideas on them. As I was preparing these date ideas I tried to look for “experiences” in the community around us. Some date ideas included hunting for lightning bugs in the state park, going to a live auction, or attending the theater at the city college. These dates are far more memorable to me then any night spent in a nameless restaurant or in a dark movie theater. Don’t get me wrong, I love eating out and watching movies just as much as anyone else. But when time is short supply, it’s the quality that counts.

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In the end, the most important aspect is to be consistent. A happy and healthy marriage requires constant and consistent investment. This becomes even more important after children enter the picture. While family outings are important and fun for all, it is important to dedicate a certain amount of time in the development of your own marriage.

5 thoughts on “Making Your Time Together Count When You Both Work Full Time.

  1. Wow! I can’t imagine making a marriage work under such time constraints. This relationship shows it can be done when both spouses are committed. Kudos to this couple!

  2. First, the smile on your little girl’s face made me melt a little (slash, a lot!). Secondly, so wonderful that you two are committed to setting aside time for just the two of you. The fact that you make that a priority in your busy lives speaks volumes about your marriage/relationship. So nice to read about couples that love each other and love being together–even/especially when that time is limited! Thanks for sharing!

  3. I’m definitely going to go read the rest of this series because my husband and I definitely fall into the super-busy-hardly-see-each-other camp. I work part-time and have graduate school (plus my blog) and he works 80 hour weeks to support my part-time working and education, so time together can be difficult. Luckily, we both realize the importance of making the effort so we have date nights (that usually include IHOP – it’s our thing!)

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