Two years ago, I began writing about our time as a married couple in graduate school. I felt called to do this because graduate school can be so challenging for many couples. Sadly, about 50% don’t make it through the process together. It can be very demanding and grueling but can have such tremendous advantages. Seeing someone you love dearly pursue something they love doing is just one wonderful aspect about being together through graduate school. Now that I am a few years removed from my initial feelings and experiences toward this process, I wanted to share some keys to success that we have found. If you are married and one of you is thinking about graduate school (or is already in graduate school), I hope you find this helpful!
- Pursue something you love too – As the spouse not originally in graduate school, I realized that if I waited to further my education until my husband was done, I’d be waiting a long time. By doing school at the same time, we got to spend time doing homework together and were each pursuing something we wanted to do. Your “something” may not be furthering your education but explore what it might be and do it!
- Create a work night option – We began developing a schedule where there was at least one day a week where my husband could work as late as he wanted. This allowed him some time to get work done for school and allowed me to set my expectations for time. Then, on the nights when he wasn’t working late, we would make a point to spend some quality time together.
- Notice the little things – It can be easy to get frustrated and feel like you are alone in your marriage. That is why it is SO important to notice the little efforts that your significant other is making. By thanking my husband for doing the dishes in the morning after I dash off to work, he knows that I recognize that he is doing what he can to help and that makes him feel appreciated.
- Embrace it – For a bit towards the beginning of graduate school, I was really focused on what I didn’t have. Time with my husband, mostly. (You can read all about that in Parts 1-3.) Then, I realized that this was a great opportunity to embrace things. I have lots of different things I enjoy doing but don’t make time for. So, I started making time for them! I’m a bit of a organizational freak so one day when my husband was working on school stuff, I reorganized our closets. I know, super fun right?! But it was something I’d been wanting to do and so I just embraced the fact that I had some “me” time in that moment. I’ve also gotten into gardening, joined the Balanced Life Sisterhood (which I would completely recommend), am getting in a rhythm of doing a devotional again, and have gotten to do some fun things just with girl friends. Once you change your thinking from “this is holding me back from doing ___” to “this is an opportunity to try ____”, your perspective will completely change.
If you have some great tips for making your marriage work through graduate school, I hope you will share!
You can see my whole journey through emotions and different learning experiences here: