Bright Side

They Say If You Marry a Doctor, You Marry Their Job. Here’s Why This Couldn’t Be Any Truer

When you marry someone, their career becomes an integral part of your life. Careers can affect marriages in many different ways, and sometimes make life more difficult. This is especially true for the spouses of doctors, as a study in Academic Medicine found.

We at Bright Side examined scientific facts and statistics to learn more about the life of doctors’ spouses. Here are our findings.

They have to work long hours.

When you consider the fact that doctors work 60 hours a week on average, it’s no wonder that many doctor spouses say that it’s hard to be their partner. Residents work around 80 hours a week.

This often includes weekends, long shifts, and strange working hours. And they have to stay sharp and focused, because people’s lives are at stake. Comparably, an average employee works around 40 hours a week, 8 hours for each business day.

What this means for the spouses of doctors is that they get to spend less time with their partner. However, most of them would agree that it’s worth it, knowing just how important their work is.

So many of them suffer from burnout.

Considering the long hours they work, it’s no wonder that doctors often suffer from burnout. In fact, more than 54% of them have reported symptoms of burnout at some point in their careers. Those numbers have improved by 10% in the past few years which likely means that they were able to set up a better balance in their lives. Symptoms of burnout include:

  • Stress and anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Sadness, in some people — anger and irritability, in others (possibly both intermittently)
  • Substance abuse

It’s hard for spouses to see all of this, but many of them are happy to make their partner’s life easier and support them through the tough times. Helping a loved one is a rewarding process and it makes the relationship stronger, as this study confirms.

It’s a lot of responsibility for them.

Around 56% of doctors spend 35-40 hours a week with their patients. But at the same time, 38% of doctors spend 10-19 hours on paperwork and 32% spend more than 20 hours on paperwork. The amount of work they have to do on rules and regulations is so intense that it’s actually responsible for the burnout in 59% of cases while only 15% of doctors blame their burnout on patients.

This is why their spouses often handle the management of the family’s day-to-day life and make sure that their partners have a relaxing place to come home to.

Student loans can be difficult.

Medical schools are some of the most prestigious and difficult educational programs out there. However, for medical students, the school doesn’t end that happily. Research shows that the median debt for them is around $192,000, while some students have even more.

Of course, doctors have some of the highest salaries, but before that, they have to go through a long residency program that lasts about 2-7 years. Residents work long hours, as mentioned, but they are paid less than doctors.

Even though many people think that doctors live a comfortable life, this isn’t always true, and the debt is shared by the doctors’ spouses. It often means restrictions on spending and better money management.

But their career is their passion, and it’s worth it.

After all of this, you might be wondering why anyone would want to be a doctor, let alone the spouse of a doctor. Well, even though these statistics are troubling, there’s a bright side to all of it.

More than 70% of doctors knew that they wanted to be medical professionals before they were 20. And a surprising 90% of doctors love their profession and report a high satisfaction with what they do, despite the pitfalls.

They also take long vacations — around 43% of them take 3-4 weeks off, while 28% enjoy 1-2 weeks off. As a bonus, 61% of doctors would recommend the field of medicine to other people. Seeing a loved one thrive in the career they love is a satisfying feeling, and the spouses of doctors often agree that they wouldn’t change it for the world.

Do you think it’s hard to be the spouse of a doctor? Would you think it’s worth it? And, what is your profession like compared to that of a medical professional? We’re excited to hear your opinions!

Preview photo credit SerWolfe / imgur