The transition from resident to doctor is overwhelming and can impact your personal life deeply, particularly within the context of your relationship. It is important to sit down and discuss with your partner or spouse and discuss your excitement and fear during this odd phase of life. Although the transition can make or break a relationship, if both you and your partner put forth the effort, you will surely be sustained.
Important questions to ask your significant other
What are your fears moving forward?
What financial adjustments do we need to make to prevent stress?
What are some flaws we have as a couple, and how can we work through them together?
Are we spending enough time together?
Communication and cohesion
Healthy communication is crucial in sustaining a happy relationship as it cultivates a far more pleasant and comfortable environment. At the root of all healthy communication is complete and total honesty as this signals trust within the spousal dynamic. It can be easy to find shame in our truth, but decisions cannot be made effectively if no one is direct about what they want. Feeling safe enough to express your anger, fear, or joy is a positive sign in a relationship as acting and speaking through honesty helps create a unified partnership. As Amy Rakowczyk, staff writer for Student Doctor Network says, “thriving happens because of intentional and agreeable decisions being made together.” You will learn that working with your partner is much better than working against them, so begin viewing the trails you face in your marriage as reasons to work together as a team. The more open and cohesive the two of you are, the stronger and more powerful your marriage will be!
How can I communicate better?
Accept disagreements as being natural and necessary. (Because they are.)
Ask the hard questions.
Express your true feelings without being hurtful or unreasonable.
Seek compromise in conflicts and disagreements.
Furthermore, at the foundation of all positively functioning relationships are 2 people whose love for each other transcends all obstacles. But how capable are you of loving someone else if you barely love yourself? If you are content with who you are, you have more energy to spend on those you care for. As physicians, we spend all of our time taking care of others so it’s easy to neglect our own needs and wants. At the end of the day, if you don’t prioritize your mental health and internal bliss, then all of your hard work is in vain since you can’t enjoy the life you’ve built for yourself. Luckily, there are many resources and tactics that can be utilized to fulfill those needs!
How do I nurture my self-love?
Take time to yourself daily by running, praying, or meditating.
Take advantage of counselors or therapists offered to you by your employers.
Reevaluate your priorities and decide if your time is spent on the things that matter most to you.
Making a plan
You and your partner must sit down and have a conversation about where you are headed and what long-term goals you have. Hashing out these details now prevents you from coming across disagreements in times of high stress and tension. Making choices about the future can seem scary and overwhelming, but remember that you are not in this alone; you have someone by your side, supporting you every step of the way! Designate time for you and your partner to maturely discuss your plan for the future to preemptively reduce disputes in the future.
What are some practical topics that need to be discussed?
Where to live.
Budgets, savings, and retirement.
Do you want to have kids?
Main priorities in life and long-term goals.
You are stepping into uncharted territory, and you’re lucky to have a partner by your side to see you through it. There are many adjustments, trials, and obstacles yet to be put in your path, but you’ve made it too far to give up now! Moving forward with patience and a desire to keep the relationship strong will keep you and your partner going strong.
Todd Skertich is managing partner, Arlington Healthcare and founder, Adventures in Medicine and Physician Career Planning. He is the author of The Art of Physician Negotiation and can be reached on Twitter @adventuresinmed.
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