“Honey, I shot an 85!” my husband said as he came through the back door. “You went golfing?” I asked as my study group looked up, surprised. “Yes, I left four hours ago and I even kissed you goodbye!” he said, and we all laughed.
This is what nursing school is made of: lost weekends, friendships put on hold, events missed and relationships tested. How on earth are you supposed to juggle a program as intense as this and still maintain a good relationship with your spouse?
I’m not going to lie—it’s hard, but it can be done. Follow these simple guidelines and you too can be a successful nursing student while keeping your marriage together:
- Get support. You need support (emotionally as well as financially) from your spouse to succeed in this program—otherwise, you’ll be totally stressed out, as I’ve seen in many of my classmates. Discuss cost and duration before making a decision to enroll. If both of you aren’t on the same page, I guarantee it will cause conflict later.
- Be honest with yourself. Realize that any nursing program, whether it’s a two-year or four-year course, is going to be tougher than any of the prerequisite classes you took prior to the program. Advise your spouse that he/she will have to get along without you many times over before the program is complete (But also remember that it will all be worth it in the end…the pay, the hours, the schedule, the gratification!).
- Don’t sweat the small stuff. I was a neat freak before the program started. I couldn’t do homework or read my chapters while dishes sat in the sink or laundry filled the basket. My husband knew this and was, for the most part, able to pick up the slack. Which brings me to my next point…
- Ask for help. Your spouse loves you. Ask for help when you need it. Reassure your mate that when all the studying is over, you will resume your share of the workload, but now you need to concentrate on studying. Your spouse will be less demanding if you express your needs instead of letting them brew inside you.
- Keep the lines of communication open. Share your experiences with your spouse so your sweetie won’t feel left out while you’re making new friends and talking shop endlessly on the phone…and you will talk shop. Set aside time each day to chitchat about your day as well as your spouse’s. Don’t forget that it’s tough for your spouse as well. I talked with my husband constantly while I was in the program. He knew about all my study buddies, my instructors, my school events, etc. And finally….
- Don’t forget hanky-panky. Go ahead, have some fun! You’ll find that a good roll in the hay, especially before tests, can release a lot of built-up stress. And if you’re anything like me, stress can bring down a test grade. Yes, that’s right—SEX your way to a better grade while keeping your spouse served, too!