Can't seem to get the wife on board

I, again, recently started to consider the Med School pursuit. I didn’t say anything at first, though she noticed I was reading various books on the topic, She finally said, “I know what you’re up to, don’t even think about it”. She is worried about all of the geographic, financial and emotional upheaval it’ll have, as am I. A few days later she heard me out. I explained that right now, I’m just taking one on-line Math class. I’m not going to medical school tomorrow, She’s convinced that it’s going to take me away from her (the vixen of science has been known for that). She pretty much said that such a pursuit will devastate us as a family. Any words of wisdom would be appreciated.

Although I am new to the pre-med pursuit, my previous journey was to a prestigious networking certification that costs (on average) $20-30k to achieve, recommends 10 years in experience, and 2-3 attempts, with each attempt costing $1,500 + travel to the three testing sites in the united states…plenty enough for a wife to not be happy about.

It took some getting used to. My wife also wasn’t too excited. I think for me, at least, the key was letting her know I was serious about it, and it was not just a “phase”. Additionally, when you’re not studying, you should surely be finding time to spend with her/the family, that way it doesn’t seem like you’re totally gone…just kind of! For example, in the middle of my study sessions (8-12 hours a day on the weekends), I’d take an hour or so break to take my wife and daughter out to lunch.

Just my $.02. Bottom line is, if you really want to do it, and don’t, you will regret it in years to come. It’s a big undertaking, undoubtedly, so hopefully your wife and you can come to some sort of an agreement. Best of luck to you!


first of, if I had to choose between my wife and Med School, I’d easily keep my wife.

With that said, I can understand the frustration. Perhaps, you can use your pre-reqs as a test and see how you guys are all doing. If you manage to successfully complete pre-reqs while you are putting in the time for the family, it may convince her.

Like any negotiation, you have to find out what she’d like in exchange. So the best would be to discuss rather than stopping at the “don’t think about it”

I don’t know how I would handle such a situation, but I think, if you are to go to Med School, you cannot (and should not) do it without her. Get her consent, things will be much much easier and less risky.

Oh and another thing, you can search the forum for more opinions on that (it is one of these never ending debates), but you should avoid online classes.

It also took me some time to get my husband on board with the idea of med school, so you’re not alone, spdrpint.

One of my husband’s big issues was finances, and what helped was when I worked out how we would survive financially through the journey (literally, breaking down the numbers in terms of how much loan money we will be eligible for, how this plays into our mortgage when combined with his salary, etc.). It will be tight, as we discovered, but we will be able to survive. That calmed his nerves dramatically.

Another of my husband’s concerns was the same as your wife’s – that medicine would leave me no time for our family (of two --him and me, currently). Also that I would not be able to contribute to household responsibilities and the he would be left with the lion’s share, even after working a full-time job all day long. So we’ve divvied up some of those household responsibilities (in a more formal way than before), and agreed that when possible, dinner will be our time together, at the least. Doing those things in addition seemed to show him that I was serious about medicine, but also about my commitment to my family and my responsibilities as a wife.

I don’t know if that helps … but regardless, best wishes to you. I know of your frustration, and I hope things work out for you.

Same worry of my husband’s. What will I miss out on as far as the kids? Well, right now I am gone flying every weekend for 3-4 days. So, I totally miss out on those days. I know that I need to find out more about class time and how much additional study time after classes. Anyone?

When I first had the real thought of applying to medical school, it was in 2003 and our daughter was about to turn 2. I had just finished my 3 class in graduate school and we were on vacation in Tampa. While we were sitting on the porch having a glass of wine until the baby fell asleep I just blurted the idea out. At that point I had a 4.0 and I was thinking it was now or never. And while my wife was supportive, the conversations over the next several years revolved around how are we going to do this?

And this is a typical scenario that non-trads with a family have. How are we going to maintain a lifestyle? And the answer is not simple, but it is doable.

One thing that I had assured my wife is that this process will be done together. It all started with selection of the schools to apply to. At first, I looked at the schools and made a list of 20-30 schools that I was interested in. We then sat down together and looked at the list and the schools I put down. Any school that she did not want to move to was taken off the list no questions asked. By doing this, I assured her that we are in this together and not just her following me where ever I go. Then once I was accepted, I brought her to the schools and looked around. I then told her that while I picked the final I would go to, the decision of where to move was hers. Then came the hard part, living on a very tight budget.

Since we sold our house before the bubble burst we were able to pay off all of our credit cards. No debt.

Next, we went over the financial aid information and created a budget. We shopped around for all services including cable, cell phone, etc. The one snag was health insurance. Things worked out in the end. We became coupon cutters, asked family for some help (which is a no interest loan which can get paid back in the form of vacations when we start making $$), and looking for free things to do with the kids. Also, I spend a lot of time looking for and applying for scholarships.

I am not going to say that it is easy but it is doable. We are less than 9 months away from finally finishing and getting on with residency (which she gave me a time limit for of no more than 5 years).

Just remind her that she is always #1 and you will do everything you can to make her happy. That while this process if hard it is not impossible. I have been married 11 years and we just had our 4th daughter (yes I know I am in trouble, my mancave is the garage) but my girls are very proud of me. When they are asked what does their daddy do for work, they always say “my daddy is in school to be a doctor” and they are very excited. If anything, it has made up closer as a family because I have to make up the time that I am not with them because of rotations, studying for exams, etc. Each daughter gets their own special Daddy and Me time where we go to the mall or go to starbucks and get a drink or walk around and I pay 100% attention to them and them only. They love it and they get excited when I tell them when it is their turn.

During my first 2 years, since the library did not open until 1pm, it would be Daddy’s Diner. My girls would make up a menu and would take turns being the waitress while I was the short order cook. My wife loved it because she was waited on and I cooked (made it look very nice too). Again, more time with them. And when my wife and I wanted to go out, several of my classmates volunteered to be babysitters (paid of course) but I knew them and they were trusted.

I even brought my eldest to class with me during “bring your daughter to work day.” I arranged for her to meet with some of the Deans and professors and she loved it ( I attached 2 of the photos). Now my 6 year old is begging to do the same thing.

Of course when exams rolled around everything was suspended but then when the exams were over they came back.

If she would like to speak to my wife about this there is no problem. My wife has spoken to other spouses in the past about this. Just PM me your info and I will pass it along.

It is not uncommon for spouses to be hesitant, it is a big step and a HUGE commitment. But it is doable and in the end, I find it to be very, very rewarding.

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Hi spdrplnt!

I feel your pain. I have a 16-year-old daughter and a husband who is, though a wonderful guy, almost physically allergic to change. We own a retail business in Michigan (can you guess given the geography it is probably not doing so hot?!) and we have relied 80% on my paycheck as an RN to pay the mortgage. Last month I was forced to quit my job due to some very shady employment practices used by the management at my job. We have enough money saved up to get us through a few more months but with no bites for new jobs (and this is BIZARRE in the nursing field), my BS already achieved, and several pre-med pre-reqs aced & done, it seemed like the universe was telling me that it was now or never as far as following my dream of med school. We have decided that the only way to get it all done is for me to enlist as an active RN in the Navy to facilitate paying the mortgage, paying for my pre-reqs while I’m in, and having cash for our daughter’s college through the GI Bill - then probably re-upping with the Navy to get med school payed for. NOT your typical plan for most families.

I tell you all this in order to demonstrate along with the other fine replies you’ve gotten that it is possible if you look at all possibilities. No matter what, going to med school is never a practical thing nor the easy thing. But if you believe in yourself and have the history of hard work behind you, you can do it.

As far as getting your wife on board it is going to take far more communication than you can imagine. You have to let her know, as I did my husband, that this decision will ultimately lead to betterment for your family. And I agree with the other posts in that you will need to spell your options out to her point by point. Let her see the numbers. Get her involved. And be honest in how much of a challenge this will be for the both of you and how you are going to handle it. You will, without exception, need to be the strong one every step of the way - even when you are tired or stressed or scared yourself. Show her in every step you take that you are 100% serious and 100% dedicated (i.e., work your ass off for fantastic grades). And, most of all, understand that any resistance you get from her is because she is afraid - not because she doesn’t want to see you happy. Change is very, very scary for most people, especially a spouse who is happy with the status quo and can’t understand why anything needs to change to such a dramatic degree in the one person whom they’ve vowed to stick with forever.

Good luck!

As a side not, by the way Gabe, you are an inspiration! 4 daughters, man that’s so cool and almost done with med school.

Really, great to read your story. Quite impressive.

That’s inspiring gabe! I have 3 daughters now (newborn twins plus a 4 year old). I think we’re done!

Thanks Gabriel. Now for the actual school and study schedule. :slight_smile:

First and Second Year

Sunday: wake-up until 1pm: Daddy’s Diner, 1pm-? Study at the library.

Mon-Friday: School until 5pm. 5-6:30 family dinner. 6:30-9pm Library

Friday night-Sunday afternoon: Family time.

This all was suspended during exams. Then it was all study, all the time. When exams were done, all weekend was family time.

Thanks for all the great replies, they are very helpful.

I’ll add my two cents: We’re in the figuring phase still, and my husband was also reticent. Each couple has their own compromises to make, but ultimately my husband understands that there is no other choice for me. (He’s a psychotherapist, highly intuitive, so he “feels” how much I want this.) After that was accepted and he was over his initial shock (I had originally settled on a direct-entry NP degree.), it was planning time. How do we make it work financially, time wise, etc. He had a strange idea that there were affairs involved, like on the tv shows, which I had to reassure him about. (I can’t imagine having any time or interest to pursue those kind of messy extracurriculars!) We don’t want to move from here, but in opening our geographical options I reassured him that wherever we live, his career interests would be able to be pursued and are of great importance to me. We also just had the “mountain debate” again the other day, where we agreed that I would prioritize med schools with access to mountains. It’s important to him, so, knowing the sacrifices the entire family will be making for my dreams, I feel that it’s very important to factor in what’s important to him, even though mountains do not factor in any way into my choice of med school. Laying out everyone’s priorities and concerns, even if they may seem silly or unimportant to the other is of major importance. Best of luck!

I would say one thing that has convinced my wife is (a) she saw how miserable I was being a cubicle critter (b) she can see how much passion I have for it. I mean fer crying out loud I was telling her the other day how much I was enjoying what I am learning in Org Chem.