I am the wife of a student and It is no joke.
While Morgan was on his mission, I was able to put my nose to the grind and earn my Associates and found my self pursuing a career that didn't require anything further. After Morgan and I got married, we decided we were going to immediately pursue his education due to tons of advice warning us how hard an education is to pursue with kids. While I 100% agree it would be way harder now if we had kids, what we weren't warned about is how much harder it is to be a student while being married. And what I was not expecting at all was how hard it is to be a Student's wife.
First of all, I want to be very clear that I am NOT complaining about my life. I am so very very grateful that I have a husband so determined and dedicated to creating a brighter future and willing to work hard and sacrifice for it. Although this "married student life" has been and still is rough, the past 3 years Morgan and I have been able to work together and get it figured out so there are less disappointments, miscommunications or arguments (yup we argue, we are not exempt from real life.) Im not going to lie, a lot of these upsets were because I lost sight of the end game. I was forgetting that this was a sacrifice for both of us. I was honestly jealous of the time my husband was spending with his homework .... and coming to terms with it and actually typing that out makes me laugh but its the honest truth I had to figure out how to be the wife of a student. Although it won't be the same for everyone, here is what I have found...
How to be the Wife of a Student.
1. Don't get jealous of his homework....
I honestly would find myself jealous of the time he spend with his homework vs the time he spent with me but I had to remind myself that this is just as hard on him as it is on me... if not more... The last thing your husband wants to do when he gets home from class is study. Ill bet you a million dollars that he would rather spend time with you, but he also knows that if he doesn't study and finish that homework then he will fail and prolong his education on top of wasting thousands on tuition that will have to be paid regardless of his grades. As hard as it is, and although sometimes you feel like you are being totally neglected or even replaced by his homework, the most important thing is to understand that even though all you want to do is curl up next to him and tell you all about your day, he needs to get his homework and studying done so what I have ended up doing to pass the time is find a good book to read or a journal to write in. You can still sit together and be productive at the same time. If sitting still and not being distracting is just too much (yes, I am an antsy child sometimes) Leo and I will go to the park or go for a walk/run. No matter what you do just remember, even though you feel like your marriage is contingent on homework and professors, and its completely frustrating... you have to remember he isn't choosing to ignore you, so don't be upset, just be encouraging.
2. Pick up some of the slack.
If your Husband is like mine, he is working full time and going to school.. there are only so many full time activities one can have in a day. With that being said, if you want to spend the time they have after work and homework... you may have to do more laundry and more dishes than usual you may need to pick up and do what needs to be done around the house while your hubby does his homework. At times it feels like I am doing ALL of the cleaning and boring tasks that comes with being an adult. But no matter how many times he tries to help me, I remind him that I will do the dishes and fold the laundry if that means when he is done with homework and we do get time together we don't have to spend it doing house work. But when he does finish all of his work, we make sure that the time we have together count. Enjoy your weekends and especially the month in-between semesters! Date nights, Campouts, Canyon drives, Ice Cream runs, you name it.
3. Be prepared to disappoint people
You can't do everything everyone else is doing. Morgan and I made the choice to waive student loans since we can finiancially so we are funding all of our education out of pocket, so even if we had the time to go out and hang out sometimes we just can't justify it with our budget. One of the hardest things we had to adjust to is explaining to not only friends but also family that we just don't have time. We hate diappointing people but when we were first navigating this life we said yes to everything and found ourselves up late at night exhausted beyond belief and had absolutely no time to be together as a couple. Along with having no time, we had no money in our pocket and were stressed as all get out that we may need access to emergency funds that we didn't have. We were spreading ourselves too thin and losing our minds, missing deadlines, unable to catch up on sleep and fully function... it was no buenos. After we accepted that we cannot do it all, our relationship, Morgan's grades. our budget and our quality of life began to drastically improve. So just expect to disappoint people but hopefully when you explain your situation, your loved ones should understand and your friends, completely flexible. It may take some time but don't forget to put your relationship first. One loophole around this is planning ahead, if we find an open day or weekend, make it count and spend sometime with your friends. Socializing is always good ;)
4. Communicate with each other.
Communication is always huge in a marriage but when you throw school into the mix, there is a whole new element to communicating. One of the biggest hurtles we had to overcome was how to get on the same page. When planning out our days or weeks, we had to factor in class schedules AND homework. Even though Morgan is technically "home" he isn't really "home". At first, Morgan would tell me that he had for example, a quiz and an essay response that he needed to get done. In reality, that would take him all night but in my mind he could get that done before dinner... and we could make plans for after... so you could see how frustrated Morgan would get when he heard about plans I was making because he told me he had homework but then how disappointed I would be because I was taking that into consideration, I just didn't understand how long his homework would take. Now, Morgan and I not only discuss what he will need to do each day over the week, he also lets me know how long he thinks it will take, we add an hour buffer and then plan accordingly.
Another key thing about communication is getting involved. Even though I cannot understand the things Morgan is studying, I can still grasp basic concepts. I can talk to him about professors, the one he likes and the ones he doesn't, about people in his class and if they are annoying or genius or which classes are kicking his butt and which classes he is owning. There are plenty of things that I can talk to him about with his classes even if I don't understand the concepts being taught in them. Being involved helps Morgan be able to vent about frustrations or boast about successes which in turn gives me the ability to encourage when needed or celebrate with him. Additionally, it helps me feel like I am apart of this journey too and that some how I could help if needed.
5. Be Understanding
It is not uncommon for students to change career paths, to realize that what they once thought was their deem job is now a dreaded nightmare. Imagine spending all this time and money going through school to find out that you don't want to pursue that career anymore. For the average single college student, its a simple explanation to your parents and grandparents that you've changed your mind. For the married student, its explaining this to an exhausted and invested spouse who also has their future on the line. That terrifies me and Ill never have to deal with it... Morgan changed his studies a year into school which wasn't a huge surprise for either of us since he wasn't 100% sure of his future plans when he started, and I couldn't be one to judge since I did the same thing but if it had happened 2 or 3 years into his studies I would have been and still am glad that he figured it out now rather than after graduation. Just remember, If he has found out now that he doesn't want to continue his studies in his current studies, it is so much better than finding out a year after graduation and a lifetime of dreaded 9 - 5's which inevitably leads to a frustrated and possibly miserable husband. There will be failed tests, there will be changes of heart or mind, there will be bad grades or terrible professors and the best thing that you can do is to be understanding. Realize that no matter what, life happens and you just have to take a deep breath, deal with it and push forward.
If I'm being perfectly honest, I am a school junkie, I LOVE learning I CRAVE experiencing new things and whole heartedly believe that as long as you aren't putting yourself into a debt you'll never be able to pay off, then school will only help you in the future. Especially now that a Bachelors is the new Associates. Like I mentioned before I have not yet been able to get my Bachelors but as soon as Morgan graduates, you bet ill be starting my laundry list of classes that I want to take. I will however be going at a much slower pace, taking only a few classes at a time so we can enjoy each other's company.
This is part of life will have its ups and downs. There is no avoiding it. What you can avoid is having to figure this out like we did. Learn from our mistakes. Hopefully, this post will shed some light for those who are either going through this phase of life so they may have a better grip on things while going through it, or for those who know couples who are going through this so you can have a better understanding of what they are going through and how you could possibly help. But regardless, HAPPY STUDYING! :)