Marriage and the Medical Career

Posted: October 26, 2012 in Medschool Bits
Tags: , ,

I don’t know about other people my age but, between you and me (and the rest of the World Wide Web), I have this intense, almost irrational, fear of marriage.  The thought of waking up beside the same person for the rest of my life, knowing that this thing we have is a forever kind of thing, makes my fingers go cold, the hairs at the back of the neck to stand up, and my stomach to coil and recoil about itself violently.  I’ve never understood it.  It surely is not a result of some personal craving for as many lovers as possible.  Wouldn’t that just shock the Catholic nuns who had given me my elementary and high school education if that were true?  Some close friends have actually scoffed at this fear, saying that I’m just probably trying to appear strong and independent.  Oh how I wish that were the case because it would make everything else so simple.

I’ve always been told that this type of fear could be outgrown.  It simply has something to do with youth, that inherent desire of young age to not be tied down by anything irrevocably permanent.  Although I believe that divorce and/or annulment may be utilized sparingly in situations that necessitate them, I also believe that if one has to enter into something that institutionalized in the first place, one has better be damn sure one stays in it and keeps the vows that had been made before God, spouse, and family.

In the real world, normal people in their mid-twenties generally are already starting to get married, get pregnant, and have families.  However, for those who’d gone to medical school, that normal phase in life gets pushed further until after passing the medical boards or even beyond.   Only a select few would tempt Fate by getting their girlfriends pregnant and getting married prior to that just as my older brother had.  My mother used to nag me to hurry up because she believed that, when a female medical student is still not in a serious relationship by the time she turns twenty-five, chances are she will turn out to be an old maid with bilaterally dried-up eggs to match.

The life of a surgeon is not an easy one, much more if one is married to a fellow doctor with very little time at his disposal as well.  Even if one gets hitched with a non-medical/lay person, the arrangement would still be a difficult one because a) one will only be unfair to the partner because one will not be able to give him the time and affection he needs/deserves and b) one will only be unfair to one’s self because one will not be able to completely immerse one’s self in that relationship enough to maintain it.

There’s a saying that goes work is not a warm bed partner or something to that effect but I’d personally rather take the risk of a cold bed than to have a bed partner, warm or otherwise, who could, at any moment, abscond or die, leaving me with too many problems and too many uncontrollable emotions that I would have no time to deal with.

I’ve always deferred to my mother where a lot of things are concerned.  I’ve always respected her experiences and the choices she had made in life.  So, the ultimate question I was asking her was this: in case I do outgrow this irrational, immature fear of marriage, where is it supposed to fit in a medical career, especially in the kind of career I want for myself?

This was what my wise mother replied, for she is such a sage (and I’m being sarcastic here):  “Marriage is a choice.  It takes effort so you make it fit.”  A lot of help you are, Mom.  You are a freaking fountain of golden answers.


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