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5 Myths about the Dr.’s Wife (or Husband)


Gold-digger. Did I hear you wrong? Did you mean goal-digger? Remember medicine as the ultimate career of delayed gratification, remember that doctor who has ½ million in student loan debt snowballing at 7% before he got his first attending paycheck?

9,000 views and counting of my recent article 5 myths about doctors our society believes made me realize that we are all interested in raising awareness on the personal and professional life of doctors, with the ultimate goal of getting more support for physician wellness.

As it is definitely true that there’s a great woman behind every great man and vice versa, I hope this post will debunk some of the most damaging and isolating myths about doctors’ better halves. (In fact, it is frequently true that the doctor’s spouse is the larger half of the successful work/home life.)

1. Gold-digger.

Did I hear you wrong? Did you mean goal-digger? Remember medicine is the ultimate career of delayed gratification, remember the doctor has a half million in student loan debt snowballing at 7% before he gets his first attending paycheck?

Gold-diggers don’t marry doctors; they marry those in business or Hollywood. To survive as a (candidate) spouse for a doctor for a few years, let alone a few decades, one has to be extremely diligent, resourceful, and dedicated, which is largely representative of the doctor spouses I have met and known.

2. Trophy.

If you mean "trophy" in the sense of Jessica Simpson-looking wives, you are wrong. Sure, I’ve met many doctor’s spouse fit for Hollywood stardom, but I’ve also seen them straddle a kid in front, holding the hand of another, while pushing the third in a on her way to drop off a homemade lunch for the medical student who’s studying for the 10th hour at the library.

Trophies are meant to be marveled at. Doctor’s spouses don’t even stay still for long enough to get a picture of.

3. Don’t lift a finger.

Again, these individuals are as devoted to serving others as their doctor spouses. The reason they became husband and wife is because they share the same ideals and passions. Not only do you see doctor’s spouses serving their family, kids, kids’ schools, and churches, but you may find them in many more places instead of just the malls or nail salons.

4. Spend all the money on themselves.

First of all, during the first 10 years after college, there’s not much money to go around. Living under the doom of a large negative net worth while watching your spouse work to death, wondering where the end of the tunnel will be, is not for the faint or vain of heart.

Most doctors’ better halves are the thriftiest people I’ve ever met. They know by heart the value of the precious $12 dollars made as her husband is away for the 36th hour of the day. She knows the sacrifice and she takes nothing for granted.

5. Spend all her time on herself.

Did I mention she’s busy, industrious, and goal-digging, with a heart of gold and so much love for her doctor spouse, kids, and community? There’s no time to spend on herself. I do hope that instead the raised eyebrow of “oh, you are a doctor’s wife” and the sneaky glance at her finger anticipating a giant diamond, those at dinner parties will give this dedicated, incredible person in front them a pat on the back, “Thank you for supporting your spouse tirelessly, allowing him/her to be such an incredible doctor, an asset to our community.”

That would be a better day for doctors and their better halves.

If you like this article, you might enjoy other DWM articles on Personal Finance, Investing, Retirement, Practice Management, & Lifestyle.

All articles by DWM are for informational purposes only and not intended as a substitute for professional advice. Please consult a professional accountant, financial adviser or lawyer, before making financial decisions.

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Victor J. Dzau, MD, gives expert advice
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