I can’t speak for people of other cultures, but among many people who share my cultural background, there’s an odd fixation on marrying young women off to doctors. I witnessed a lot of this in my own journey to getting married, and it never really sat right with me. Maybe this was because my brother is a doctor, and I saw the struggles he and his wife went through, especially during his residency training.
The matchmaking aunties (AKA “rishta aunties”) often glorify a doctor’s career and the life of his family. They make it seem like being a doctor is the pinnacle of success, and it automatically makes a man an ideal husband. Due to all the good things a young woman hears, she might think that every doctor works from 9 A.M. until 5 P.M., Monday through Friday, and just brings home bags of cash every evening.
I am married to a doctor, and I can tell you, this is far from the truth. Yes, there are positives about this career path, as with many others. But it’s unfair to push gullible young women into marrying physicians without making sure they’re fully aware of what their lives might be like.
A doctor’s hours, depending on his chosen field (I say “he” because I’m talking about male doctors in this article), can be totally erratic. I’m writing this now while my husband is at work, and he’ll be there all night until the morning. My job grants me weekends off, but his doesn’t, so we’re rarely able to spend time together or go out of town during the weekend. He only has one day off every week, and sometimes not even that. There are times when he’ll get a day off on the one day that I’m really busy, and he spends it alone. Or he finds out which day he has off on such short notice that I’m unable to cancel my plans.
We are also unable to spend holidays together, because he has to work during all of them. We have missed weddings and special occasions of relatives and close friends, because it’s just that hard for him to get an extra day or two off. He is usually extremely tired when he comes back from work at night, during his day shifts. He leaves the house the next morning while the sun is still down, or rising. And I’ve gotten used to spending nights alone, worrying about how exhausted he must be while working 16 hours straight as I lay in our comfortable bed.
When it comes to the money, yes, most doctors earn an above-average income, but a lot of it goes to paying tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars off in loans. Plus, during their training period, which is usually three to five years or even longer, doctors-in-training have a very average salary and sometimes continue taking out loans for one reason or another (such as providing for the family or going on a much-needed vacation). My husband and I don’t spend a single penny without making sure that it’s accounted for, because we’re not as rich as people assume we are when they hear that I’m married to a doctor. And during his next break, we’re not able to fly anywhere to go on a vacation, because we don’t want to spend a huge chunk of our very limited savings.
I’m not trying to make it seem like marrying a doctor is a bad idea, or that a person will be miserable if they do so. But women who are not in the field themselves may be unaware of what they’re getting themselves into. I’m just hoping that this will help shed some light on the struggles that a woman might have to face when married to a doctor.
Beyond that, a marriage is what both people make it, so whether you’re married to a doctor or anyone else will not determine how happy or unhappy you are. Which is something that I think the “rishta aunties” have yet to understand.