Should Doctors Marry Doctors?

Though medical students are inundated with education and training, all of us still need to consider the non-medical aspects of our futures, marriage being an important item on the “to do list” for many. It’s interesting to note how many fourth year medical students (MS-4s) are in a serious relationship (if not already married) with one of their classmates. So how does this come about?

I can only speculate, but it seems that constant exposure to each other is a pivotal driving force in forming these relationships. We’re in the same classes for all of pre-clinicals, probably live close to each other, study together, go to lunch together, go to recreational events together, etc. All this “togetherness” gives us opportunities to get to know each other on a deeper level beyond medical school. Yet is pursuing this kind of relationship less about true love and more about a lack of options?

Despite my sincerest efforts, I’ve regrettably lost contact with some people who got me to this point, and I’m sure many other medical students can relate. That’s just how it goes. Between classes, preceptorships, shadowing, research, studying, and worrying, it’s hard (but not impossible) to go out and meet other people. The lack of options becomes apparent, and some resort to dating a classmate to fulfill that part of their life.

How about the prospect of life with a physician spouse? I imagine a lot of male pediatricians would be uncomfortable with their surgeon wives making twice as much money (thank you, male ego). How about having a family? Will the children see day-care workers more than their own parents? Will McDonald’s become their primary sustenance? How many times will they accept you missing their soccer game or piano recital because of “having to work?” I’m sure these examples are gross exaggerations, but they’re still something to consider.

Personally, I’ve flipped back and forth on my own views. At times, I feel like it’d be nice to have a spouse who actually understands what I’m ranting about rather than blindly smiling and nodding. On the other hand, having a physician wife would make it increasingly difficult to draw a line between the “medical work environment” and “family home environment.”

As far as those medical students/residents/physicians who have found love in someone of the same career, I wholeheartedly commend you and wish nothing but the utmost success in your respective relationships. 🙂

What do you think about doctors marrying doctors?

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  1. I hate to admit it, but as a male who is not a doctor, I have not been able to commit to a relationship with the women doctors I have met and dated. There were two reasons: firstly, in both cases I met the doctors at a hospital where I worked part-time while studying at university. The job I performed at the time was as a hospital courier. Now I am not a snob and to their great credit neither were either of the women doctors. But let’s get real – can you imagine going to meet the doctors’ parents and explaining your current employment was that of a hospital courier. Secondly, while these days I am professionally employed as a consultant, I always felt that there was a need to have freedom to pursue my own life my own way. Any woman doctor ideally needs a husband who will support her by putting her career first. That wasn’t me. I recently discovered the career path of one of the doctors – she is very high-powered working as a physician, university lecturer and research scientist (PhD). I take my hat off to her great success and sent her an e-mail saying so. So far I have not heard back and hope there are no hard feelings as she is still single and also childless it appears.

  2. Docs marrying docs has some lofty advantages.

    (1) Healthy relations often involve copious amounts of alone time

    (2) Likes attract — (could cite countless psychological studies). As you said, nobody wants a spouse who can’t understand doctor/science “rants”.

    (3) Churins — Docs have a higher chance of making kids with brain advantages. A structural MRI twin study elucidated that heritability coefficients for lobe tissue volumes were high, > 70%. Doctors tend to have their shit together, thanks be to goal-directed behaviors. They tend to be able to delay short-term gratification, which ought to correlate partially with larger volumes of substrate in frontal pole, orbitofrontal, and PFC. Kids will likely have it to a degree. A long-term study correlated future success with 4 year olds’ ability to delay reward (not eat a marshmallow on the table). The follow-up at 13 years later showed the kids who could delay reward the longest had better grades and were more socially competent.


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