Written by Alicia, friend of several graduate wives
I am not a graduate wife, never have been and who knows if I ever will be. (I am a single twenty something living and working on the East Coast.) But I sure know a lot of graduate wives. Friends from college and life post-college who followed their husbands to law school, divinity school, business school or to start work on a PhD. Women in my small group, church, and acquaintances from where I grew up who left town to help support their husbands’ dreams of further education.
In many ways, I can’t relate.
I am not married. I really only have to think about myself. I do have days that I long for a spouse to share life with and it seems easy to drop everything and imagine following someone else’s dreams, at other times I am reminded just how high the cost and how great the sacrifice involved in the life of a graduate wife. However on quite a few levels I have found that I can relate. I too know that the stresses of life can be great and can share in the struggles; the rhythm of the same routine day in and day out can be monotonous, and I can relate to the pressure that finding a job with health insurance in this economy can be almost too much to ask for.
Even though my life might not look exactly like some of my friends, I have found it incredibly valuable to reach out and to share in life with the friends I have both near and far that are in different seasons, especially the ones who find themselves as a graduate wife. Below are some ideas in response to Ashley’s question from Tuesday on how to reach out and support grad wife friends. I hope some speak to you!
- If your friend’s husband is in school and is always studying she may have more time than usual. Suggest reading the same book and discuss over e-mail, phone or Skype.
- Is your friend on a super tight budget? If you have money to spare, send a small bit of cash every month or so and insist that she and the husband take a study break and do something fun.
- Send notes and cards on a regular basis. Highlight fun memories from days past. Be an encouragement to her.
- Is your graduate wife friend moving somewhere new and starting over again? Research along with her and send maps of the nearby towns and cities. Highlight fun places to visit and yummy, cheap places to eat! Do you have friends where your graduate wife friend is moving? Introduce them! Connections in a new place make all the difference!
- Go visit your graduate wife friend and her husband. Take an interest in grad school life. Visit the campus. Meet her new friends.
- Celebrate milestones! Did her husband finish the big paper? Did he do well on the big exam? Be excited and celebrate the little and big steps forward!
- Listen to her share. Be willing to carry the burden alongside her. Ensure that she knows she is not alone on her journey as a graduate wife.
Even if you are in a different season of life that seems so far from where your graduate life friends are at, reach out and be a blessing to them. Laugh, cry, love and care well for your graduate wife friends and don’t let your ‘stage of life’ stop you from doing so.
Do you have any other ideas on how you have learned to relate to and support graduate wife friends or family during this season?