Alright docs. This one is for you.

If you are a doctor and you are married, I’m going to let you in on a little secret – your wife puts up with a lot of crap that comes with living the doctor’s wife life. Now don’t get me wrong, there are some perks that come with the territory too. Yes, some doctor’s wives live a very comfortable lifestyle financially and that is in large part thanks to your hard work and sacrifice. You work very hard to take care of her and your family.

But there’s no denying it – being married to a doctor isn’t all rainbows and unicorns. Sometimes it is just plain hard. She has to put up with your unpredictable schedule, your long hours, your weekend call-shifts or you working the holidays. She has to take care of almost everything behind the scenes because you can’t – you’re still at work. You work long hours (depending on specialty, of course) and she is left to fill in the gaps.

Just like it definitely isn’t easy to be a doctor, it isn’t easy to be a doctor’s wife. Because of that she needs YOU. She needs your support, your love, your appreciation, your encouragement.

Doctors, here are 9 ideas of what your wife needs to hear from you. Do your best to say these to her, and soon! Say them often and mean it. It will do a world of good for her and for your marriage.

what your wife needs to hear

1. “Thank You For Supporting Me and My Dream”

No matter when your wife joined you in your medical journey, she is supporting you and your dream to be a doctor. If you two were married before medical school, she has been with you the ENTIRE way. Or even if you got married after the training years were over, she is by your side supporting you as you go into work everyday and take care of your patients.

Acknowledge that she supports you and THANK HER FOR IT. Everything that she does – managing the home, taking care of the kids, scheduling your appointments or taking care of car maintenance – everything she does is to support you and your career as a doctor. She has been there for you and will continue to be there for you. Recognize her hard work and contribution to this doctor life and thank her.

2. “I Could Not Do This Without You”

Like I said earlier, being a doctor is HARD. With your wife by your side, you can focus on being the best doctor you can be while she takes care of everything else. Let’s be honest for a minute here – you could not do this doctor thing without her. You would not be the doctor you are today without her help.

So tell her that! She needs to feel appreciated and needed. It will mean so much to her to hear that you could not do this without her. It will remind the two of you that you are TEAM, not two individual people living their lives that happen to live in the same house. Being a doctor is a team sport and you happen to have an amazing woman on your team.

3. “You Are Enough”

Chances are your wife’s negative self-talk sometimes gets the better of her. I don’t know why, but us ladies are experts at tearing ourselves down. We feel inadequate or that we should BE more that we are. We should be more optimistic, more thin, more social, more patient with our kids, have a cleaner house and have our lives just more “put together.” We want to be everything, not just for ourselves but also for our husbands.

So stop that negative thinking in its tracks by telling your wife that she is enough. That where she is right now is perfect. Tell her that you love her exactly as she is right now. Tell her that her current efforts are enough. She needs to hear this from you, and often.

4. “You Are A Fantastic Mom”

If you have kids, tell her that she is doing a fantastic job as a mom. Is she perfect? No way. But she is trying her best. Being a mother and a doctor’s wife is tricky, because she is often feeling like she is a single mom who is doing it on her own. She does the majority of the parenting. That doesn’t mean you’re off the hook as a dad, but you work crazy hours – so of course the majority of child-rearing falls on her shoulders.

Tell her she is doing a great job. She has nights where she feels overwhelmed and she doesn’t know what to do about her kids. Where she feels like she is failing them and not doing her job as a mother. Tell her she is doing a fantastic job and give specifics if you can – like how you admire her patience with your difficult toddler or how impressed you are that she is able to juggle schedules for 3 different kids. She is doing her best and working her hardest – she just needs to be reminded sometimes that she is doing a great job.

5. “Go Relax, I’ll Take Care Of This”

Just like how physicians suffer from burnout, your wife suffers from it too. She needs a break every now and then, just like you.

So give her one! Tell her that you’ll take the kids for the night so she can go out with some friends. Allow her time to read her favorite book that she never gets to read. Do what needs to be done so she can relax and maybe even take a nap. She will appreciate the much-needed break and come back with more energy, resolve, and dedication to her marriage and her family. It will make her a better wife and a better mom.

6. “How Can I Help You?”

This phrase is MUSIC to every wife’s ears! She has a daily list of tasks that is a mile long. If you came home from work and asked her, “How can I help you?”, I guarantee you will get the biggest smile (or shocked look) in return.

Be willing to help her with anything – doing the dishes, folding the laundry, putting the kids to bed, or changing a diaper. Even the little things that take 5 minutes will make a huge difference for her.

Now some doctors might think, “Well she doesn’t come to work and help me take care of my patients.” Um hello?!! Like we said earlier, almost EVERYTHING she does is to support you and help you at work! She does everything behind the scenes so you don’t HAVE to worry about it. She does her job so you can do yours. So you turning around and helping her with her job every once in awhile makes perfect sense.

7. “I Don’t Care If the House Is Spotless/Dinner is Perfect/You Are Still in Your Workout Clothes”

Sometimes when you come home from work, I’m sure your wife will start apologizing for things. “I’m sorry the house is such a wreck!” or “Sorry that it’s just pizza for dinner tonight” or “Ugh, I’ve been so busy today and haven’t even had a chance to shower. I’m so gross!”

Yeah, of course you would probably want a clean house, a wife who is perfectly put together, and a 5-star meal. But have realistic expectations and realize that some days, it just isn’t in the cards. Tell her that you don’t care and that it’s ok if things aren’t perfect. If you tell her that you don’t mind it means you care more about her and her happiness than you do about the state of of your house or what’s for dinner that night.

8. “Want to Go On a Date This Weekend?”

Ask your wife out on a DATE! Don’t just turn on Netflix and call that a “date”. Tell her you want to go out on Saturday, ask her to find a babysitter, then you plan something fun for the two of you to do.

I know you don’t always have time to do this. My DrH works so hard that dates usually only happen if I plan them out. But it’s such a nice treat when he takes the time to plan one and take me out. It reminds me of the two of us dating before we were married. I absolutely LOVE it.

So plan a date and ask her to go out with you! Pour on the romance if you can. She will love love love it.

9. “I Love You”

You can never say this phrase too much. Don’t just assume that she knows it – tell her. She needs to hear it and she needs to hear it often. Tell her in person and over the phone. Text it to her when you are working a long shift and won’t be home for a while. It will mean a lot to her that you are thinking of her even in the middle of your crazy work day.

Docs, if you haven’t been saying any of these to your wife lately it’s ok! You can still change.  We all need to express more appreciation and encouragement to each other.  So just pick a few of these ideas of what your wife needs to hear and work on incorporating these into your interactions with your sweetheart. I promise that both of you will love the results of greater affection, appreciation, and love towards each other.