Saturday, September 28, 2013

not a dental school widow

I refuse to be a dental school widow. As I read that sentence aloud, I hear how selfish it sounds. However, in order to make that happen, I have learned that I must be extremely unselfish.

Before Daniel and I married, I heard all the horror stories—all the crazy high divorce rate statistics and all the lonely nights by myself tales. And, really, I am grateful for those stories. I am glad I didn’t go into this with unrealistic expectations.

But at the same time I do not want my first four years of marriage to be remembered as the days Daniel sat at his desk and Jenny sat on the couch. And if that’s going to happen, it takes sacrifice – which I have learned that my selfish self is not very good at.

It means working to know Daniel’s schedule backwards and forwards so I don’t commit to something when he should be studying.

It means going by myself to small group so I don’t go stir crazy and so Daniel can concentrate.

It means giving up my “if you don’t cook, you clean” rule because Daniel performing well on his test is more important than me relaxing after dinner.

It means doing more of the chore load in general, because I want Daniel’s free time to be spent with me and not folding laundry.

It means taking advantage of his days off and forsaking plans with others.

And it means sometimes getting creative with date night because there are not hours to waste on dinner or a musical or mini golf.

Honestly, I am not very good at any of those things. Some mornings I wake up frustrated because the dishwasher needs to be unloaded and the dishes are piled in the sink and the kitchen table is covered with clutter and I feel like I am the only one who does anything around here.

{Which is totally not true, Daniel helps me way more than he should. Yesterday was his independent study day, and I came home from work and he had picked up the whole house and cleaned all the dishes in the sink.}

Sometimes I get sad. Sometimes I get bitter. Sometimes I get frustrated. And that’s not fair to anyone, especially Daniel.

So right now I am praying for perspective. For patience. For kindness. For selflessness.

For the sake of a greater goal. For a marriage that is founded on Jesus. For a relationship that makes us Christ-like. For a dental school romance that lasts.

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
~Philippians 2:1-4 

Here’s my attempt to be creative for date night on a test weekend. It actually turned out better than planned. And, I got to cross another thing off my bucket list!:

Instead of going out for dinner, Daniel studied while I cooked up some of his favorites:
salmon, sweet potato and salad {with fruit only}. We set up a picnic in the side yard.

This is the face of someone who accidentally dumped their drinking water all over his
wife's dinner. No worries, I like my fish fresh out of the water.

We're waiting for it to get dark and enjoying some conversation that
doesn't include what he's studying today.

Daniel decided he would be the guinea pig on lighting the lanterns. 

Unfortunately, we didn't do it right because his lantern caught on fire.

His heart's on fire!

It still left the ground, but this was about as high as it got before it came cruising
back down still on fire. Luckily, Daniel still had some drinking water left to put the fire out.

Next was my turn. My lantern was more practical in shape.

It floated easily.  
It kept going...

And going... 
And going! You can still see the tiny light through the trees. Hopefully the lantern didn't
eventually come crashing down in someone's yard still on fire.

All in all, it was a fun night. Now, I'm racking my brain for other creative, time-sensitive ideas for date night.


  1. Hi there Jenny, I came across your blog through Pinterest! I too am a Christian and wife of a Dental Student. My husband is in his second year at University of Colorado. I just have to say that I love what you said in this post about refusing to be a Dental School widow because I hate that phrase. I have a blog about being the wife of a Dental Student and would love for you to take a look. like is the address! What year is your husband in?

  2. Hi Ariel! Thank you so much! I have been reading your blog, and it's so great to learn about what I have to look forward to. Daniel is only a first year (he started in August) so this is both new and exciting for us. It's so great that you have a job on campus so that you can spend more time with your husband.

  3. Wow I totally read your article earlier this year and just realized your husband is in my class! I'm getting married next month, December 22nd to be exact and I don't know what to expect. I hope it turns out great and my husband is as understanding as you are. I will definitely be checking out your date night ideas!

  4. Hi Alison! Isn't it crazy how small of a world we live in? I hope your first semester went well! I know you're glad to have a big break - especially if you're getting married! I also know you wouldn't expect me to say otherwise, but I love being married. Of course it's a challenge - every. single. day. - but it brings so much joy and happiness, too. And, I know I am becoming more Christ-like every day because of it. Please do check out my date ideas, and let me know how it goes! I'd love to meet you some time soon. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!