For the last eight years I have been married to a great woman, my best friend and co-conspirator. For the past six of those years, and for reasons that seemed perfectly rational at the time, she has also been a law student. Now there are advantages to being married to a law student…
Firstly, I can watch whatever I want on TV. I have not needed to share the remote control since Game of Thrones was just a book series. I can sit and blissfully watch hours and hours of what she calls “blokevision”. You know, the good stuff, like Rambo, 4WD TV, Gasolene, Mad Max marathons and action movie of the week on Saturday nights.
While watching those hours of golden television, I tend to get peckish and that’s when procrastibaking comes into its own. My wife is a renowned procrastibaker. The more an assignment or topic is doing her head in, the more she bakes. Muffins, biscuits, home made muesli bars, cakes and even occasionally a soufflé. If she starts baking bread from scratch, then I know it’s time to sit her down and ask if she needs to talk it out.
Another advantage is surreptitiously learning a lot about law. Over the years I have proofread at least 30 assignments, talked through review questions on everything from rules of evidence to tort. I even know all about that God-awful snail at the bottom of the bottle of ginger beer, and I laugh at her sad Carbolic Smoke Ball jokes every flu season.
But as with everything in life, there are downsides. The constant studying is a strain on both of us. She is constantly locked away in the study doing countless hours of reading and listening to lectures. Sometimes it feels as though we never see each other for days on end.
The constant pressure on law students is one of my least favourite parts. Watching my wife’s stress levels peak as exams and assignment due dates loom is not fun and frankly, neither is she around those times.
Any semblance of a social life is, of course, a non-starter. Most weekends, it’s “I can’t. I have to study”. Although, we have found a way around that where she just takes her textbooks with us everywhere so she can at least be a little social and then hit the books at night when all the sensible boys and girls are resting or in bed.
All in all, the good outweighs the bad, and even when it’s bad, I remind myself that this too shall pass. She can’t possibly be a law student forever. I count down the units left until she is finished just as much as she does.
Tips for Surviving a Relationship with a Law Student
Be patient – law school won’t last forever
Have something unrelated to law school that you like to do together and make the time to do it. It will benefit both of you.
Be a circuit breaker. When your law student spouse is pushing themselves to the point of mental and physical exhaustion, stop them and get them to take a break.
Intervene when people try to scam free legal advice. You can do this by distracting the scammer or providing your spouse with an elsewhere to be. Your significant other will be eternally grateful for the save. They might even be so grateful that they take the night off from studying.
Keep your eyes on the prize. Think of the buckets of cash you will be swimming in come graduation day (allegedly – said law student spouse)
Just be there. Be supportive. Be a shoulder to cry on. Make them laugh when they need it. Make them eat when they forget to. Make them go to bed when they try to pull an all nighter because let’s face it, you have read what they write at 3am and it’s never good.
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