(Closed) Is working on doctorate degree while married difficult? Wait to get married?

posted 6 years ago in 20 Something
Post # 3
9053 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2010

If you’re currently in a committed relationship I don’t really see how it would make much difference.  Planning a wedding while working on a doctorate might be a challgenge, but the marriage if anything should make things easier!

Post # 4
3968 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

@SurferB:  I think it depends on the degree and if your fiance’s salary (and yours I suppose if you are funded) would be able to support both. Right now, SO is in his first year of ph.d. (he’s 25), I’m finishing my master’s now (23) and we hope to get married in another 1-2 years. We’ve already been together for almost 5 years, and at this point, I told him I don’t want to wait until I’m 28 (when he graduates) to get married. We’d be together 10 years by then, I don’t want to put it off! As long as you can afford whatever type of wedding you’d want, and have both discussed the marriage dynamic you expect while in school ( you know, do you expect me to make dinner most nights? because I am working 80 hours weeks here!!!!), I don’t see why you should wait!

Post # 5
1474 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2011 - Bent Creek Winery (Livermore, California); Reception: Family Residence (San Ramon, California)

I don’t think there’s ever the perfect time to get married. My husband and I got engaged while we were both in grad school, and we got married after he had started law school. It’s tough, especially now that I’m no longer a student and our schedules are very different. But it would have been tough if we were simply dating/engaged.

I think if you do get married while doing doctoral work, you just need to make sure to prioritize your marriage and time with your husband. When I was in grad school, not many PhDs were married, and those who were had to live just a little differently. They couldn’t stay on campus all hours of the night, and they took off more time on weekends. But I actually think that, overall, they were happier and more balanced. So I don’t think you necessarily have to wait!

Post # 6
11 posts
  • Wedding: September 2012

@SurferB:  go for it! I’m working GRADUATING with a doctorate degree AND planning a wedding at the same time! It’s no cake-walk, I have to warn you, I have NO personal time.. but it’s doable!  I figure you can’t always plan your life around your career. sometimes you just have to let things happen!

Post # 8
1856 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

I don’t think it’s any harder than being in a relationship while doing your doctorate. I’ve been doing my PhD the whole time I’ve been with my SO, and will still have at least a year to go by the time we get married. I think it helps a lot that he’s also always been a student (was in MA when we met, and is now doing a PhD) so we both understand the workload and the pressure. Being married will actually make my life a whole lot easier, as we’re living in separate countries and I’m raising our child alone here. Once we’re legally married, we can move and join him, meaning I’m not always the one on the line for childcare, meals, activities, etc.

A lot of schools *do* expect your work to be your number one priority at all times. I am of the opinion that I can balance both family and research obligations evenly, but at the end of the day the well-being of my family (and my personal sanity) is the most important to me. Learning how to balance what you want/need with your family and what you need to do academically can be tricky, and not all departments and supervisors are supportive of competing family obligations. You really have to plan with your SO how you’ll manage things and what you’re willing to give in on when you have work things come up. It’s obviously very different in my case as we have a child in the mix, but we still put our relationship high in the order of things that matter and work from there.

Post # 9
2559 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

I’m about to start a PhD program while married, so here’s hoping 🙂 really though, I think you’ll be fine. Like a PP said, not that different from being in a committed relationship, just gotta make sure you balance.

Post # 10
3 posts
  • Wedding: July 2012

Some background: My SO and I are both in PhD programs (he’s in Physics and I’m in biostat). Also, we are currently ABD so our work/research lives are fairly busy.

I’m not sure if you are asking about getting married or being married during a PhD program. If it is the later, then there should be no problem. As for the former, we decided to go ahead with a wedding and are getting married this summer, rather than waiting until we graduate. Given the fact the we will both be going on the job market soon (next winter), we heard it will be it a lot easier to negotiate “couples hiring” if we are legitimately married. I’ve also found that planning the wedding forces me to take some fun time away from resaerch (after writting papers or running analysis all day, planning centerpieces is an exciting prospect). However, I think your decision should also be based upon you as an individual. You need to be very organized, efficient, and decisive. I am a very big fan of “To Do Lists”, in terms of both research/school and wedding planning. I plan out my weeks so that I am doing PhD related work Mon-Fri, and then take time for wedding planning on the weekends. Sadly, time for a social life will be minimal. If you decide to get married during your program, make a list for each week leading up to the wedding of all the things that have to get done (e.g. invitations sent out, dress ordered, hotel block booked, etc). Also, keep in mind that if you get a postdoc afterwards or remain in academia, you are not going to have any more time in the future. In my opinion, there is no reason you need to wait; although, if I were you, I would not get married in my first year in the program. You need to make sure you understand the workload and have a method of getting things done. 

Personally, I have no regrets about deciding to go ahead and plan a wedding while getting a PhD.

Sorry for the long-winded answer Tongue Out.

Post # 11
1033 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

You can totally do it, my husband did. It can be a little rough but totally doable. Plus you have built in support. I was/still am my husbands biggest cheerleader. He finished in December and I could not be any prouder of my Darling Husband the Doctor!

Good Luck!

Post # 12
1250 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

Fiance and i have been together almost 8 years, since my sophomore year in college. I’m in my fifth year of a neuroscience PhD program and honestly I think planning the wedding in grad school is a lot more stressful than being in grad school and being married (since I don’t expect our relationship itself to change much once we’re officially married). That said, I am also now ABD and I work anywhere from 50-65 or so hours a week and balancing is hard so it’s very important to me that Fiance is so supportive and understanding about my long/weird hours that often encroach on our personal plans with little notice. Good luck!!

Post # 13
313 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

Not that this will in any way be you, but this reminded me of something that my friends and I were talking about when we started law school.  Many of the couples that were engaged before coming to law school were separated by the end of our first year (by many I mean 6). It’s a sad truth that graduate degrees are stressful and tedious in a way that highlights any already existent problems you may have so brightly that it tears couples apart. Naturally, this isn’t everyone, I was with my then boyfriend for 5 yeras before entering the program and we got engaged in the second semester of my first year, but he is so calm, patient, and unneedy that it worked for us. I can’t imagine anyone else that would deal with my Type A personality and being at the school for 14 hours a day completely ignoring him. lol. I’m not sure that you’re degree is as intense or competitive as law school, but I know that the transition puts major stress on couples. So long as you go into it aware of that and with a system in place, you will be fine. 

Post # 14
262 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

I am currently ABD and working on my study and it is difficult but doable. You can do it but you must prioritize.

Post # 15
5886 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2010

No advice, but just a question. Will getting married hurt your financial aid situation?

Post # 16
2465 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

I started my phd one month after getting married. there are tons of people in my program who are in committed relationships–it’s completely common in my field, especially because it’s a degree that takes about 6.5 years on average, and because many students (like me) take off a few years between undergrad and grad school. It’s stressful in that I’m working all the time, but totally manageable. dh and I are hoping to have babies while I’m working on my dissertation, so it’s just going to get harder, but again, totally possible. Any demanding, time-consuming career is difficult to balance with home-life/family, but it’s still absolutely worth it.

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