Today’s secret word is …

Readers, I’ve been holding out on you. There’s one essential ingredient for success in law school that I haven’t yet let you in on.

So, here it is: love. Specifically, the love of my husband. Sorry, you can’t have him. Maybe you’ll find your own anchor, confidante, comedian, and helpmeet? Good luck!

Without him (and I hate when people say this, but it’s true), I don’t know that I would have gone to law school in the first place or survived it with my sanity intact.

Today's secret word is ... LOVE. (Image from that one trippy Pee-Wee episode where the playhouse goes to space.)

“Today’s secret word is LOVE. … For the rest of the day, whenever anybody says the secret word, scream real loud!” (Image from that one trippy Pee-Wee episode where the playhouse goes to space.)

We got engaged while waiting on LSAT results and were married a couple of months before law school, which means our third anniversary is popping up just days after I graduate, and that we’ve been in law school together essentially the whole time we’ve been married. I got calls about law school admissions on our honeymoon, for goodness’ sake!

Many (many, many) people told us when we started that we’d be divorced before it was over. Sorry, clairvoyants.

Law school has shaped our marriage, and for the better, I think.

There were times when I actually cried because I missed him — when, even though we lived together, we were so, so busy, it felt like we’d barely had a conversation in weeks. Now, we make time for each other. I began making a real dinner whenever I could sometime in our second year, and we eat together (when we can), too. We chat while I stir, and while he does the dishes. This is love: Communicating because you want to, and because you care about what the other has to say.

That doesn’t mean our study habits mesh perfectly. Right now, we’re sitting basically back-to-back in our preferred spots, me on the couch and him at his desk (mine hasn’t been used in days), while he plays a quiet song that doesn’t drive me nuts and I have on all the floor lamps instead of the chandelier. We read to each other when we come to something interesting, and toss ideas off each other as we write. This is what respect and compromise look like in a law school romance.

We’ve had the excellent opportunity to take (budget) vacations together in our time off in the winter and summer, far more time than we would have had if we were still in our old jobs. We’ve stretched a dollar. We’ve moved somewhere new. We’ve coexisted in (almost) 600 square feet, with a cat.

Taking the whole wedding photo thing about as seriously as we should take everything.

Taking the whole wedding photo thing about as seriously as we should take everything.

 

What a joy it has been, getting to know my social justice warrior and compassionate partner even better in the pursuit of a common goal. Three years down, ninety-three to go.

What can you do to have what I have?

In my first-year section of law school, to my memory, there was one other married woman, a married man, a couple of engaged people, and a few in long-distance or local longer-term relationships. A few paired off with people from our section, others paired with fellow students from other sections, a few began relationships with new non-lawyers (mostly online, let’s be honest), and a lot of people casually dated or ‘hooked up.’ (I’m too old and married to ask for details there.)  Most people found what worked for them, I think.

I honestly don’t know what makes some people cleave together and others cleave apart (“cleave” is a delightful contronym, huh?), but I do know how invaluable a great partner is. So, if you’ve got one coming into law school, I suggest keeping him or her around. I know it’s yet another thing to work on when you’re working on some of the hardest actual work you’ve faced so far, but when it works, it’s even more rewarding than an A on a final exam.

Whatever support you have now will become all the more important, so whether it’s friends, or family, or maybe even a therapist, don’t let those relationships slide when you get overwhelmed by school. You won’t regret it.

… Also, my husband always teased me that I should write about him when I was coming up short on ideas for this blog, and now that I’m just a few weeks from graduation, it seemed like now or never! Happy anniversary, sweetheart.

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