My husband Jacob is currently in his third year of seminary.  His Masters of Divinity program takes about four years to complete, and he is juggling work and school as he works toward his goal of military chaplaincy.

I won’t lie to you guys, it’s been rough sometimes.  Our schedules don’t always line up, finances are tight, there’s pressure for him to do well to be chosen to go active duty in the future… lots of things.  And as his wife, sometimes I’ve felt like I’ve put my life on hold while he finishes school and I can feel a little bitter. However, even when I’m tired or frustrated, I’m working hard to be supportive of him.  That’s what a good spouse does!  As I focus on helping him and not on my own selfish thoughts, I find myself feeling more positive about Jacob, our relationship, and where we’re at.  Being selfless and serving your spouse out of love really does work!

Here are some things I’ve done that have helped Jacob feel supported while he’s in his studying/training stage:

Make good food.

I put this first on the list because it makes a huge difference.  Nothing puts light in my man’s eyes like a plate of meat and carbs all ready to go.  It doesn’t even have to be a complicated meal; just having something laden with protein and ready for him when he takes a break means a lot to him. Take time to make your spouse’s favorite foods, whatever those are.

Find ways to help him/her study and do homework.

Whether it’s making flashcards to help him memorize or editing his ridiculously long Masters program papers, I try to be a study assistant for Jacob when he needs it.  Use whatever your academic strengths are to help him out. If you don’t feel like you have a lot of academic strengths that apply, cleaning or organizing his desk/study area would probably be much appreciated!

Pray for him/her.

I know prayer makes a difference, and I pray specifically for Jacob and his studies.  I ask God to open his mind, help him remember what he studies, and to do well on his tests and papers.  It can only help!

Take breaks for romance.

Sometimes you just need to put the textbooks down and chill.  Romance (in all its forms, cough cough) goes a long way for relaxing and chilling.  Don’t neglect your time together; carve it out where you can and make it a priority.

Divide the duties.

It took some time, but we’ve finally figured out how to divide household and life duties in a way that works for us right now.  I’ve ended up taking over a few more things to ease Jacob’s work load.  That’s not always possible for everyone, but I do what I can so he has as much time to devote to schoolwork and can focus.

Every marriage has times when one spouse especially needs support or when one sacrifices to help the other achieve a goal.  I’ve found that investing in my husband at this time and being intentional to support him makes a big difference in my personal outlook and our marriage.

Do you do anything your spouse especially appreciates during seasons of studying/training?  Have you found that being selfless toward him or her has changed your own perspective?