I recently read and commented on a post over at a Mad Tea Party. Although my comment didn't add much to the conversation, I am short on ideas this week, so I thought I might elaborate. The post was about the benefits of being married to or dating somone who does not work in your field.
My fiance is a software developer, so what I can tell you is that he develops software for the company that employees him. I do not understand anything beyond that. I don't know how to write code, build a database for an enterprise or make/use pivot tables (whatever the hell those are). He has absolutely no idea what I do either. He tells people that I am a microbiologist and when pressed, he adds that I inoculate and do PCR.
Needless to say, we don't discuss work. We do discuss the people we work with, but not the actual work that we do. This is very good for me in particular because I have a problem bringing work home with me, so Mr. software developers (SD) inability to understand what I am saying prohibits me from talking about it all evening and weekend. Conversely, my inability to understand what he does keeps him from talking about work all the time too. Ultimately, Mr. SD saves me from my neurotic, work-obsessed self and I appreciate that.
On the other hand, I envy my co-workers who are married to or dating another scientist. I would love to discuss my work with Mr. SD and have him understand. I would love to tell him my craziest hypotheses, bounce ideas off of him and bust out my awesome sense of geek humor and have him get it. I think he would like to do the same, but in reality neither of us know how to put on the breaks.
Instead of work, we have spent the last 10.5 years talking about: music (specifically how bad-ass the Beatles and Radiohead are), our cats (specifically how ours cats are the cutest* and the best), Star Wars, video games, technology, etc. I am NOT implying that couples composed of two scientists don't talk about the same types of things AND science. I just don't know how much I would talk about those subjects if I could talk about science in excruciating detail with my spouse. Hopefully, I will never find out. :)
*Proof of cuteness below.
UPDATE: Mr. SD informed me that I didn't really give accurate examples of what he does. I told him they were probably on par with the PCR and inoculate.