Coffee talk


I am sorry for what I said when the coffeemaker was broken.

Mr. Wonderful and I have been enjoying our morning coffee together for a good long while. We have been together for 31 years, and married for 27 years. Suffice to say, it’s been a minute.

I get a lot of questions on what advice I would give for a successful marriage. One piece of advice is to use your words. Kind ones if possible. Too often we expect a partner to just know what we need — be it help with the kids, a back rub, a listening ear or to pick up their darned socks before we blow a gasket. Worse, we get hurt and angry if our partner cannot read our mind.

For instance, when our 6-day-old coffee maker refused to make coffee (on the seventh day it rested), I wanted Mr. Wonderful to be my knight in shining armor. Or, in this case, my knight on his way to the local coffee shop to fetch me a brew or two. As we stared at the machine that was doing absolutely nothing, my despair that our usual “conversation and coffee Sunday” was falling apart turned into me pouting. Mr. Wonderful, having exhausted all options for repair, sat down on the couch. He seemed downright comfy. Didn’t he know this was a caffeine CRISIS?

Mr. Wonderful is a doer. His love language is act of service. This is a man who once clawed his way through a downed tree to clear the road so he could rush home and get the generator up and running for his family.

When he seemed perfectly fine to NOT grab the keys and run out for coffee, I was shocked.

I will never forget a good friend discussing his troubles in meeting “the right one.” He was discussing a female he kind of liked until he got to know her a little better. At that point, her foibles including wild jealousy and anger issues became all too apparent. As he said: “I’ve been down that path before, that path is paved with crazy.”

Too many people do get caught up in the lure of the dramatic. The ups and downs and endless fireworks of “crazy love.” Me, I am a big proponent of calm and comfortable. Sure, they should give you butterflies — but the good kind. Not the “I hope I can make bail” kind.

For my part, I twice cried my eyelashes off over young boyfriends, and swore I would never love again. Then of course I did when I met “the one.” He was handsome and funny and very confident — all amazing traits. In the end, however, what really won me over is that he was, and is, a generally happy and kind person. Frankly, I feel lucky every day.

Early on when friends asked me what I saw in someone who I seemingly had little in common with, my reaction was always, “he’s so nice.”

Too often, people have a negative reaction to this explanation. I think it should be the first thing we look for in a partner. Someone who is kind to others — humans, animals — is probably pretty determined to be kind to you, too.

So, when my uncaffeinated self got done pouting about the fact he wouldn’t just GO GET THE COFFEE WITHOUT ME. We hopped in the car together to travel up to the local coffee shop. By “local” I mean a franchise with a drive-thru where your chances of getting your order correct is only slightly below winning the lottery. Still, beggars can’t be choosers.

On the way, I might have still been feeling a bit sassy. He suggested we go further and get breakfast sandwiches. I was driving. I made clear he would get no such thing. He was going to get black coffee, nothing extra. I might even ask them to lick the lid. At this point, our “fight” was more banter than real. I did relent and ordered him breakfast. I got a spare coffee for myself.

Arriving home I was still teasing him about forcing me out into the world uncaffeinated. I was clutching my two coffees tightly as Mr. Wonderful bounded up the porch steps behind me, tripped and went sprawling. He never trips. The man is a gazelle. There went his hard won coffee in a tidal wave across the porch floor. My “Ohmygosh Babe are you OK?” was followed quickly by “You can have my extra coffee!”

That’s love.

Mr. Wonderful and I have had many challenges and joys in our marriage, but I couldn’t have chosen a better person to be married to — with or without coffee. Honestly, the clue is right there in the vows: “For better, for worse, for richer, for POURER.”


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