Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Love in a Mug: Bringing You Happy Marriages, One Cup at A Time

A man and his wife were having an argument about who should brew the coffee each morning. The wife said, "You should do it because you get up first, and then we don't have to wait as long to get our coffee. The husband said, "You are in charge of cooking around here and you should do it, because that is your job, and I can just wait for my coffee." Wife replies, "No, you should do it, and besides, it is in the Bible that the man should do the coffee." Husband replies, "I can't believe that, show me." So she fetched the Bible,and opened the New Testament and showed him at the top of several pages, that it indeed says ... HEBREWS.

I didn't write that, y'all. I don't know who did, I just got it this morning via email from another of my sweet college roommates with whom I'm fortunate enough to still keep in touch on a semi-regular basis.

Hi Whit! (She reads the ol' blog from time to time.)

You know who I thought of when I first read that little joke, though? My brother-in-law, Jerry. My sister Jackie has been married to Jerry for sixteen-point-something years. Together, they've produced five incredibly beautiful, smart and sweet kids ranging from almost-12-years down to almost-18-months old, the elder several of whom my sister homeschools. As you can imagine, Jackie's a ridiculously busy SAHM (who is generally not actually 'AH' all that much anymore with 4 of the 5 kids involved in sports, music and art classes in addition to their schooling at home - in fact she's probably more of a SITVM - Stay-in-the-Van-Mom - than anything).

My brother-in-law travels extensively for his work. In fact, traveling IS his work, so he's gone many days each month, but when he's home (and even on the mornings he leaves at o-dark-hundred to hop on the next plane), Jerry brews the coffee for the household. And countless times I've even seen him pour Jackie a cup and take it upstairs to her in the morning.

She's never been much of a morning person, my sister. Jerry gets that.

As simple a gesture as pouring water, grinding beans and flipping a switch may seem, Jerry's daily coffee prep symbolizes to me (and granted, we're talking about a woman who can illicit deep meaning from the pattern her hair makes in the shower drain) my brother-in-law's understanding and acceptance of and willingness to serve the unique needs of his wife.

I wonder when he brought her coffee the first time. I wonder if they ever talk or think about this ritual and the meaning it conveys to other people about their life together? Will my nieces and nephews remember Dad bringing Mom her coffee? When my parents visit my sister's family, do they notice it? How does Jerry's tiny gesture play out in the lives of all the people who've witnessed it over the years?

As for me, anyway, I'm pretty sure neither of them knows I held this small detail of their marriage up as a symbolic example (internally, I mean) for my potential mate during the years I was single and tentatively searching for one (although for most of the time I was convinced I didn't want to find him), and now in my marriage to Al I look at it as an example for myself of service to my good-hearted, selfless (and hard to serve because he's always serving, much like my sister!) husband.

Well, they know now, I guess, and maybe now they'll also understand why I almost always send them a bag of special coffee at Christmastime.

(Incidentally, Al brought me coffee one cold morning after we'd first made the decision to date. Just brought coffee, out of the blue, from 35 miles away. He showed up at my doorstep with a cup of coffee and no expectations, just this sweet, loving smile on his beautiful face. And he handed that small but symbolically HUGE cup to me, and darn it, my resolve to stay single and free and ... safe ... crumbled a little.)

Thanks to our schedule around here and the automatic timer on our pot, I usually make the coffee in our household. But every once in awhile, when I least expect it, Al arrives unprompted at my bedside bearing a little of that Morning Nectar. And when he does, I thank him... really, really, thank him, and then I snuggle a little further down into my pillows, take a sip, and offer up a silent toast.

To Jerry! Long may he brew.

Who makes the coffee at your house? What are the seemingly tiny ways in which you and your spouse or significant other serve one another every day and what do they mean to you?


  1. You know, I just love this post.

    I'm very lucky with my husband. He's been quite wonderful the whole time I've been pregnant and since. The thing I love the most about him is that he always puts his family first - and he's always right there when the boys or I need something. And he (hardly ever) mentions the state of our household cleanliness, though I think I'm catching up on it now.

    how lucky am I? :-)

    (PS I make the coffee, though I'm not drinking any lately. We have a French Press and I'll make it for him for when he gets up).

  2. We do not drink coffee hear. It's a vile vile liquid. :)

    gvvg m c kuj nb nb n n

    That last bit was from Aislyn. Not sure what she meant by it though. :)

  3. Aaaaaaaargh! I can't believe I wrote "hear" instead of HERE. I blame the kid - she was distracting me.

  4. I get the coffee ready at night so that the first one up just has to push the button to turn it on. But Mark and I take turns getting up with the kids in the morning and letting the other sleep in.

  5. Yes, here's to Jerry... that's a real man for ya.

    John makes the coffee here. I will confess, he has the servant's heart, and that is something I need to work on in our marriage. If I'm cold, he gets the blanket. If I'm thirsty, he gets the drink for me. It's not even a question anymore - he just up and does it without my asking! Amazing!

    I love that you took that example and applied it to YOURSELF. That's a sure sign of a mature love.

    Beautiful post.

  6. What a great post. I never drink coffee and Bob rarely does so that isn't an issue. He makes a mean omelette and some great pancakes so if we have a hankering for breakfast he is the cook. I always make his lunch for him. I guess that's what marriage is all about - doing little things for each other, sharing strengths and our weakness!

  7. Oh, this is a great post.
    And what does my husband do? He gets up with our kids in the night.
    The man LOVES me.

  8. I make the coffee after finishing up the dishes every night. My husband leaves at 5:30am so after I broke three carafes trying to stumble through the motions at 5am "we" decided "we" could live with 10 hour old water.
    My "coffee service" example is that my husband always opens the car door for me, even after wrangling 2 kiddos into their carseats when it would be way easier to let me fend for myself. It reminds me every time that he still thinks of me as his sweetheart :)

  9. I usually make the coffee because I am the coffee drinker but there are times when by loving husband will make it for me and it always tastes better for some reason.
    Nice post about the little things that are soooooo important in setting examples.

  10. I sappy heart loved this post and I, too, can get strong sentimental meaning from the tiniest detail. The bit about the hair in the drain made me laugh! Ha! Me too! Me too!

  11. Oh, I forgot to answer the question. I don't drink coffee so Mike makes his own, but I have tried my hand at it. He responded "you don't have to do that anymore, babe" Tee hee - I guess I'll just serve him by cleaning off the countertop each night! Ha!

  12. My hubby makes mine. In fact, on the days he goes to work at 6, he makes himself some, then resets to coffee pot to be ready to go all fresh when I wake up.

    That's love.

    Mary, mom to many kids and wife to one great man

  13. how inspiring. love this story.

    once, i had had a bad day, and my BF had come over. i promptly told him i was bitchy and didnt really want company and it'd probably be better if he went home or ran errands or whatever. So, he went to the store. and on the way home, he came back by my house (which was way out of his way) and came in with a heart-shaped cookie in his hand. He said "i thought this would make you feel better". it was so thoughtful it totally lifted my mood and made me realize what a great BF i have...

    it's the little things...

  14. My husband and I don't drink coffee, but our morning drug of choice is coke for him and diet coke for me. He lives EARLY in the morning at least 6, many times 7 days a week. He knows I'm not a morning person, so he doesn't expect much out of me in the morning other than a kiss and "I love you" goodbye. He always kisses me hello when he comes home from work, and kisses me goodnight with an "I love you". I guess those are our rituals. If he is home on a Monday (the only day he is ever off work), I will cook him breakfast and bring it to him in bed with a coke. Wow! He is spoiled:) If we are eventually blessed with children, he promises to do morning duty. I already love him for that!!!

  15. We abstain from Java!

    But this reminds me of the time we bought a car and the next morning I hated it and wanted my old car back! (long story you can imagine) Anyway, DH redirected the payment arrangements so I would never have to pay that bill and thus remind me of my dislike for that purchase. At first I thought he was just doing a finance maneuver, but he later told me, he worked it so that the less I had to deal with it, the happier I'd be. And he was right!

    Regularily, he completes the bedtime routine with the girls. That's huge when we both work fulltime! Later, I get to kiss the sleeping angels.

  16. Megan...

    this is probably one of my favorite posts you've ever done.

    Here's to Jerry! And here's to Mama Okra for sharing their story and inspiring me to find more ways to serve my wonderful hubby.

  17. What a lovely post for my first online read of the day! When she was a young mom, my MIL complained to her mom that she didn't get flowers and other romantic gestures often enough. Her mom replied that MIL's "flowers" were my FIL bathing/bedding their kids after working all day, fixing her a beverage in the evening, and so on. How true.


  18. Chuck usually makes the coffee. I dont mess with it on the mornings I work. I just stop and get my special mix. Every now and then I will get up on my day off and fix the coffee.
    I loved your story.

  19. What a lovely post!

    I get up very early and like to have the coffee ready and waiting on me in the morning so I use the delayed brew feature on our pot.

    My husband does lots of little things for me...he gets the newspaper in the morning, he gives the kids their baths so I can get a little break from them. He even dries my daughters hair. Last night he wrote little rhyming clues for the treasure hunt that we are having at my son's birthday party this weekend. I didn't even ask him...he just did it when he realized how stressed out I was about it. I could go on and on and on.

    My husband does lots of sweet things for me. Thank you for reminding me to think about all of them! I wish he was home right now so I could thank him in person!

  20. Megan! This is the most touching entry I've read in my whole life!! I mean it too!! How wonderful a story. How perfect a gesture! Long may he brew - here here!!

    James came in at the end of my reading and asked, "why are you crying?" I am crying for joy!! How lovely.

    Who makes the coffee? Me, mainly. Once he emerges from the bedroom, groggy and still very much wanting to still be in bed, I think, I stop what I am doing and go pour him a cup and bring it to him. I'm like you. Seeing stuff into things. He is NOT! He'd roll his eyes in my general direction if he read this!

    xoxo Julie

  21. Loved this. I am right there with ya on the symbolism of it all.

    I have always made the coffee at our homestead because I'm something of a coffee snob. My beloved knows this and a few Christmases ago bought me a Grind N Brew. Now we have freshly ground and perfectly brewed coffee every morning. I like to bring him the first cup as he is waking up.

  22. Loved this post!
    Nobody makes the coffee, 'cause nobody drinks coffee...but Handsome often makes dd's lunch which is a great, great thing in my book!

  23. Can't believe I missed this post from so long ago....reminds me how great my hubby is. He, like Jennifer's husband, has a servant's heart. When he sees a need, he fixes it. He brings my coffee to me every morning, as well as Ava's juice...and on weekends, he makes our breakfast! He rocks!!!!!!!