But First, Coffee | On Growing a Marriage


“Really?” I spouted out the bathroom door, glad Michael couldn’t see my rolling eyes.

“Sweetheart. It’s just something I want to discuss.” Michael replied in his usual level-headed manner.

“I can’t. . .I won’t. . .uhh, can we just talk about this later?” I almost couldn’t get the words out because of the building frustration.

I don’t remember exactly we were arguing about that summer morning. Or any of the other mornings for that matter. Because our first three months of marriage, I remember many days starting off on the wrong foot. I would leave for work feeling upset, confused about where we went wrong. It wasn’t everyday, but several times a month was enough to leave me exhausted. And clueless about where our communication breakdown was occurring. The evenings were great for us; we’d cook dinner, take walks, laugh, and enjoy being married. And then, those morning bickering sessions would creep in.

“I don’t want to talk about this now. PLEASE.” I would say, exasperated.

“But why are you shutting me out? I don’t understand why this has to be an argument. . .” Michael would respond.

One rainy Sunday (on our weekly coffee date) we sat across from each other and experienced that ‘aha’ moment that inspired this post. I may be a morning person, but I am [much to my dismay] not a morning relationship person. Sure, I may bound out of bed before six to run, blog, read, or pray-but when it comes to relationships, I’m not at my best before 8am. And Lord have mercy on anyone who tries to communicate with me before I’ve had coffee. Michael, in turn, realized that me putting in headphones to write a blog post or sitting quietly on the couch reading-made him worry that I was mad at him. He envisioned us talking over coffee at the breakfast table-and when our mornings didn’t meet his expectations, he would cling. He would offer to get me more coffee; offer to bring me whatever he thought I needed; and try to engage in conversation.

We learned more about ourselves that day. We learned how to better serve & love each other and in turn grow our relationship. Neither of us had ever lived with a significant other before, so we had no idea what kind of habits and preferences we brought into marriage.

Now? My sweet husband doesn’t say much of anything to me before 8am other than ‘good morning’ & maybe “how’s the coffee, beautiful?” I feel terrible even admitting that I prefer quiet in the morning (because after all, I LOVE talking to Mr. Real Men Don’t Text), but Michael is great about reminding me it’s ok to be me. He is more relaxed in the morning as well, knowing that my silence shows zero indication of how I feel about him. He knows that at 6:00pm, I’ll be ready to sit on the couch and spend hours with my guy. My hero, really.

I am deeply relational and receive energy from “people-time”. My love language is quality time. My love speaking truth to women and watch them come alive. I love telling women it’s ok to grieve and feel sad because without sadness, true joy never comes. I love reminding myself God is a good Dad. But I’m terrible at all of it if I don’t {each morning} drink my coffee and spend time talking to my Savior.

It’s hard to understand why marriage doesn’t suddenly cause selfless living and perfect harmony. I’m not sure why God didn’t make it any easier. But all this stumbling and trying to figure things out is producing a garden of well-watered goodness that will last a lifetime. A rich relationship that will not be uprooted by the storms of life.

Waking up next to a man who captures my heart again and again is, in a word, wonderful. More than I ever deserve. Let’s dream about the future, love. I can’t wait to discuss where we’ll live, how many kids will run around our house, and all the exotic countries we’ll visit. But first, coffee.

What is something you’ve learned about yourself in marriage? What is something you wish you could change about yourself?

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10 Responses to “But First, Coffee | On Growing a Marriage”
  1. Thanks for sharing this Ruthie. You always leave a piece of your heart in every post :)

  2. This is an ‘aha’ post. i am a morning person…but yes, i am hard to communicate with before…well, let’s just say before i have a few cups of coffee. i’d rather be by myself, as well, but i don’t want to talk. Now, this can be a problem because i farm, and as you know, farming starts well before 8 in summer. Another problem is, i don’t have a husband, but my Mom lives with me, which is a whole ‘nother topic. So thank you for your post, and telling me it’s okay to be this. Can i use this in my post?

    • Ruthie Dean says:

      Hi Marianne. Glad to know you relate. You can use whatever you’d like in your post just don’t use my words as your own {which I’m sure you wouldn’t}. Hope you can have an honest, loving conversation with your mom soon!

  3. only4given says:

    Discovering stuff like this in context of relationship is a wonderful thing and, apparently, not something that ceases after a couple says “I do.”

  4. Danelle says:

    great post, Ruthie! thanks again for your honesty. It’s so refreshing. I would say, among lots of other things, I have learned that God is after my holiness more than my happiness. (although marriage brings much joy!) I married a very sanctification-driven man. haha! I’ve been convicted of things that I would NEVER have considered sin- but for me it is (Js 4:17) …like copying a c.d. for a friend and “stealing’ from the artist.” or wearing a 2-piece bathing suit. or watching chick flicks which play games with my heart. Granted not all husbands have the same convictions. But those are his/mine. Learning to respect D.R. and his wishes is far more important than how cute I look or how much a friend will enjoy shared music or how I will temporarily enjoy living in a fantasy world of “love” while watching Sweet Home Alabama. I’ve learned to become thankful for the “iron-sharpening” i receive daily from him. But it ain’t easy! I will say that the longer you are married, in Christ, you are able to more generously receive criticism/sanctification. It’s a very encouraging thing.

    • Ruthie Dean says:

      That does sound like a great deal of sharpening. Thanks for sharing and I do hope you and DR will grow deeper in love for the Lord and each other this year. Iron sharpens iron. I’m curious what he would say about how the Lord is using you to sharpen him. . .

  5. Ruthie,

    I am learning this lesson over and over again, and I am not yet even close to marriage. I think it’s almost better that it’s not easy, like some Pleasantville 1950s world where everyone just smiles and sips coffee together and never burns the dinner. The downs, for anything in life, make the ups that much sweeter. And I imagine it makes the days that do work, the mornings where you don’t feel bad for not saying anything before 8 a.m. and he doesn’t feel less loved that much sweeter, too. That’s what I hope at least.

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