Married? Tend to the small things

LoversbenchEvery marriage, even a long-established partnership like ours, needs small habits to help keep the wheels attached. Speaking kindly. Laughing together. A hug for no reason. A handclasp in the dark. Notes on the pillow. Calls or texts to touch base. Unexpected gifts. Silly rituals, like a hip bump every time you meet in one particular spot in the hall.

Whether we both sit reading or catching the news, a quiet bedtime ‘cuppa something’ has become one of the small habits that keep our almost forty-year union stable.

The Preacher prepared our drinks the other night. Tea for him, decaf coffee for me. Mine tasted different than usual. “What did you put in my coffee, Hon?” I asked.

“The usual,” he said.

I took a few more sips. Each seemed more familiar, like a good friend. My tastebuds tricked me, I decided, and finished the cup. But after going to bed, I flopped from side to side like a fish on a dock.

First I reviewed my worry list, much of it lifted from network news. Then I reviewed my prayer list, and flipped the worry list over into the prayer list. After that I tried (and failed) to remember one of my own poems. I even tried quoting the books of the bible but kept getting stuck on the name of the book after the Song of Solomon. Usually I know what comes after the Song of Solomon.

Around 2 a.m. Rick got up for his almost hourly trip to the little room down the hall. “Hon,” I said, startling him. (I usually sleep through his nocturnal journeys.) “Did you use decaf or regular coffee tonight?”

“Huh?” I heard him scratch his head. “Oh. Decaf.”

I lay there another hour, until his next trip. “Are you SURE?”

This time he just scratched his head and rolled back into bed. I got up, crept into the kitchen, turned on the stove light and opened the beverage cupboard. The jar of regular, fully loaded, coffee, the brew we serve guests, sat at the front.

“You spiked my drink,” I told him on my return. He didn’t respond. I lay awake the rest of the night. Fighting the unfamiliar effects of caffeine, trying to quote my own poem and puzzling over what comes after the Song of Solomon.

In the morning, the man still insisted he’d used decaf, but I know my body. That evening I made the drinks myself and hid the regular coffee.

Our quiet ritual carries on.

Jesus said that in heaven there will be no marriage as we know it now. But after almost forty years of marriage to one man, I can’t imagine living without him. Nor do I wish to – even when he confuses my drinks.

Honestly, I trust God has something beautiful and (somehow) even more fulfilling planned for heaven, but in this moment, as we sit on this side of eternity, sipping our evening ‘cuppa something’ –  the Preacher reading, me writing – I can’t help thinking… I’ll miss my partner.

Back to Top