12 Most Caffeinated Reasons for Coffee Time
I celebrated 24 years since I proposed to my wife on this last Valentine’s Day. We have been best friends for over 25 years, and that served us well as we lived in each of the 4 Continental US Time Zones before our oldest daughter turned 7 years old. Since I started telecommuting in 1998, and we home-schooled our kids until they reached middle school age, our coffee times became a crucial part of our daily lives.
Here are my 12 reasons why I think every couple could benefit from their own “coffee time.”
1. Start the day off right
None of my family are naturally morning people. In my case, I am a “man of few words” — with the occasional grunts and glares — until I am a few sips into that first cup of coffee.
I recently saw one of those “Made Me Laugh” graphics that said “Check the time on your phone twice because you forgot it the first time”. I am sure this never happens to my wife, but she can tell me her plans for the entire week… and I can forget by the time I walk back to the office. Caffeine and conversation allow me to re-focus so I can at least remember what she is doing that day!
For most occasions, my wife and I are in agreement. In some of those cases, we are not happy with the way events are unfolding. This could range from a failure to pass school levies in order to upgrade public education, to choices youth make nowadays, to the alarming statistics regarding marriage and financial stability/accountability or social media impacts on relationships. We never want to get “wrapped around the axle” regarding bad circumstances, but sometimes a little commiseration is healthy.
These occasions are more rare, and they have become extremely rare as I have softened my stance with age and experience. However, there are some topics where my wife and I do not see eye-to-eye. In 25 years, we never went down the path of heated arguments. However, we have had some lively discussions! I used to always get annoyed with her for picking the underdog, and I could exasperate her with repeatedly asking “who is going to pay for it?”. We would both like the world to see less hunger and poverty and for everyone to get an education and appropriate health care — but there is still that sticky question of who is going to pay for it? Unfortunately, we are not a society that is overly charitable, and it will require acts of kindness and charity to overcome these societal issues.
5. File a complaint with the complaint department
My wife pulled this one on me today. Since I have telecommuted for over a decade, she likes to point out that she is my complaint department. I have had brief moments where I’ve talked to myself (well, talk may not be the most accurate description), but I generally voice my complaint to my coffee and accountability partner: my wife! And she patiently bears my burden and restrains herself from saying goofy things like “turn that frown upside down” — that NEVER WORKS!
6. Mitigate risks and damage control
These risks and damage control scenarios usually involve the mundane: “did you pay the mortgage?”… “did you add that second teenager daughter to our auto insurance?” However, there are more serious circumstances where we determine our level of intervention for others. Some of those cases may expose our own family to financial risks or temporary instability, and we always make those decisions together!
7. Menu plan
If you follow any of my tweets or Facebook status updates, you know I love to grill and use the Big Green Egg smoker. In fact, Smoker-Cooking.com is one of my favorite sites! Now that we are making a conscious effort to cut out the white rice, pastas, and sugars, it takes more meal planning. I am a little bummed because most of my marinades and dry rubs involve sugar and soy sauce!
8. Catch up with the kids
We have been abundantly blessed in that our girls (18 yrs old and 16 yrs old) will still come home from college/high school and tell us about their days. We built strong friendships as we raised them, and we still love sitting down to a cup of coffee to share in their milestones, their successes and their failures (even if they do not think they have any of the latter — uh, they are not lacking in confidence).
Whether it is a new idea, or a rare insecurity, my wife and I confide in each other. We are a support group of two, and we are accountability partners. That may fly in the face of conventional wisdom (having your spouse as best friend), but it works for us. Sharing a cup of coffee sets a casual mood to share your thoughts with your confidante.
I recently confided with a couple people that I was more the “smile and chuckle” type of guy versus the full-on belly laugh which I still love to hear coming from others. I have always known how to make my wife laugh, and hearing that laugh reaffirms to me that all is right in my world. For richer or poorer, and in sickness and health — those dimples, smiling eyes and care-free laugh inspire me to be a better man. Some of our best laughter comes during these coffee times, and bonus points if I can catch her right as she is taking a sip — and hopefully, we are not wearing white!
We all know that a marriage isn’t always about the romance. Never lose sight of that aspect of marriage (did I mention we share wine and chocolate one day per week?). However, the successful marriages stay successful through teamwork and planning. Whether it is logistics getting to kids’ events, budgeting so that you spend less than you bring home, or working out that next vacation trip, planning over a good cup of coffee greatly reduces the stress that can accompany these activities.
I recently wrote a leadership blog about an inspirational young judo athlete: Kayla Harrison. She understood the importance of having dreams accompanied by mini-goals to help achieve those dreams. My wife and I are planners by nature; however, we still get to pick our destination and measures of success. Coffee time is great for sharing our dreams, re-evaluating them, and perhaps coming up with new ones. We have dreams for our daughters, for our “2nd careers”, and for traveling to see the Tennis Grand Slams. And yes, we dream of sharing coffee together for decades to come. It is the simple pleasures that frequently captivate us!
So readers, do you have a “coffee time” equivalent? Do you have some simple mechanism that acts as a natural touchpoint with your spouse/significant other? I cannot imagine life without one, so I use my personal experiences to encourage you to find your own “coffee time!”
Featured image courtesy of Creative Commons.