Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Marriage Lessons from a Coffee Grinder

In August Brandon and I celebrated three years of marriage (woohoo!). Although we are still fairly novice in the realm of marital bliss, there has certainly been a range of opportunities for us to learn and develop as a married couple. From trips across the world to trips around the block, from moving apartments to moving the dishes from the table to the sink, from broke students to still-broke pastors we have certainly had various chances to gain bits of wisdom regarding marriage.

But in all of the experiences, one certainly stands out... the coffee grinder argument.

Shortly after the cake was cut, the bouquet had been tossed and the speeches were said, we headed off to Mexico to enjoy a blissful week away before our next school year began. Upon our return we were met with a huge pile of gifts and cards wishing us well and setting us up with everything we needed to make our apartment a home. We moved in later that week and began to settle in, putting everything away and figuring out what this new normal would look like.

With those gifts we received a lot of gift cards. At first it was really easy to spend these. We went to the store, wandered around adding this and that to our cart but after awhile we realized that we actually had everything we might need. It was then that we came up with a brilliant idea. We would spend the money left on our gift cards on other gift cards we could use for a night out, like to the movies or restaurants. We ended up having date nights paid in advance that lasted throughout our whole first year!

It wasn’t until later that month that we realized we had one gift card left.

One night when we were at the mall, we wandered into Sears with my sights on spending the gift card on some sort of home d├ęcor for the changing season. Unfortunately at that same moment, we wandered past the small appliances.

“Do we have a coffee grinder?” Brandon asked as we passed through an aisle of pots and kettles.

“Um, no.”

That was my quick response while in my non-coffee drinker mind I thought how useless it would be for us to spend our hard-received money on that when we could be purchasing a cute snowman figurine.

Well, if I was on one end of the spectrum thinking of how unnecessary the grinder was, Brandon was certainly on the other. We could grind our own coffee! We could enjoy it fresh! Who wants Folgers anyway? We want the real deal, the whole bean! We want the smell of fresh ground beans to wake us up in the morning!

By we, his mind must have meant he.

As quiet, in public arguments go, we went back and forth using strong expressions and whispered frustration. Employees wandered by, silently willing us to leave the store as the clock neared closing time.

And in the end, we came to the agreement that he may as well buy the coffee grinder.

Although, I wasn’t exactly happy. Yes, most of the items we had gotten for the wedding were geared toward me. Yes, I got excited over a crock pot and his enthusiasm wasn’t quite there. Yes, he does drink coffee so there is some slight chance he might use it.

But still, I wasn’t too happy.

Well, the weeks, months, and years went by and that poor little coffee grinder’s usage can be counted on one hand. It has become a bit of a running joke in our home, especially when Brandon opts to use the grinder in the grocery store aisle.

I could certainly sit here and say those four menacing, relationship threatening, unhelpful little words that point out my superiority in the argument after all... but I won’t.

Because in reality, that coffee grinder taught me something important about marriage, even if it has taken me three years to figure it out. This little coffee grinder serves as a reminder that in marriage there is no room for selfishness.

In our self-serving, me first society, it has become second-nature to think of ourselves first. We have come to a point where we don’t even realize we do it. And yet, we act selfishly all the time. We feel that we deserve to be treated a certain way, given certain things, and have our opinions regarded as correct. We seek validation in how many ‘likes’ we receive on social media and for many of us, generosity has become a game of how little it can cost us. Now, this is certainly not everyone but I am sure that you might be able to see some self-serving behaviour in your own life if you took the time to reflect.

And for me, that coffee grinder was certainly not self-serving, and so, I did not want to spend our money on it. Forget that Brandon wanted it, forget that I already had so much, forget that it would make him happy. What about me?

The more we begin to take our eyes off of ourselves and begin to look to another, the more fulfilled we can become. If I can look toward Brandon and serve him to my full capacity, and if he can look toward me and love me in every way, we will both be taken care of in a greater way than if we simply tried to serve our own needs.

This give and take creates a balanced, beautiful picture of what a relationship was created to be.

So, the next time you begin to boil about a coffee grinder in a department store, a sport that he really wants to play this weekend, an unexpected expense or a change of plans, I encourage you to stop before you react. Are your feelings selfish? Are they only serving your needs and desires? What about the other person, where are they in this? What is the ‘why’ behind the conversation?

And I assure you, if you can let go of the little selfish actions, you will find yourself in a much better place, perhaps even with a coffee grinder in your cupboard.

1 comment:

  1. May all your wishes come true and have lots of fun.

    Share lovely Birthday wishes sms to your loved ones!

    Beautiful blog by the editor