I slowly edge my mind out of deep slumber. The clouds roll away as the smell of coffee penetrates the fog. I open my eyes to a smile that grows stronger as my own begins. The aroma of that promising brew causes my eyes to shift to the hand that holds the sweet cup. “Good morning, my love.”
Coffee in bed. Oh how divine. When my husband brings me coffee in bed, I know he not only loves me, he cherishes me. And nothing means more to me first thing in the morning than a good cup of strong French roast. Having it brought to me in bed is the icing on the cake.
Coffee in bed: an expectation?
Growing up my father always made my mother coffee in the morning. He never liked coffee and couldn’t stand the smell of it. However, he loved her. So every day for 33 years, he has made her coffee fixed just the way she likes — an art he has perfected — and brings it to her. I have seen this ritual for all of my own 30 some years. This act of service has become such a beautiful picture of love and sacrifice to me, that what I didn’t realize was that it had also become an expectation for my brand new husband.
So when I got married and my husband didn’t get up to make the coffee, I thought something must be wrong. Was he sick? Did something happen? Dare I even think — maybe my own husband doesn’t love me?
I peered over at him, “Aren’t you going to make coffee?”
He looked at me funny, “Why don’t you make coffee?”
My jaw fell to the ground and I had to get on my hands and knees to search for it.
My expectation made me question his love
We come into marriage not realizing we have expectations and then we wake up one cold and dreary morning after the honeymoon and they are not met — so we panic. My husband didn’t make the coffee that morning which led my over dramatic mind to question his love. When I confronted my husband and explained the situation, he considered what I said to him. “You know it doesn’t mean I don’t love you,” he said. I stared at the ground in silence. Silly as it may seem, I knew it was going to be hard to let this expectation go. What I wasn’t prepared for was this: after a few minutes of regarding me carefully, my husband’s brown eyes lit up. He took me in his arms, smiled down at me and replied, “Ok.”
From expectation to expression of love
At the moment my husband consented to making coffee in the morning, I realized two things. One, my expectation was na¯ve and based on my parent’s marriage. It was not founded in my own. Two, my husband saw this situation as an opportunity to turn my expectation into an expression of love. He recognized that making the coffee in the morning was something that made me feel especially loved and so he decided it was a sacrifice he was willing to make.
Expectations can harm a relationship or they can enhance it. Some expectations might be truly unrealistic but in discussing them with your spouse, you can determine if they need to be surrendered, or if they are something that can be turned into an opportunity to express love for one another. Here are some ways for managing these expectations:
- Recognize them for what they are.
- Recognize where they came from.
- Discuss them with your spouse.
- Decide together whether or not they need to be surrendered.
- Ask yourself the question: can any of these expectations be turned into an opportunity to express love to my spouse?
There is so much joy in loving our spouses. In discussing the expectations we have for one another, we may discover ways to express love that means more to our spouses than what we might initially realize. If we are willing to make sacrifices for the one we love, those expressions can greatly enhance our relationships and become as sweet as enjoying a freshly brewed French roast under the warmth of our morning covers.
Copyright © 2013 Bethany Stuzman
Originally seen at StartMarriageRight.com