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The Gift of a B

As I step out of the shower, there’s a steaming cup of coffee on the bathroom counter waiting for me.

I pop my head around the corner and yell out “Thank you for my coffee!” It’s a Saturday, and my husband has remembered that I only splurge on sugar in my coffee on the weekends. It’s the perfect amount of sweetness in a favorite mug. He got that part right, too.

He has studied me.

21 years ago, we took a premarital inventory as part of our marriage preparation. When we met with the priest to review our answers, he told us that we scored a B on compatibility. I’m sorry, what was that? Is that a 93 to 100 scale for an A? I could live with a 92 B.

No, we scored on the lower end of the B range of compatibility.

I remember my cheeks burning red, and in retrospect, I remember more than a little pridefulness. We were an A couple. I was sure of it. This must be a fluke. They must have scored it wrong. If we were perfect together, how could that warrant a B?

All the years later, I see it as the gift it really was. We work at our marriage. We have to because there’s no room for complacency here lest we slip into C territory.

Because we aren’t perfectly compatible, it’s a given that we have made mistakes.

Because it doesn’t come effortlessly to us, grace, forgiveness, thoughtfulness, and patience are choices that we make. We don’t always get it right, but that’s why there’s grace, forgiveness, thoughtfulness, and patience.

I remember a recent conversation with my teenage son about relationships and the quiet ways to show your love for your spouse. Not every gesture needs to be an Instagram-worthy bouquet or whatever the grown-up version of a Promposal is now. As an example, I told him that his father leaves me coffee on the bathroom counter while I take a shower. My son said, “See? That’s really beautiful.” I smiled at him in reply.

Effort is beautiful.

There have been thousands of beautiful gestures just like it over 21 years, and each one was born from a B studying hard for an A.

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Nicole Murphy

Nicole Murphy lives in Northwest Arkansas with her husband, son, and daughter. She’s the only non-musician in her house, no matter how hard she tries.

4 thoughts on “The Gift of a B”

  1. Goodness! 💕I just adore you! You are definitely using your gifts of writing to inspire and encourage others. I hate that we moved away as soon as y’all moved up to NWA. So while I am enjoying the gifts of Gods Blessings as he promotionally moved us back to LR, my heart hurts and I miss my NWA peeps. You have given me a gentle reminder that I am following the Leader of my family, my husband. It isn’t always perfect and it is work.💕 I shall not slip into the C category either, because it is worth every effort. So in the end, when I meet my Savior – I would love to hear that I did well! Thanks for sharing Nicole. Can you please just write a book!?! Or did you already😬

  2. Rebecca, you are just the sweetest! You’re absolutely right, it is worth the effort. God knew what he was doing when I met my sweet husband while we were both volunteering in a LR homeless shelter. I caught a glimpse of P’s heart that day. The hard work comes in when I’m grumpy. Or impatient. Or prideful. Or, well, you catch the drift. Getting it wrong is a greater teacher than getting it right (but I do love when I get it right 🤗).
    Come to NWA some weekend and we can meet up for coffee or crepes!

  3. Your writing always amazes me! If a “grade” comes too easy, then you didn’t really work for it. As perfect as we think we are for each other, I’m sure we would have made a B also. Anything worth having had to be worked on daily or it withers and dies. Happy anniversary to you and P Murph!!


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