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.