Home > Family, Love, Parenting, Personal, Relationships > Weekend Coffee Share: Ladies and gents, my husband!

Weekend Coffee Share: Ladies and gents, my husband!

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you I was sorry for having to cancel so many coffee meetings. The last month or so has been … different. I wouldn’t even bother trying to explain. It’d take too much time, and I’d rather hear what’s going on with you, anyway.

(You could find hints of it here, if you were curious.)

For my part, I’d sip sparkling water and tell you I had two terrible nightmares this last week. It’s been a long time since I had nightmares I remembered for more than two seconds after awakening, but both of these were ones I doubt I’ll ever forget. One was horror-movie terrifying; the other, me-at-37 terrifying.

I’d tell you how another friend asked why I’d have a job-related nightmare when my new job is so perfect for me. I’d explain how I smiled and said, “I think maybe it’s my subconscious’s way of saying, ‘You can let it all go now.'”

“Let it all go?” she asked, prompting me to explain how tumultuous and chaotic the last two years have been. Now, though, I feel I am being given a chance to sink into something: to sink into this job career, to learning, to exploring, and–most importantly–to being completely and totally safe in an environment built around acknowledgment of the fact people are people, not breathing perfection.

I might tell you how my husband and I had the biggest argument of our relationship a couple of months ago. It wasn’t a single-day thing, but lasted weeks.

Of course, if I did that, I’d also tell you that the argument was maybe the best not-child thing that’s happened to us. It took us out of just trudging through the day-to-day and into discussing–and standing up for–what we mean to each other.

Sometimes, I’d tell you, I feel grumpy about things he did six years ago. Things he did six weeks ago! But then I think back to things he did six hours ago and realize, “He’s not the same him. He’s grown, as I have. He’s changed, as I have.”

(Maybe one of the ways I’ve grown is in my ability to see him as he actually is, instead of filtered through my historical (mis)understandings of him.)

One year before Li'l D

One year before Li’l D

I’d grow quiet for a moment before adding, “Sometimes I wish people wouldn’t be so inclined to see me as the bad or boring guy, because I’m the one who’s historically had to make sure Actual Things in the Actual World Get Done. In my ideal universe, I wouldn’t have to spend most my time worrying about things like childcare on sick days and food and rent checks and doctor bills, and could instead spend more time sponge-painting animals with my little boys. But that’s mostly not who I get to be right now, and it’s okay, because someday, I’ll have enough left over to be that lady. And maybe, I think, my little boys see glimmers of that impractical artiste in me today, no matter how little frivolity I have left after taking care of business any given day.”

I’d chuckle, looking down at the ground and remembering our talks as I relayed a conversation where he said that he wants most is to be emotionally supported, to have me listen and hear. How I finally really understood him, even as I offered clarity on my own feelings: “I don’t care if I’m heard as long as you do the dishes. I can talk emotions after practicalities are sorted out. To me, feelings-talk is the luxury that follows if I’m still awake after I’ve taken care of the must-dos of daily life as the out-of-home worker tasked with the care of two small children when you’re working long days.”

I know that we’re two very different people, but that conversation in particular made me smile. I’m still not quite sure how two such different people ended up together … but I’m glad we did.


See, for example, what a loving dad he is …



… and that smile!

Hopefully we’ll have many years yet to work on finding our way to the sweet spot where feelings are heard and tasks completed!

After letting all that out, I’d shake my head to clear it and say, “Sorry, sorry! I can’t begin to tell you how optimistic I am about now and the future, not that you could necessarily tell from what I’ve said today!”

Like with my nightmares, I think it’ll take a little while to clear the old junk out of my system.

Right now, I’d report, things are good. Really good. I think they’ll keep getting better.

But you! How are you? I’d ask, before leaning in and, intently, listening.


Last night, my husband–who’s recently encouraged me to be more candid here about our relationship, but was uncomfortable with a couple of my statements–and I argued had lively discussion about some of what I’d written. I went to bed determined not to post this. Then, this morning, he spent fifteen minutes arguing with me about why I should post it, so by golly, I am … smiling all the while at the goodness of being married to such a fine fella.

wedding bw

  1. January 9, 2016 at 7:42 am

    You can sure fit a lot in over a coffee lass, but It’s good to talk 🙂 I’m glad you’re in a good place, long may it continue.

    • January 9, 2016 at 7:46 am

      Thank you! And hee. At first, I thought I’d have to fit in a summation of everything since my last coffee post. That would’ve been one long, full post! I like this version much better. 🙂

  2. January 9, 2016 at 7:54 am

    I struggle with how to write about my husband, too. So I mostly don’t. I am so glad your husband is encouraging you! 🙂

    • January 9, 2016 at 8:05 am

      A couple months ago, I wrote something in a post about how he says he lets me do logistical stuff because I’m better at it, and where I countered I’ll always be better at if he never flexes his logistics muscles. He was saddened by the statement. (Him: “I already sound like such a jackass on your blog!” Me: “Wait, are you reading my blog or someone else’s?! ‘Cause it sounds like someone else’s.”) I omitted it, and so was surprised when he told me a couple weeks ago that he feels like a caricature on my blog. (I think having referenced him as “sometimes like another kid” in my most popular and recently re-Pressed post plays a part in that.)

      He asked me to be more candid and present a fuller view of him, an idea I like as an idea* but find very challenging in practice. Of course, I do love a challenge. I’m glad he challenged me to this. I’m excited to see how we’ll grow by having different discussions offline and online.

      * A real danger I see in the “here’s the best parts of my life!” parts of this social media world is isolation and loneliness presented by that facade. I write because I want people to feel less alone, not to have people thinking my life is more tidy than it actually is!

      • January 9, 2016 at 8:22 am

        I have never thought of your husband as a anything less or more than a normal human being from your writings. 🙂

  3. January 9, 2016 at 8:59 am

    A more intimate coffee share than many, but in a good way. 99.99% of the time I leave my wife totally anonymous. She didn’t sign up for me to talk about her so I think it’s great that you shared with him what you were going to say before you said it. I hope you have a great, nightmare free week!

    • January 9, 2016 at 1:39 pm

      I’ve been blogging for twenty years, so–through lessons learned early on–it’s been my policy to run things by friends before posting for the last 15 or so years. 🙂

      In this case, Anthony’s actually asked me to be more candid about him. This post was an offshoot of that request, so I ran it by him to ensure that I’m striking the right balance early on into our being-more-candid phase. I wouldn’t dream of doing otherwise, because–as I learned early on–doing so can obliterate trust!

      Thank you for your well wishes! I’m very much hoping the same. 🙂

  4. January 9, 2016 at 9:16 am

    What a great looking couple you guys are!

    My two cents worth? Communication is everything! Of course I’m only repeating what you already know. Keep talking, laughing, arguing, loving, and all will go well. Great post. Husband looks like a cool guy. 🙂

    • January 9, 2016 at 1:44 pm

      Thank you, on several fronts!

      I agree about communication. I think Anthony and I have both been surprised that just when we think we’ve figured out the whole communication thing, we discover there’s bunches more to learn.

      I found this depressing for a little while, but then read an amazing blog about how more questions and more challenges are indicative of higher levels of expertise. It’s like the difference between beginners and experts: experts know the finer details because of their experience.

      We are a long, long way from expert, but we’re closer now than we were a year or five years ago. I look forward to inching a little closer with each year that passes, and have to say …

      He really is one cool guy! 😀

  5. January 9, 2016 at 9:58 am

    You are both good people. I’m honored to know you.

  6. January 9, 2016 at 10:03 am

    Relationships certainly evolve over time. I think people get into the most trouble when they expect their partners to stay the same and not evolve. And I loved your comment about “(mis)understandings” about them. So true! 🙂

    • January 10, 2016 at 8:02 am

      Oh, no! I wrote a reply to this comment, but it looks like it never posted! Sadface.

      The gist of my answer was, “Hear, hear!” I just used more words to say it. :p

      • January 10, 2016 at 8:16 am

        That’s great! 🙂 And I’m just really good at restating the obvious. 😉

  7. January 9, 2016 at 11:45 am

    Sounds as though you are on the right path. There could be many more mountains but at least you are talking about how to climb them. Communication is the only way a marriage can survive and by communication it is not just what is said, its listening and acting and gestures, and body language. Good luck with it. Love your photos, happy and beautiful.

    • January 10, 2016 at 8:04 am

      Thanks to some of these conversations, I’ve been better able the last few weeks to see comments that I thought were asides as smaller reflections of bigger wants trying to find the right expression. These are things I couldn’t have seen but for this conversations, which I’m sure will pale compared to some of those ahead!

      It’s so uplifting to see how much growth and grown love comes from discussions that are so very uncomfortable at the moment.

  8. January 9, 2016 at 12:30 pm

    How I love your flexibility. And your openness.
    To your husband, to new ways of thinking…
    My greedy self would like the emotions AND the nuts and bolts of daily life dealt with. If I am forced to choose, it is the practicalities.

    • January 10, 2016 at 8:05 am

      I’d love to have some room left over after practicalities. Now, thanks to how the last month has shaped up, I’m starting to see bits and pieces of room stretching into even bigger pieces. I am so heartened to think what discussions and growth lie ahead of us as we learn to better hear each other.

  9. January 9, 2016 at 12:55 pm

    It’s good you two are talking. People grow. Relationships need to keep up with that growth and talking, really talking, and even arguing, are all a big part of that growth and strength.

    • January 12, 2016 at 5:00 pm

      Hear, hear. I’ve never been argument averse, but more and more these last few months I’ve come to see (more and more!) how arguments can be much, much kinder than enduring, uncomfortable silences; a kind of catharsis, instead of an end.

  10. January 9, 2016 at 6:07 pm

    I have nightmares when my body has pain. They leave exhaust. I wish you luck with your relationships with others.

  11. January 9, 2016 at 7:33 pm

    I think marriage is more challenging than usual when you are so busy with a young family and all the work that involves. Each stage is different, new, awful and exciting all at the same time! I’m glad you guys found your way to a good place.

    • January 12, 2016 at 5:11 pm

      Thank you! I’m as glad to be here as I am certain new challenges–erm, learning opportunities–await. 🙂

      It’s really hard to find time for each other when tending to people not yet equipped to care for themselves. Everything else falls by the wayside. We’d kinda fallen into a groove with Li’l D, but we have not yet found our groove as parents of two. It’s such a different experience?

      Maybe the groove will come soon? Fingers crossed!

      • January 12, 2016 at 6:02 pm

        It will! Hang in there!😊

  12. January 9, 2016 at 10:29 pm

    You know, it’s funny, our perceptions/intentions when either the sender or receiver of messages. When I read your blog, I see A as the heart and emotional center of your family, which isn’t to say you are without emotion, but how I perceive your writings of him, the complimentary nature of him to your strengths, and the supportive partner you need. Now, granted, I may be biased by my personal interactions with you two, but I do think that part comes through, too, not just the “third child” type comments. Of course, they aren’t about me, so maybe I would feel differently if they were. All that to say, it sounds like the argument was the good variety. Are you sure you weren’t just celebrating Festivus and performing the Airing of Grievances a bit early? 😉

    • January 12, 2016 at 5:20 pm

      I’m really, really glad to read this comment, and I hope he read it, too. He does tend to read comments on my posts.

      In this case, I do think it was the convergence of “Dear Mom” with the argument. I think that because of where he was reading from, the “child” part leapt out at him over the other parts I’ve rightly emphasized more over the last five years:

      I had a partner who sometimes felt like another child, but more often was my rock. My sounding board. My comfort.

      Indeed, my very first reference to him was in one of my third or fourth posts on this blog. It was about surviving abuse, and how–then–I still occasionally felt drawn toward unsafe things. (Now? No, thanks.) I said I was glad to be partnered with someone who’d sooner commit sepuku than raise a hand to me, a truth every bit as clear (clearer!) today than when I wrote that almost five years ago.

      Funny it’s been almost five years! It was just a month and a half short of five years ago that I published The Monster’s Daughter, a thought that’s been present in my mind since Rache published her novel last week: Wait, has it really been five years since I published that? Since I started this blog?!

      Indeed it has! And, oh! Funny to see how much and little has changed!

      I love and miss you, my friend. Hope we’ll see each other soon. ♥

  13. January 10, 2016 at 9:33 am

    The smiles on both your faces are priceless. Keep those fires burning.

    • January 12, 2016 at 5:58 pm

      We’re definitely going to give it our all. I feel more confident of that now than ever before. ♥

      • January 12, 2016 at 6:19 pm

        There is no better feeling than that sense of giddy and wholesome love. Xo

  14. January 10, 2016 at 9:50 am

    🙂 Such sweet photos.

    It’s funny how an argument can actually be a step forward in a relationship. I had to be an adult to really get that, because I did not grow up in a house where arguments were ever actually helpful, at least not in any way that I was privvy to.

    Hope you two have a calmer week and that the beginning of the year is kind to you. ❤

    • January 12, 2016 at 6:00 pm

      Oh, man, how I get all of this. Arguments in my childhood home were never, ever a good thing: always yelling, distress, often physical violence. Happily, my first boyfriend demonstrated a different path, and his gentle instruction was part of paving a very different way. It’s so neat to see it turning full circle: where arguments are about who can scream the loudest, but about trying to figure out where to go and how to get there, together. It’s surely easier to get there talking about it together instead of walking together in resolute silence.

      Thank you for your well wishes. My fingers are crossed, and I wish you a lovely year. ♥

      • January 17, 2016 at 7:27 pm

        The physical violence in our house was understated. I didn’t understand it as violence until I was an adult, really, and I thought about the complexities of not just spanking a child, but whipping with a belt. It was normal then—but maybe it shouldn’t have been. Lots of studies indicate just what I am finding out…That a parent ruling a child by fear is likely to create an anxious adult.

  15. January 11, 2016 at 7:24 am

    I love candid posts because you let people see the real you. I like that he loves and trusts you enough to do that. Keep it up!

    • January 12, 2016 at 6:03 pm

      It felt so weird and wrong to post this at first. Now, it feels right and strange that I should ever have faltered! Seeing it in this light makes me excited for all the learning to come, even if some of it doesn’t feel awesome at the moment(s) of learning. 🙂

  16. Raven
    January 12, 2016 at 7:39 am

    I thoroughly enjoyed this post! Thank you for sharing so much. ❤ What I also love is how you ask about your friend – truly ask and ready to actually LISTEN. That's rare I've found. Here's to a good week. 🙂

    • January 12, 2016 at 6:07 pm

      I was astonished when the most prevalent descriptor friends used for me in a wedding reception game was “good listener.” With a couple of years to mull that over, it makes a little more sense. I do love to listen, and to really hear where people are at and how they got there.

      How goes your week? Whether or not you can/feel inclined to reply, I hope it’s grand! ♥

  17. January 12, 2016 at 7:49 pm

    Hm…the Princess and I were having a similar discussion last night – she is such an introvert and so, private….I was lucky that she allowed me to post a picture of our Christmas table for my last post…..we didn’t “argue”, but I definitely know that she’s not too comfortable with me “talking to strangers” via my blog. I’ve recently written a piece based on my past and my relationship with my Dad, but she told me to “shelve it”- that it’s too personal – well-written, but too personal …to me writing is good when it’s “personal”….a dilemma that I’ll hafta work on over time…

    • January 14, 2016 at 7:27 pm

      I agree about writing being good when it’s personal. If I can’t feel the person in the writing, it’s hard for me to develop a connection to the writer or the piece. OTOH, there’ve been a few pieces I had to write sensitive to other people I was touching on in my writings. The challenge of expressing the heart of what I wanted without all the exact details has been useful, certainly! (I can email you in follow up if you’d like me to dive a little deeper there.)

      • January 14, 2016 at 7:45 pm

        Please…I would be highly appreciative. I currently have a more “serious piece” that I’m not quite sure how to proceed with…I know that you’re very busy, Deborah, so obviously do so at your convenience. And thanks, so much! (((Hugs)))

  1. January 17, 2016 at 6:19 am

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