My husband makes us coffee almost every morning.
Yesterday he produced an entire breakfast, a little later than usual.
He presented a lovely assemblage of omelet, bacon and coffee. Just as I took a sip of hot, hazelnut heaven with cream in a cup he quipped, “Breakfast is late today because of supply chain issues and staffing shortages.”
I laughed so hard I spit out my coffee. His laugh was music.
I love him so.
I return the favor by helping him with all things digital. Not his thing. But I serve him up daily cyber smorgasbords, from online stuff to simple spreadsheets. My pleasure.
We are each other’s helpmates. Under our roof, no one is subservient. No siree. We are equals, committedly so. We aim to share life by following three bywords we have come to hold sacred.
They are the Three A’s: Affirmation, Acceptance and Affection.
If one of these is lacking, our relationship is unbalanced, like a three-legged stool with a wobbly leg. Try resting firmly on that thing. Uneasy rests the partner/spouse/friend on a wobbly stool.
Ignoring the wobble only prolongs the misery. That old matchbook trick under the offending leg won’t cut it, either. It just means somebody’s forever futzing with it, annoyed every time it rocks to one side or another.
And nothing changes.
If we’re wobbling, we try to stop and figure out the problem. That’s acceptance. We are human, and we accept that fact. Nobody in this house is perfect, and if we should need to take another look at just how not perfect we are, it’s OK. We do that a lot.
Boy, do we ever.
But we do it with kindness and respect. No cheap shots of anger in the heat of the moment or piling on past grievances, aka “the kitchen sink fight.” We like to keep our kitchen and our issues clean, current and fair. Accepting each other while talking about how we could’ve done better in a certain scenario is a safety net for a difficult conversation. Nobody dies. Nobody breaks anything, especially heart or spirit. Everybody gets to learn something, bounce back and try again.
And something changes.
He opens doors for me, and I hold doors for him, too. Some people say it’s old fashioned and somehow demeaning. Pffft! For the love of Elvis, it’s just a thoughtful, polite gesture, not a political statement. For us, it’s sheer affection in action, pure and simple, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Do unto others, you know, especially your loved ones. Also, give hugs. Hold hands.
To affirm someone you love is to have their back, to provide emotional support and encouragement. Even as adults, we all still have our inner children knocking about in our psyches, jumping on our inner furnishings and yelling for what they need. A child who doesn’t get affirmation from one or both parents can be emotionally crippled. Our inner child never leaves us and requires tender, loving affirmation, crippled or not. Marriages and friendships need that, too.
While they seem simple and obvious, The Three A’s aren’t necessarily second nature. It has taken the two of us some years to learn how to be intentional. Now they are part of our fiber as a couple.
Without some kind of guiding light, there’s nothing upon which to build a foundation.
Maria and Captain von Trapp knew what they were talking about in that gazebo one starry night when they sang the words: nothing comes from nothing; nothing ever could. They assumed that somewhere in their youth or childhood they must’ve done something good.
While that may or may not be true, I say right then and there, in that moment, they also decided to acknowledge and embrace affirmation, affection and acceptance as a commitment toward their future together. And that’s something good. Something very, very good.
Longtime Newnan resident Susie Berta has many creative pursuits, including music, art, writing, cooking, gardening, entertaining and decorating. She is now pursuing her passion for writing and recently published her memoir, “The Veterinarian’s Wife.” She can be reached at email@example.com .