March 26


Coffee Club: Making time for your marriage

By Jessica Allen

March 26, 2019

coffee, coffee club, conflict

Coffee club is one of my favorite happy places.

Long before we had coffee club in our marriage, I hosted a Coffee Club in my business once a week at a local cozy restaurant.  There was no agenda, and I invited people to bring their work, questions, and favorite people. We gathered to enjoy each other’s company while knocking out some tasks in the process because we are better together.

My business Coffee Club was effective in that season of my life and I really enjoyed it.  Looking back, I realize it was filling a deeper need for me personally too – staying connected in a simple and routine way. 

No matter your love language or your introvert status (mine is high), we all need connection.

In our Great Unraveling, I tried feebly and with little success to connect with my husband in small ways.   Most of us really are that simple, I think.  30 minutes over coffee to start the morning or over a glass of wine at the end of the day are enough to help us feel seen, heard, and appreciated.  It’s also a pause from the whirlwind of the day and gives us the opportunity to talk logistics, vent steam, bounce ideas around, and bring up the hard stuff in a safe place. 

I was so unhappy that this kind of connection was missing from our marriage that it was a legitimate topic of conversation in the Great Healing.  It was such a big deal to me that when we renewed our vows, Jack included in his: I will always bring you coffee in the morning. 

Two years in, he’s stayed faithful to that promise.  (And the rest of them too!)

How we do it

We have Adirondack chairs in the backyard with cushions on them.  My cushion collects water and my hind end gets wet 100% of the time.  His never does but whatever.  The dog buries and digs up all his toys again while we’re out there and our neighbor kid’s souped up car fires up right on time every morning.  We have a heater for when it’s cold, and a fan for when it’s hot, and an umbrella for when it rains.  In the spring all my pollinator plants bring in butterflies and big fat bumblebees.  In the summer the squirrels climb up the sunflowers to eat their pretty faces off.  And all year round the cardinals bully the little birds away from the feeder. 

We have a $14.99 Fisher Price baby monitor that has worked like a charm for all three children and we leave it on the arm of my chair.  I love hearing Big Brother walk into the nursery to sing good morning to his Baby Brother.  Our children know the drill so when they wake up, they’ll come say hello and join us in their own little mini coffee club chairs, or they’ll leave us alone to finish.  There are no phones allowed.  

We never have to schedule time to talk because it’s already on the calendar as a non-negotiable part of our day.  I know the “date rule” is you’re not supposed to talk about your kids when you’re on couple time but we don’t really stick to that.  I want him to know the funny things they say and do, and for us to be able to help them navigate the things that are on their minds.  We can’t do that if we don’t talk about them to get on the same page.

It’s not all rosy

If one of us has had a bad, bad day – or is working through something really hard – there’s a specific pizza we get after the kids have gone to bed.  Nobody intended for that “tradition” to start.  It just did.  I know when I smell that pizza to put on my listening hat and keep my mouth shut until it’s time to solve a problem.  We eat the whole pie and usually by the end of the night everybody feels a little better. 

So many problems have been solved in our backyard under those café string lights.  We used to yell at each other out there – sometimes we still do but nobody’s afraid of the outcome anymore.  (Thank you neighbors for never calling the police.  We love you for loving us through it.) 

Side note on rules of engagement

You know it’s okay to yell at each other, right?  With some very important and non-negotiable rules of engagement in place, sometimes yelling and a big (figurative) knock-out is the only way to tackle the heavy stuff in your marriage.  Not everything can be handled with calm decorum.  If you’re really upset about something, of course your emotions are going to play into the conversation. 

The number one thing to remember is there are words you cannot unsay, and words your spouse can’t unhear.  There are no take-backs or do-overs in grownup land.  There are forgive-mes and try-agains but words are permanent.  Never let your temper turn you into a version of yourself you don’t trust.

Mostly, coffee club is uneventful.  It’s become a sweet and simple start to our day that has turned my night-owl husband into really pleasant morning company.  I feel loved and cared for from the minute I put my feet on the floor.  The rest of the day may go completely sideways but I know I can always count on the first few moments.

Travel mugs

When we travel, the game is still on.  We bring our mugs and our grinder and our percolator (we aren’t snobs, we just like our stuff!) so we can try the local roasts.  Coffee club came with us to Disney, Kauai, Egret Acres, France, Branson, and Colorado.  And it will keep coming with us wherever we go. 

At our little mountain cabin last week, it was too cold for outside coffee club in the mornings, so we stayed in, and it wasn’t quite the same.  The kids had already started their day, and the baby needed attention, and they didn’t give us the opportunity to talk about much that mattered.  You know – family vacation is just like that!  Even so, it was good to enjoy each other’s company and talk through the plan for the day.

New memories

But the last night we were there, after the moonlit family snowball fight (that story is coming), we got the littles to sleep and bundled up in every layer we had brought.  We added our ski gear on top, grabbed a bottle of wine, and parked it in the Adirondack chairs covered in snow on the porch. 

That far up in the mountains, you could see every star in the sky and the moon was so bright you could have read by it.  The air was still and quiet and we felt like the only people in the world. 

The wine turned to frozen slush but we didn’t care.  I don’t remember what we talked about but I don’t really care about that either.  What I do love is that this little sacred space we’ve created is part of every new memory we make together.  The same simple Tuesday coffee we had this morning is all mixed up now in memories of coffee overlooking Hanalei Bay and Mt. Crested Butte and downtown Paris. 

It’s not the travel that’s the magic, or even the local beans – it’s the company. 

Here’s to hot coffee, sacred spaces, and the magnificent life you’re creating with the person you love most of all.



PS: What’s your sacred space? I’d love to know! Be sure to subscribe for Happy Mail Club too!

PPS: I desperately need a new seat cover that doesn’t hold water!!! Any great ideas on where to find Adirondack cushions?

Jessica Allen

About the author

Jessica is a writer, musician, entrepreneur, wife, and mom. Jessica's mission is to write "real" - shining light into the dark places of the tough stuff we all experience. She and her husband Jack live in Houston, Texas and have weathered the storms of grief, infant loss, adoption, and a marriage that almost fell apart. Jessica and Jack have four children: LJ in heaven, Grace, Jackson, and Elisha.

  1. This is… such a great practice! If it’s 10 minutes or an hour, you (we) both can surely dedicate that moment to each other, and ourselves.

  2. I love coffee or wine time w my hubby. We always find the time to escape and just be us. Do important. I love what you’re doing. ♡

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