I knew someone years ago that liked her coffee in a tall glass rather than a coffee mug. I don't know why, she just liked it that way. Her husband, when they were first married, in an effort to do something nice for his wife, would wake up early, brew a pot of coffee, and bring her a mug in the mornings when he would wake her for work.
The first morning, she said to him, "Thank you. That was so sweet of you."
That night, before she went to bed, she took her tall glass out of the cabinet and put it on the counter next to the coffee maker with a note that said, "this is the cup I like to use for my morning coffee." and she signed her name in a heart.
For weeks, she later told me, he tried to convince her that she should be drinking coffee in a mug like everyone else and that she should be grateful that he even brought her coffee in the morning. And every morning, he would bring her a mug, she would take it into the kitchen and pour the coffee into her glass and then drink it.
She didn't complain anymore, but she also wasn't so grateful that he brought it to her in a mug. Every morning he brought her a mug of coffee, she "heard" him loud and clear: "My way is right. You are wrong." But what is right or wrong about a vessel for coffee.
One morning, he took his last clean shirt from the closet. He was running late for work and didn't have time to stop at the cleaners to drop off his shirts, so he asked his wife if she would mind. "Clean shirts. No problem." Trying to save money and do something loving for her husband, she washed his shirts, starched and ironed them all, sprayed them with a fabric freshener so they didn't smell like the nasty starch and hung them in his closet.
The next morning, when he was getting dressed, he put on a shirt and said to his wife, "Did you go to the cleaners I always go to or another one? My shirts smell funny."
"I washed them and starched them myself", she said proudly, "and I sprayed them with fabric freshener so they don't have that nasty starch smell."
"I love that smell. It is the smell of a crisp new shirt."
"Are you nuts?" she asked him. "No one likes that smell."
"Well, I guess I'm a big nobody then. Please don't spray this stuff on my shirts anymore. And they get cleaned at the cleaners."
She started crying, "But I was trying to do something nice for you. And you don't even appreciate it."
All of a sudden, he realized that what she was saying to him was the same thing he had been saying to her about the mug. In an instant, he realized him liking the smell of starch in his shirt is no different than her liking her coffee in a glass.
He got up and went into the kitchen, brought her a glass of coffee and said, "Shirts go to the cleaners. Coffee goes in a glass. Deal?"
Now, almost 30 years later, she still gets her coffee in a glass every morning. And she still takes his shirts to the cleaners. Because it doesn't matter whether or not you understand, if you love someone, you do things for them the way they want them done - even if it means bringing them coffee in a glass.
If you need more help figuring out how to best meet the needs of the person in your life - or any other aspect of relationships, feel free to check us out at www.BetterShidduchim.com.