The Diet Coke Marriage

I’m pretty sure that one of the reasons my husband and I have been married so long is because of Diet Coke.

Not for the usual things – not the caffeine, or the bubbles, or the zero calories, or even the fact that it’s always cheap and available.

But for the fact of how it’s served in our house. …

Superman and I are both addicted to Diet Coke. We’ve been drinking it like fiends since we were teenagers. The caffeine rush in the morning has always been my caffeine rush of choice (I never acquired a taste for coffee); and drinking it in the afternoon has become simply habit. We’re so terrible about it that we actually make plans ahead of time for how we’re going to have Diet Coke on vacation, to avoid our caffeine headache – Will there be a refrigerator? Will there be a vending machine close by? Who will go get it? Should we bring our own as we travel, or buy it there?

(I’m telling you, people, it’s bad. …)

Anyway, many, many years ago we got into some kind of tiff that involved one of us {*ahem*} being selfish … {okay, it was probably me} … and we made some kind of agreement that, from then on, whoever was pouring a Diet Coke for him- or herself would automatically do so for the other. I think this happened a couple of decades ago. Or nearly so. But anyway, now it’s just a given: If he gets up first in the morning, he goes downstairs and pours himself a Diet Coke, and automatically pours me one, too, and brings it upstairs to me in bed. If I get up first, I do the same. At dinner, whoever’s pouring automatically pours two. If we go to my parents’ house, I pour two. At his brother’s house, he does, and brings one to me. We’ve been doing this now for nearly 20 years.

It sounds like a little thing, and it sounds like a strange rule. (Oh, and if you want strange rules, Superman’s got a list of them! But honest to God, they make our marriage work – I’ll have to share with you all sometime. I think he should write a book. …) But anyway, it’s one of those things that seems very little but turns out to be huge.

Because you know what it is?

It’s common caregiving: It’s feeling like someone is taking care of you for a second, which we all love and crave from time to time. It’s thoughtfulness, and knowing the other person is thinking of you even if you may not be right there at the moment. And it’s simple selflessness, however small the act.

It’s kind of come to represent what works so right (on a larger scale) in a marriage – to always be thinking of the other person, always be trying to make the other person’s life better, in small ways and in large.

It’s the tiniest act of selflessness that reminds to us to live the bigger acts all day long.

I love our Diet Coke marriage.

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8 thoughts on “The Diet Coke Marriage

  1. Ah sweetheart! I am tearing up into my Diet Coke as I write this. I do love this little thing of ours with the soda and all the other little things like that, that we do. You didn’t tell them how we do this with our bedtime water too…

    Oh and they must know that it HAS TO BE DIET COKE for us; we actually get offended if we go somewhere and they have the “other” diet soda.

    But, yes, it truly pleases me to no end when you bring me my Diet Coke. I also am so happy when I am bringing it to you because I don’t have to bring you gold/diamonds or pearls to make you happy; just a little glass of Diet Coke. And we both know that the reason it tastes so good now is that selfless act.

    I have to go now because if I don’t get Mizwrite her Diet Coke by 3:00pm, well … let’s just say it could get ugly…

  2. Diet Coke is the secret to your marriage?! You must be doing something right! Maybe for your silver wedding anniversary you can throw a big party, complete with a Diet Coke (champagne) fountain. Or you can bottle Diet Coke with pictures of the two of you.

    I’m not married – still doing the boyfriend-girlfriend thing – but my partner and I are pretty good about thoughtfully placing each other’s reading material so the other doesn’t miss it. I display his uber-boring engineering magazines on a special tray on the ottoman so that he sees it when he kicks his feet up to watch TV. And my BF lays my newspaper on my windshield every morning before he goes to work, so that I don’t run it over and screech off without it. Aww, the little things…

  3. Kristi — Yes, apples! Small things. But they mean big things. They mean he’s taking care of you for a second (which, for a mom who’s probably constantly cutting apples and otherwise preparing meals and snacks for your kids, feels sooooo good, doesn’t it?) Love it. Give that hubby a big kiss!

    Nicole — Aw, yes, same thing: Small things. But they add up to big things. You’re both thinking of each other and trying to make each other’s lives a tiny bit better for the day. Kisses all around. …

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