Jan 182011

There was a couple who’d been married for twelve years. The first two years were good, happy even . . . but then the kids came and work got hard and money got tight and the shine wore off of each of them. She used to see strong and silent but now she saw cold and distant. He used to see passionate and loving, but now he saw dramatic and meddling. They allowed themselves to become annoyed with each other. And so they stopped being careful. They stopped taking care of each other because they each decided they needed to look out for themselves.

And the distances between them grew longer and deeper until it felt impossible to touch even when they were in the same room. And one day she said to her girlfriend. . . I just don’t love him anymore. And it felt terrifying and exciting to say. And he said to his buddy . . . I don’t know if I ever loved her. And their friends said what about counseling but it all seemed tangled up too tight to try to unwind.

She got home from work one evening and fed the kids and put them to bed and she was tired to the bone. And he was late again. Late again. And even though he was late and the house was a mess, she knew that he would walk in the door, pour his glass of wine, and sit down at the kitchen table and relax. He’d sit and relax. She couldn’t even remember what relaxing felt like. She was always either going like hell or sleeping. Somebody had to keep the family running.

She stared at his bottle of wine on the counter. Then her eyes wandered over to their wedding photo on the wall. Clueless, she thought. We were clueless. But happy. Look at us. We were happy. We were hopeful.

God, please help us, she said silently.

Then she walked over to the counter and poured a glass of wine for him. She put it next to his book on the kitchen table, the place he loved to sit and relax, and she went upstairs to sleep.

He tiptoed into the house fifteen minutes later. He knew he’d missed the kids’ bedtime again, he knew his wife would be angry again, and he prepared himself for her steely silence. He hung up his coat and walked into the kitchen. He saw his glass of wine, and his book, and his chair pulled out for him. He stood and stared for a moment, trying to understand.

It felt like she was speaking directly to him for the first time in a long, long while.

He sat down and drank his wine. But instead of reading, he thought about her. He thought about how hard she worked, how early she woke to get the kids to school and herself to the office. He felt grateful. He finished his wine and then walked over to the coffee maker. He filled it up and set the automatic timer. 5:30 am. It would be ready when she came downstairs. He placed her favorite mug on the counter. And then he walked upstairs and quietly slipped into bed next to her.

The next morning she woke up and stumbled downstairs, exhausted, to the kitchen. She stopped when she heard the coffee maker brewing and stared at it for a few moments, trying to understand.

It felt like he was speaking directly to her for the first time in a very, very long while.

She felt grateful.

That evening, she stayed up until he got home. And she allowed her arm to brush his as they prepared dinner together. And after the kids went to bed and they assumed their TV viewing positions on the couch . . . he reached out for her hand. It was hard, but he did it.

And things started to unwind. A little teeny bit.

Look. I know it’s hard. It’s all so damn hard and confusing and complicated and things get wound up so tight you can’t even find the ends sometimes.

All I’m saying is that somebody’s got to pour that first glass of wine.

Because love is not something for which to search or wait or hope or dream. It’s simply something to do.

Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
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  75 Responses to “Carpe Diem”

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  14. […] in a hard place, and taking that step or grabbing that hand feels impossible, it’s okay. Read this. It’s powerful, and simple. Somebody’s got to pour that first glass of wine, […]

  15. G,
    I’ve loved this post since you first wrote it, almost 4 years ago when I’d just found you; it spoke hope over my marriage at the time because it was so true to our experience at that moment in time. And now? Tonight I’m reading it to my whole family because the husband and wife in the story are now my 13 y/o daughter and 11 y/o son, who’ve “each decided they needed to look out for themselves,” and desperately need to hear the gospel truth of those last 4 lines. Anyway, just wanted to let you know how much you inspire and your words help guide hearts toward living like we belong to each other. Thanks to Mama G from Mama H

  16. I found this article when searching for articles on how to pour a glass of wine correctly… This is very touching. I have not been through this sort of thing myself, but I am fairly young. I really will try to keep in mind that someone has to start, someone has to pour the first glass.

  17. […] Someone has to pour the wine… var addthis_product = 'wpp-264'; var addthis_config = {"data_track_clickback":true,"data_track_addressbar":true};if (typeof(addthis_share) == "undefined"){ addthis_share = [];}I just posted on my facebook page, for perhaps the third time, a post from the beautiful blog, Momastery – one of my favorite short posts ever written (I think), titled “Carpe Diem.” You can find it here. […]

  18. […] Someone has to pour the wine… var addthis_product = 'wpp-264'; var addthis_config = {"data_track_clickback":true,"data_track_addressbar":true};if (typeof(addthis_share) == "undefined"){ addthis_share = [];}I just posted on my facebook page, for perhaps the third time, a post from the beautiful blogone of my favorite short posts ever written (I think), titled “Carpe Diem.” You can find it here. […]

  19. I’ve come back to this post over and over and over again, linking to it on FB at least three times in the hopes that others will see it too. You have captured such a beautiful moment – that moment when we can make a choice to start the unwinding, the thawing. It is a choice – to take a moment and consider the other person, and reach out of what has become the comfortable resistance. Thank you for capturing this and offering it in such a vivid, accessible, and heartfelt way.

  20. Beautiful! Tears are streaming down my face. I truly believe that any couple married for any length of time would recognize themselves in this post. Thanks for sharing.


  21. WOW. Amazing. You are an incredibly talented writer, and this one in particular was so inspiring. Way to go lady. You're freaking awesome and what a heart you have for pouring that first glass of wine. Love is ideed something you DO. And I hear you for looking at your wedding picture, or the invitation to any wedding you receive at any point after you've been married and think: Damn….so young….so much to see….

  22. this is*

  23. this absolutely perfect. love it & the reminder. thanks!

  24. So true!

  25. WOW! How easy it is to let "life" get in the way. I am sooo thankful that I have a husband who does stuff like this on a regular basis. Like this morning, when I took the kids out to the bus stop and he made us both breakfast and did the dishes. How I love him for those "little" things, because like you, I'm not big on the whole cooking thing, but he loves it. But I also know what it's like to be in this position and worse. When you make these "small" moves, but it's just not enough. Absolutely touching Glennon, yet again.

  26. this is SO true.
    someone HAS to pour the first glass of wine.

  27. God knew I needed to read this today…I was led here in my random surfing for a reason. Thank you for writing it.

  28. You linked this in your most recent post and I feel like it was meant just for me. And my husband. Things have been really hard lately…I don't when things got so complicated. Or when we started only seeing the bad and ignorning the love. Thank you for this…it is my very favorite Christmas gift. I will pour the first glass of wine. I will.

  29. this really touched me. thank you.

  30. I am unsure how many times I've read this, G but I love it. It really changed things recently at my house. I had my husband read it too. Powerful! Thank you!

  31. Wow fabulous

  32. Really loved this – a great reminder, always! This is my first time to your blog and I also laughed out loud reading your 'about me' section – "slowly pecked to death", so true!

  33. This is so authentic. chills.


  34. Thank you.

  35. Wow, thank you! It is so easy to lose sight of the simple things that make it all worth while… That actually brought tears to my eyes – you are such a great writer!

  36. so good to see you back! it amazes me how often what you have to say is what i'm needing to hear. thank you!

  37. You are SO good. Thank you for writing something for me to read, because you always seem to speak right to my soul.
    Hope you are feeling well.

  38. Welcome back Glennon! Great – Great – Great!!! Really at a loss for words it is so good!! Smiles!

  39. Whenever I need a pick me up I read your blog… this is so beautiful!

  40. Sacrificial love is hard. But it's the only kind that is truly worthy of being called "love".

    Good job, G.

  41. YOU'RE BACK! How did I miss the grand return? Was there a ribbon cutting ceremony? Clearly I don't use facebook right.

    This was beautiful. Just beautiful. My nanny, who actually takes care of me as much as she does my kids, is on vacation. And I am just cranky all the time I feel like I don't have enough. Its hard for me to be a good, kind person when I feel that I am operating at a deficit.

    I feel so mean spirited when I think, "how come he gets to go out with work people?" And just in saying that I realize that my resentment isn't because he shouldn't get to do that, but that I need something like that to. When I am full up and have enough, I feel happy that my hubby can relax and has friends.

    The fact that he can isn't his fault and meant to hurt me, its a blinking light pointing to what is missing for me. The HARDEST part is keeping myself from thinking he owes me, or is responsible for fixing it for me.

    It makes me think of how they say on the plane, "put the oxygen mask on yourself first, before you help others around you."

    Its not because they are encouraging your to be selfish, its that you are not much good to anyone if you are passed out.

    Welcome back, G. Glad to see the Lyme didn't suck out the good stuff.

  42. feeling very wound up this morning…thanks for the reminder to unwind a bit :)

    Adrianne – I don't know you in real life, but if I did I would have a hug for you this morning. sending love your way!

  43. Had to reread it. It was so good. Your images, photographic, literal, and metaphoric were incredibly woven and said the truth. Happy New Year, Glennon.

  44. Love is a verb. Sad how forget the little things in all of our relationships.

  45. choked up…

  46. I just love the way your way to getting to the point….this is a beautiful and true post. A good reminder to us all…not just in our marriages, but in our relationships with our children, parents, siblings, friends, etc. Love the post & love you!

  47. Wow. Amazing. Thank you for writing this!

  48. Little things are BIG things. Beautiful post!

  49. That was beautiful. Could you write one that will make me feel more hopeful about being with my kids? That's not going so well these days.

  50. Wow. It's almost eerie how, each time I come here, I find exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you for your soul-gifts, Glennon.

  51. I love my Adrianne.

    G + A 4Ever.

  52. This makes me very very sad.

  53. that was beautiful. it brought tears to my eyes!

  54. This was awesome. Thank You. I actually teared up reading it. I was referred here by a loyal follower of mine and I cannot express how happy I am I read this. Beautifully written and so true.

  55. COPY—PASTE—-sending to husband. Actually he should be sending this to ME if i was truly being honest with myself. He does so much for me and I do so little for him.

  56. If you can, you should listen to a song by Clint Black. It's called "Something That We Do". After reading today's post, I am pretty sure you'll like it. If it helps to find it, I think it is on an album called "Nothing But The Taillights". Wouldn't swear to it though.

  57. Well, I guess I needed a good cry anyway. Am sending this to Husband. Thank you.

  58. This was elegant and moving and thank you.

  59. Great story. I can relate. My husband and I have those unspoken moments. Sometimes nothing needs to be said at all to get back on track….actions speak louder than words. It is always a work in progress.

  60. so so true. the little things. oh, the little things…yet, they are so BIG.

  61. Glad you are back, Glennon.


  62. So wonderful – for anyone, but I think especially for those of us who've come so close to that edge and found grace, forgiveness, and rediscovery in the tiniest kind gestures. Thanks for this.

  63. My new favorite. Thank you.


  65. Elegant. Eloquent. Welcome back!

  66. Glennon, another one knocked out of the park. Brilliant!

  67. I can't do anything other than cry at this. It makes me feel so much less alone…like I can breathe again and that we CAN DO HARD THINGS. Thank you.

  68. wow, you have a way of making a point, this was so good…I think I will go not only to make husbands coffee this morn but pour it in his cup too. Thanks!

  69. Amazing.

    It takes a mountain of strength to pour that first glass of wine. But to find out that touch is appreciated, or even better reciprocated, is like food for the soul.

    Thank you for the beautiful reminder of how Love wins. Loving others somehow feels like loving ourselves too. I will practice this today and everyday. Oh how you've been missed, G…..

  70. A much-needed reminder. Thank you.

  71. So beautiful. (as usual.) Thanks.

  72. Love Love Love! Just what I have been needing…thanks:)

  73. Beautiful! It's funny that you wrote this today because just last week I went to bed angry with my husband because he was angry with me because I "stopped being careful" and when I woke up, he'd made my coffee and it honestly was the only thing that redeemed him for being angry with me for being careless and I apologized for my part. I've already been through the marriage above and this time both my husband and I are more aware and careful and it's something we work on a lot so that we don't get to that point. Of course, he also realizes that my favorite thing to do is complain about him so he doesn't begrudge me that and I don't begrudge him video games (sometimes). Ok, rambling again…

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