Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Tea I Drink With Him

I just read the most beautiful tribute to marriage, Madeleine L'Engle's Two-Part Invention. Have you read it? L'Engle is probably most known for A Wrinkle in Time but I think her non-fiction writing is just exquisite. She brings the most honest, simple yet sublime insights into relationships, faith, art, the human condition.

Two-Part Invention got me thinking about those little things we do in marriage that can give us so much pleasure if we let them. In our house, I'm the hot drinks-drinker. I've gone through coffee phases but my main standby in the morning is strong black tea made from loose leaves and with a good splash of cream on top. I also have been known to drink a cup of jasmine green tea in the afternoon. And ever since I got a milk frother as a gift from my parents I love making steamed milk with cinnamon and sugar, often as an after-dinner treat.

But my husband, for the longest time, resisted the hot drinks habit (even in college?!) and so for the first part of our marriage I would always make a lonely pot of tea for one. A pot of tea for one can be nice, but a pot of tea for two is better. There's something sophisticated and cozy about starting the morning together with two steaming mugs--at the breakfast table during the week and in bed on the weekends, outside on the porch on mild summer days.

I don't know what eventually wore him down but I'm thinking it might have been my irresistible ability to produce a mean cup of Earl Grey. I got him to try it and he was hooked. It's still not an every morning thing for him as it is for me but on those mornings when I ask and he says, yes, he will take some tea, I find such pleasure in making it for him, brewing it to the right strength and adding a quarter inch of cream and letting it cool a bit the way he likes it.

Music I heard with you was more than music,
And bread I broke with you was more than bread.

This is the poem Madeleine L'Engle's husband read to her when he asked her to marry him and from what I can tell, the spirit of it infused their whole marriage. Making tea for my husband is a small thing, tiny even. But I think Conrad Aiken had it right. The tea I drink with him is more than tea. 

What a gift to live our lives together in this way, don't you think?


  1. This is so lovely, Kate. Thank you for sharing and for reminding me about Madeleine L'Engle - I need to add Two-Part Invention to my reading list!

  2. So very true! I love this.

  3. Beautiful, this post made me smile. I now wish to read everything by Madeleine L'Engle. I invite you to share at the Thursday Favorite Things blog hop ( you can link up through Sat. midnight) xox

  4. I would love to know your tea "recipe"
    Pot, brand, etc?

  5. Oh I'm glad to have reminded you of this brilliant writer! She's truly something special.

  6. Oh thank you for the invite! I'll check it out!

  7. Any tea pot will do, and the key to the tea is using fresh loose tea leaves. I like Harney and Sons and Culinary Teas (I usually order it online, but sometimes you can find in gourmet grocery stores!). And always black tea in the morning, like Earl Grey or an Assam or English Breakfast.

  8. Lovely thoughts! Those would be neat painted and hung in the master bedroom. Thanks for another book suggestion by Madeleine L'Engle. Interesting that it is a musical title. She is so cool.

  9. Yes! She was a pretty serious amateur pianist in addition to being a writer. Her favorite composer was Bach. :)

  10. Kristyn @ Laite AtelierMarch 12, 2015 at 9:52 PM

    Have to admit I got a little teary reading this :) Utterly sweet. I love that sentiment. I love that the two of you are able to share something so simple and beautiful. And I completely adore that poem--actually planning to use it in my own vows to Eric :) Ah, love! Now I've got to go pick up a copy of that book....

  11. Ohh I love hearing that. :) And what a special poem to incorporate into your vows, that's lovely.


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