Coffee Time Part 2: get your village people together

So last week I wrote { this blog } about Coffee Time being our secret to not getting a divorce.  A friend who shared it noted that Coffee Time is not just for couples – and she’s so right!

We all know it takes a village to raise a child, but I want to add that it takes a village just to stay mentally healthy.  Sometimes I’m working with clients who are anxious or depressed and I ask about social support and they report having little or none.  They have no village people.  One of our goals might be to help them find those supports.

In undergrad when I was searching for a career/purpose in life/way to pay the bills, I had a family studies class where we read this great article by Robert Putnam titled Bowling Alone: America’s Declining Social Capital.  It was life-changing for me and informs my work with clients today.

Basically Putnam has researched civic engagement (a.k.a. spending time with your village people) and found kind of scary trends that indicate we are becoming more socially isolated.  Bowling Alone comes from this idea that even though the number Americans bowling was increasing, participation in leagues was decreasing (find more at  Not joining a league means not having the camaraderie of teammates – folks who know you and are a support for you, a plus for your mental health.  Similar trends were found in other areas of civic engagement.

The picture above is from last Saturday morning drinking coffee with my sister while sitting on her front porch on a peaceful country road.  She’s a village person for me.  As are a number of other family members, friends, and neighbors.  Although it’s easy to neglect to nurture those relationships, they are so important!

So it’s almost the weekend – why don’t you text some of your village people…set up a coffee date, happy hour (Sonic version if that’s more your thing), family dinner, or game watch party (KSU vs. Vanderbilt perhaps)?  It’ll do your mental health some good.

Coffee Time a.k.a. our secret to not getting a divorce

I have a secret that I’d like to share with all the couples out there.  It’s called Coffee Time.  And in my household it is sacred time.

Coffee Time is my favorite time of the day.  It occurs on the back patio at my house when it’s nice weather, inside when it’s not, or at my office (where my husband also offices).  At the office is my favorite location.  See photo above.

We have been doing Coffee Time for years and rules have developed over time.  It lasts at least 15 minutes and it is a kid-free time.  At our house this is tricky because our three kids don’t think Coffee Time should be a thing.  Instead they want someone to spread peanut butter on their waffle, take them potty, or start Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.  But Kyle and I refuse to do these things during Coffee Time.  Because, for the love, we do those things 99% of the rest of our waking hours (or at least it can feel that way).

During Coffee Time my husband and I connect.  Sometimes it’s making plans (what are we doing this weekend? do you have a plan for dinner?); sometimes it’s talking about the news or weather; sometimes it’s reading our devotion for the day; and sometimes it’s just checking in (how are you doing with that project?  are you feeling better about that thing you were worried about?).

Coffee Time fills my bucket because it’s meeting my need for quality time.  Gary Chapman wrote this really great book called The Five Love Languages (  The book is a pretty quick read it you’re looking for a little boost in your relationship.  Basically he outlines five ways we give and receive love:

  • Quality time
  • Acts of service
  • Words of Affirmation
  • Physical Touch
  • Gifts

We each do all of these things it’s just that some are more meaningful for us.  Also we tend to show love to others via the way we receive love.  This is great if your partner has the same primary love language, but often that’s not the case.

So, in reality, the secret to not getting divorced is more complicated than just Coffee Time, but if you want to strengthen your relationship with your partner, find out your primary love languages.  For the quality time folks out there – I’d start with Coffee Time.