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My grandmother, who was almost 93, recently died, so I was a bit consumed with the emotional journey, as well as logistical details of making arrangements, writing a eulogy, etc.
Her dying wish was that I compile her memoirs from the WWII era. She had them written, but not edited and formatted with pictures, a cover and so forth. I’m glad we were able to complete this.
Obviously, reading about when my grandmother was in her mid-20s as a young wife and new mother is very fascinating. It is even more fascinating to hear the first-hand perspective of what she and my grandfather — and so many other young couples at the time — were facing.
Like so many young men, my grandfather served in the military. With so many casualities, the likelihood that he and other men in their family wouldn’t come home was extremely high. Can you imagine? Barely into adulthood, so many young married couples living in daily uncertainty of whether they would ever see each other again.
In those weeks leading up to my grandfather’s deployment overseas, the time he and my grandmother had together was precious. As I read her recollections of that time in her life, I see clearly why every embrace, every kiss, every moment alone together was treasured for them.
And with youth, most of them too felt the passion of love, the intensity of physical touch, the longing to experience emotional affirmation, the thrills and connection of sexual intimacy.
With the exception of the courageous men and women who serve currently in our military, most of us do not daily face the palatable fear that our spouse may die in a battle zone on the other side of the world. I can’t fathom what my grandmother felt as a 25-year-old wife with a one-year-old, while her beloved was traipsing through the muck and mud of a war-ravaged European countryside.
Would you pursue it intentionally?
Would you linger longer?
That’s the kicker.
For all the amazing benefits and richness of sexual intimacy, it should almost appall us that within so many marriages, sex is treated at best like obligation and at worst like burden.
As I have often said, I am not naive.
Those of you who aren’t having sex (or having very little) likely arrived in such circumstances on the heels of complex and heart-wrenching challenges. And I know there are a few of you who wouldn’t mind if the last time you made love was indeed the last time. You have no interest in changing such a pattern.
But for those of you who have just become lackadaisical… who think, “Oh, we’ll get around to sex someday” …who deep down know there truly is more hope than you are giving yourself credit for… my humble encouragement is that you walk in the direction of intimacy (emotional and physical).
My grandfather did indeed return from the war, and he and my grandmother went on to have two more children and to enjoy more than three decades of marriage. He died of a massive heart attack when he was only in his late 50s.
Like so many other spouses, my grandmother did not know that the last time they were in each other’s arms would indeed be the last time.
Copyright 2010, Julie Sibert, Intimacy in Marriage Blog