The counselor at our church told us that we should remember our love story. He said that we should be intentional in remembering the time we spend together. He looked at us and the other couples in the room on Thursday night, each of us seeking the same thing: marriage; and he warned us that it wasn’t going to be easy. He warned us and told us again to hold on to memories, because they would remind us what intimacy looks like and feels like. And maybe if we held tightly to the feelings these memories brought, we would all be happier.
This reminded me of a meal I had shared at my grandparents house as I child. I remember specifically sitting at their dinner table one afternoon in a late summer of my youth. The sun was bright and in my eyes, so my grandmother had pulled the drapes closed. They were heavy drapes that let dust onto our dishes, and even when they were drawn the sun would sneak through the dimples, casting rays of light through my grandfather’s cigarette smoke. (It was the nineties then and no one put their cigarettes out; not even at the dinner table.) My grandmother would dishes of food to the table from the kitchen as we fought over the coveted seat next to grandpa. When she placed them on the table, he looked at her and smiled, saying “thanks babe.” This made my sister and I giggle. Later we asked my mom if she knew that he called grandma “babe”, because “isn’t he too old for that?” She told us that he wasn’t and we giggled again. There are some lessons that take twenty years to learn.
When Sean and I came home from our pre-wedding counseling, we sat at our small table sharing a late dinner. I hadn’t felt like cooking and Sean was too tired to mind the frozen pizzas I prepared. When I placed it on the table he looked at me and said, “thanks bug” then pulled down the curtains in our dining room.
Like our dining room and wedding bands I believe that life is circular. A babe or a bug, we all develop our own levels of consistent intimacy. There isn’t a right answer for marriage and love, there’s just the answer we are willing to give. And maybe our love stories are more than just our own relationship memories. Maybe they’re deeper in the well, swallowed by our grandparent’s love, waiting to be drawn and brought to the surface. Maybe if we pour our drinks from this water and offer a cup to our loved ones, we will feel these stories transcend into our beings, quenching the intimacy we thirst for in our lives.