Devotionals by Dr. James Dobson

WEEK ONE – True Love

“Shmily
by Laura Jeanne Allen

My grandparents were married for over half a century. From the time they met each other they played their own special game. The goal of their game was to write the word “shmily” in a surprise place for the other to find. They took turns leaving “shmily” around the house, and as soon as one of them discovered it, it was his or her turn to hide it once more. They dragged “shmily” with their fingers through the sugar and flour containers to await whoever was preparing the next meal. They smeared it in the dew on the windows overlooking the patio where my grandma always fed us warm, homemade pudding with blue food color‐ing. “Shmily” was written in the steam on the bathroom mirror, where it would reappear after every hot shower. At one point, my grandmother even unrolled an entire roll of toilet paper to leave “shmily” on the very last sheet. There was no end to the places “shmily” popped up. Little notes with a hastily scribbled “shmily” were found on dashboards and car seats or taped to steering wheels. The notes were stuffed inside shoes and left under pillows. “Shmily” was written in the dust upon the mantel and traced in the ashes of the fireplace. This mysterious word was as much a part of my grandparents’ house as the furniture.

It took me a long time before I fully appreciated my grandparents’ game. Skepticism has kept me from believing in true love—one that is pure and enduring. However, I never doubted my grandparents’ relationship. They had love down pat. It was more than their flirtatious little games; it was a way of life. Their relationship was based on a devotion and passionate affection that not everyone experiences.

Grandma and Grandpa held hands every chance they could. They stole kisses as they bumped into each other in their tiny kitchen. They finished each other’s sentences and shared the daily crossword puzzle and word jumble. My grandma whispered to me about how cute my grandpa was, how handsome an old man he had grown to be. She claimed that she really knew “how to pick ’em.” Before every meal they bowed their heads and gave thanks, marveling at their blessings: a wonderful family, good fortune, and each other.

But there was a dark cloud in my grandparents’ life: My grand‐mother had breast cancer. The disease had first appeared ten years earlier. As always, Grandpa was with her every step of the way. He comforted her in their yellow room, painted that way so that she could always be surrounded by sunshine, even when she was too sick to go outside.

Now the cancer was again attacking her body. With the help of a cane and my grandfather’s steady hand, she went to church with him every Sunday. But my grandmother grew steadily weaker until, finally, she could not leave the house anymore. For a while, Grandpa would go to church alone, praying to God to watch over his wife. Then one day, what we all dreaded finally happened. Grandma was gone.

“Shmily.” It was scrawled in yellow on the pink ribbons of my grandmother’s funeral bouquet. As the crowd thinned and the last mourners turned to leave, my aunts, uncles, cousins, and other family members came forward and gathered around Grandma one last time. Grandpa stepped up to my grandmother’s casket and, taking a shaky breath, began to sing to her. Through his tears and grief, the song came, a deep and throaty lullaby.

Shaking with my own sorrow, I will never forget that moment. For I knew that, although I couldn’t begin to fathom the depth of their love, I had been privileged to witness its unmatched beauty.

S‐h‐m‐i‐l‐y: See How Much I Love You. Thank you, Grandma and Grandpa, for letting me see.

LOOKING AHEAD. . .

Is there any doubt that this tender couple knew the joy that springs from true love? That they understood the meaning of intimacy and commitment in marriage? Through a simple message sent in simple ways— traced in a flour container or on the bathroom mirror—this husband and wife continually expressed their love to each other for over fifty years. And when the time came for “Grandpa” to face the world alone, through his tears he sang his bride a lullaby that told her one last time, “See how much I love you!”

So many couples today reach the end of their days without ever experiencing such genuine love—the kind that includes stealing kisses, finishing each other’s sentences, and holding hands whenever possible. They sincerely desire a deep, intimate love, but they assume it will just “happen” somewhere along the way. When it doesn’t, disillusionment and even divorce follow.

We’ll talk this week about true love—what it means and how you can achieve it in marriage. I’ll close tonight’s reading with this question: What does true love mean to you?
- James C. Dobson

• “SHMILY” by Laura Jeanne Allen. © 1997. Used by permission of the author.

Listen to today's broadcast of Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk at OnePlace.com.  For more from Dr. Dobson, visit the resource center at drjamesdobson.org.

This devotional is taken from Night Light for Couples. Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reservedUsed with permission.

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About Dr. James Dobson

About the Hosts:
Dr. James Dobson:

James Dobson is the host of Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk. He is also the founder of Focus on the Family, where he served for more than 30 years.

A licensed psychologist and marriage, family, and child counselor, he was an associate clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Southern California for 14 years. He invested 17 years on the attending staff of Children's Hospital Los Angeles in the Division of Child Development and Medical Genetics.

Earning a Ph.D. from the University of Southern California, he's authored more than 30 books, including his most recent bestseller, Bringing Up Girls. Dr. Dobson has also been heavily involved in governmental activities related to the family. He was elected in 2008 to the National Radio Hall of Fame.

Dr. Dobson is married to Shirley, the father of two grown children, Danae and Ryan, and the grandfather of Lincoln and Luci.

 

Dr. Meg Meeker:
Dr. Meg is a pediatrician, who has practiced pediatric and adolescent medicine for 25 years. She is the author of six books including the best-selling Strong Fathers/Strong Daughters: Ten Secrets Every Father Should Know, and its companions Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: The 30 Day Challenge and Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters, 8 part DVD Small Group Study and WorkbookBoys Should Be BoysYour Kids At Risk, and The 10 Habits of Happy Mothers: Reclaiming Our Passion, Purpose and Sanity. She is a popular speaker on pediatric health issues and child-parent relationships. Dr. Meeker has the heart of a mother and the wisdom of a pediatrician. 
Meg is an Assistant Clinical Professor at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine and currently teaches medical students and physicians in residency training. She has been married to her husband, Walter for 31 years. They have shared a medical practice for 20 years. They have three daughters ages 29, 27 and 25 and a son who is 21. She lives in northern Michigan.

 

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