By: Cindee Johnson
Encompass Relationship Facilitator
SHMILY. It’s been years since my husband Dave and I first saw this “word” while sharing in a daily devotional. Yet, it never has left us or our marriage. Laura Hammond told the story of her grandparents, married for over half a century, who played a special game--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 their 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 coloring. "SHMILY" was written in the steam left on the mirror after a hot shower, where it would reappear bath after bath. 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" would pop up. Little notes with "SHMILY" scribbled hurriedly 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 was able to fully appreciate my grandparent's game. Skepticism had 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.” -Laura Hammond
Isn’t it incredible the ripple effect a pure and enduring love in marriage can have? Generations of children and grandchildren impacted by a couple’s little game of SHMILY. That’s just how God designed marriage. To leave a legacy of love for others. The kind of love that never ends. It’s the kind of legacy Dave and I pray we leave for our children and our grandchildren. Actually, for anyone God brings into our lives. To know we had love down pat. Not perfect. But enduring. That love was our way of life.
So we have played our own game of SHMILY since we first saw the “word” all those years ago in that daily devotional. SHMILY has appeared in our marriage at special moments, hilarious places, unexpected times and as a vitally needed reminder during some very hard life situations. Yet, always at just the right time. Because, like Laura’s grandparents, love for us is not a flirtatious little game, it is a way of life. The greatest way of life.
“Three things will last forever--faith, hope, and love--and the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13 NLT
What does SHMILY mean? See how much I love you. Maybe you need the SHMILY game in your marriage, too. 💙
At Encompass we're about helping you experience way more positives than negatives in your relationships. And we do that through helping you master relationship skills and tools that take you in that direction. Check out our Family resources or follow a link below for more information.
Lavern & Ronda Nissley are co-directors of Encompass. Married since 1978, both enjoy coffee, riding their tandem bicycle and working together to build strong relationships.