I hope you had a great Valentine’s celebration. Valentine’s Day is a special celebration because it is a day that right in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the beginning of the year we think of love. I think that Valentine’s Day should be declared a public holiday for celebrating love and romance. It’s a day characterized by bouquet of flowers, cards, dining in a quiet romantic setting, chocolate and lingerie, etc.

On Valentine’s Day, what is your routine way of proving your love and affection? Or are you among those who don’t believe in Valentine’s Day? Or you are thinking we should stop the spending part of the day? What exactly is your take? What is your manifesto for this year’s Valentine’s Day celebration?

Well, Valentine’s Day is only a day in the 365 days in the year but a thriving intimate marriage is better built on commitment, which is the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity or a promise or firm decision to do something.


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. 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 on 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 in 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 fire place. 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 live 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 grandmother 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.

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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“ was scrawled in yellow and 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 steeped 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’ll 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.

The unique couple expressed their love for each other for fifty years. Theirs was a commitment to a lifelong love. Their love was an intentional action. They loved each other but they never worked on the assumption that a thriving blissful marriage will just happen. It is obvious from the story that a lifelong commitment is not just a one-day affair or a romantic feeling or a physical attraction but a commitment of a lifetime or project everlasting. No commitment is achievable if both spouses are not involved.

Commitment doesn’t happen at once. It is an intentional process. A thriving marriage needs love too and “Love spelled as commitment” is enough to get everything else done.

No commitment is achievable if your spouse is hurting and you are hurting and both of you refuse to talk about it. No commitment is achievable if you are insensitive to your spouse’s feelings and need. No commitment is achievable if you don’t listen and understand your spouse. No commitment is achievable if you don’t have faith in your spouse as the best partner for you.

Committing to a lifelong love is becoming unperturbed by the daily challenges but being contented to have a joyful, peaceful and safe marriage; being unapologetic in love with your spouse to be the best, boldest, bravest version of themselves. A thriving marriage is very possible if you get very deliberate about your commitment.