We’ve talked this week about the brevity of life and the importance of making the most of the time the Lord has given us. Our journey as marital partners will someday come to an end. First one of us, and then the other, will stand before God, give an account of our days, and begin our eternal journey. Jim and I certainly look forward to that heavenly reward, but we are also enjoying our time together on this earth. Jim has recovered fully from a heart attack and a stroke, either of which could have taken his life. Those experiences have made our relationship all the sweeter and more precious. I will always thank God for bringing us together in a marriage that has continued now for more than four decades.
One of the most delightful experiences during that time came in a Marriage Encounter seminar we participated in years ago. I knew that Jim loved and needed me during the early years of our marriage, but I had begun to quietly wonder if I still held the most prominent place in his heart. On the final day of the seminar, without discussing it ahead of time, we wrote each other letters addressing just this issue. I’ll never forget the moment we came together and shared these thoughts.
Jim concluded his letter to me, in part, with these words:
I love you, S. M. D. (Remember the monogrammed shirt?) I love the girl who believed in me before I believed in myself. I love the girl who never complained about huge school bills and books and hot apartments and rented junky furniture and no vacations and humble little Volkswagens. You have been with me—encouraging me, loving me, and supporting me since August 27, 1960. And the status you have given me in our home is beyond what I have deserved.
If we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 1 John 4:12
So why do I want to go on living? It’s because I have you to take the journey with. Otherwise, why make the trip? The half that lies ahead promises to be tougher than the years behind us. Autumn is coming. Even now, I can feel a little nip in the air—and I try not to look at a distant, lone cloud that passes near the horizon. With whom, then, will I spend that final season of my life?
None but you, Shirls. The only joy of the future will be in experiencing it as I have the past twenty‐one years—hand‐in‐hand with the one I love, a young miss named Shirley Deere, who gave me everything she had—including her heart. Thank you, babe, for making this journey with me. Let’s finish it— together!
May the Lord continually sustain and enrich your marriage. God’s blessings to you both… and good night.
- Shirley M Dobson