Do you know what SHMILY stands for?

If you ever took a pre-marriage class (or as we Catholics call it, pre-Cana), you may have heard the story behind SHMILY. And if you haven’t, I will explain it to you in a moment.

I’m telling this story because before I walked out of the door today, my husband handed me my travel mug full of coffee.

This is not something he usually does. Mornings are usually a fustercluck: me urging the girls to get ready, Dan wrangling Michael into pants, both of us adults trying to dress and eat breakfast before we are on the road. So I usually pour my own travel mug — and about a third of the time leave it sitting on the counter.

But this morning, as I was herding the girls out the door, Dan handed me my full travel mug, coffee with cream, and gave me a kiss.

And it made my whole day.


The story they told us at an engagement retreat/pre-Cana weekend involved an older couple who were married for years. They would surprise each other every now and again by hiding a note with the word “shmily” on it. Or write “shmily” someplace unexpected (a steamed up mirror in the bathroom, in snow outside). When the other person saw it, they had to re-hide the note, or do their own shmily in return.

Finally, the granddaughter who was witness to these sweet “shmily” shenanigans asked (I believe it was at the grandmother’s funeral) what “shmily” meant.

It means, “see how much I love you”.


If you haven’t done a shmily — ever, or recently — try to do one for the special person in your life. A note in their lunch. A text message, a post on their Facebook wall. Make them tea, bring them a beer, buy them a cookie. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. All it has to do is remind you both of your love.

It will make them feel so loved. And I bet you’ll feel pretty good too.

Show of hands, who knew what SHMILY meant before they read this?

2 thoughts on “SHMILY

  1. I had never heard the term. But my dear spouse charms me with little surprises from time to time: sneaking Hershey’s kisses into my lunch bag, making my tea in the morning. Hmm … I wonder if I ever think to do fun things for him?

    • I know! My husband is SO MUCH better at SHMILY than I am. I say “I love you” (and mean it) a lot, and I thank him for the little things he does (big things too) but I need to do better at the little things to show him.

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