Category Archives: Night Light – James & Shirley Dobson

Ray Stedman – Citizens of Heaven

Read: Philippians 1:27

Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Phil 1:27a

Paul uses an interesting word here, translated conduct in the NIV. It is a word from which we get our English word politics, or politician. The Greek word is politeuma, a word that means your conduct as a citizen or a colony. This is the first indication in this letter of a unique condition in the city of Philippi. Everyone in that city was aware that its citizens were citizens of Rome even though they were a thousand miles away. This was because of the great battle that had been won by the Roman Emperor, and in gratitude to the residents they were made citizens of Rome.

Paul builds on this idea and says to them, in effect, you Christians in Philippi are members of another government. You cannot have the same attitude to the rest of the citizens of Philippi. You belong to a colony of heaven; therefore you must behave like citizens of heaven. You must let your manner of conduct be worthy of the government to which you belong, the kingdom of God and the gospel of Christ.

Continue reading Ray Stedman – Citizens of Heaven

Night Light for Couples – Still the One


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

From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson


Night Light for Couples – Last Call


“The great day of the Lord is near— near and coming quickly.” Zephaniah 1:14

Think about the people you love. Have you thanked them recently for what they mean to you? If the Lord called you home this evening, would you feel satisfied that you had told them everything you needed to say? In the last months of my (jcd) mother’s life, she had end‐stage Parkinson’s disease and was unable to communicate or understand us. One day, however, the Lord granted us a reprieve. When Shirley and I visited the nursing home, my mother instantly recognized us, and I was able to thank her for being a good mother, for staying true to Jesus, and for sacrificing to put me through college.

She smiled; she understood. I told her that my father was waiting for her in heaven and that Jesus would say, “Well done! Thou good and faithful servant.” I prayed for her and thanked the Lord for her love in my life. She returned our love, and we said good‐bye.

That was the last rational conversation I had with my mother, and I will always be thankful for those final moments together. In this temporary existence, we must always seize opportunities to communicate soul to soul. Cherish each moment with your partner, family, and friends. Tell them how important they are to you. Above all, live each day so that when the final call comes, Jesus will say, “Well done! Thou good and faithful servant.”

Just between us…

  • Do we tell our loved ones what they mean to us?
  • What would you like to say to me “soul to soul”?
  • Are we ready for the Lord to call us home? What should we do to prepare?

Dear Lord, thank You for my lifetime partner. May we never miss an opportunity to say the words that really count. Help us to live without regrets, always ready for the homeward call of Jesus. Amen.

From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson

Night Light for Couples – Everyday Moments


“I was filled with delight day after day.” Proverbs 8:30

We all cherish the milestones and special events in the course of married life: the wedding and honeymoon, the birth of children, the twenty‐fifth and fiftieth wedding anniversaries, the kids’ high school and college graduations. These are occasions to celebrate with hugs, photographs, and congratulations all around. But don’t forget to savor the everyday moments that make up the rest of our days. Think about what it means to wake up in the morning next to someone you love and to begin the day with a kiss… to exchange knowing glances with your partner as you rake leaves in the yard or share a cup of coffee… to hold hands with your mate in church as you sing praises to our glorious God. When you review the mental scrapbook of images from your marriage, we hope it is filled with happy memories of the “big moments” you’ve shared together. But also be sure to include snapshots of those joyful, everyday events that make each day of marriage something special.

Just between us…

  • What everyday activities bring you joy?
  • Do you think we have lived from one big event to the next—or have we tried to make ordinary days special, too?
  • How can we help each other savor everyday moments?
  • Do our lives demonstrate to others that each moment is a gift from


Father, we find Your love in the simple joys around us—a bird’s song or a smile from our mate, blue skies or the laughter of children. Thank You for health and for Your unfailing abundance. open our eyes to the wealth of each day, o Lord. May we never live like paupers when You have made us so rich. Amen.

From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson

Night Light for Couples – Christmas Memories


“I thank my God every time I remember you.” Philippians 1:3

Some of my (jcd’s) favorite memories are from the Christmas season. I remember the year my father returned from the bank with twenty crisp, new one‐dollar bills. Those were the days when a dollar would buy a meal. He attached a Merry Christmas note to each bill and handed one to the newsboy, the shoeshine man, the postman, and seventeen others. He was simply thanking them for being his friends.

Another memory was made years later when Shirley, the kids, and I flew to Kansas City to spend the holidays with my parents. When I stepped off the plane and into the terminal, I caught sight of my father. He had a twinkle in his eyes and a smile on his face; Mom also was aglow with excitement. Their family had come home. I wouldn’t trade those memories for anything.

Every season offers opportunities for unforgettable moments to share with your spouse and family. Seize them—and savor them.

Just between us…

  • What is your favorite holiday? Why?
  • What is your fondest memory of a holiday season we’ve spent together?
  • What can we do to keep alive the memory of all our special moments?
  • How can we make our faith a more central part of our family celebrations?

Lord, thank You for giving us “the heritage of those who fear Your name.” Thank You for the many special times You have given us and for the wonderful memories that go with them. May we recognize and cherish these gifts and pass them on to our children. Amen.

From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson

Night Light for Couples – Overcommitment


“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity.” Ephesians 5:15

Overcommitment is a marriage killer. When your week is filled with the demands of fifty, sixty, or even seventy hours at the office, the pressures of a new baby, making meals, night classes, housework, church programs, replacing the broken window, the kids’ band and football practices, Bible studies, painting the house, caring for your aunt with the broken leg… well, you get the idea. How can a husband and wife seek to communicate with each other when they’re too worn out to talk? How can they enjoy praying together when every moment is programmed? How can they enjoy a sexual relationship when they just want to collapse into bed each evening?

A few years ago some friends of ours decided to do something about this dilemma. They sold their house and moved to a less expensive home so they could reduce their hours at work and spend more time with each other and their children. That kind of downward mobility is almost unheard of today. Have they regretted it? Not for a moment.

Just between us…

  • Are you satisfied with the amount of time we have for rest, renewal, and relationship building?
  • Did we overcommit ourselves in the past week or month? How did that happen? How can we prevent it from happening again?
  • What activities most often consume the time we could better spend with each other and with God? Can we give some of them up?

Dear Heavenly Father, we find it so much easier to fill our lives with “doing” instead of “being.” Forgive us for our misplaced values and careless living, and show us how to keep our priorities straight. Amen.

From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson

Night Light for Couples – Numbering of Our Days


“What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” James 4:14

I (jcd) had invited fellow‐believer Pete Maravich to join me and a few others for a pick‐up basketball game the day before he was to appear on a Focus on the Family broadcast. It was an audacious thing to do. Though retired for nearly eight years, “Pistol Pete” had been one of the NBA’s all‐time best players. Nevertheless, he joined us, and we scrimmaged for about forty‐five minutes.

During our break, I asked Pete how he felt. He answered, “I feel just great.” Those were his last words. As I turned away, he fell hard on the court. He died seconds later in my arms, the victim of a congenital malformation of the heart that had never been diagnosed.

Moses wrote this prayer: “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). That is a strange verse at first glance. What does knowing that life is short have to do with wisdom? Everything, in fact. If we retained an eternal perspective, we would surely order our choices by eternal values. Would a husband pursue an adulterous affair? Would a wife belittle her mate for his failings? Would both devote their lives to the pursuit of power and wealth? I think not.

Time is an embezzler, juggling the books at night when no one is looking. So remember to use each day for the Lord as though it could be your last. All too quickly, it will be.

Just between us…

  • Do we live each day as if it might be our last? Why or why not?
  • What does it mean to “live in light of eternity”?
  • How can I encourage you to live for things that really matter?

Father, each day of life is a gift, and we do not know when we will draw our last breath. May we live circumspectly, with eternity always in view. Amen.

From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson

Night Light for Couples – Our Night of Magic


by Charlotte Carpenter

A slow but steady rain came down all that wintry morning and froze where it fell—on the ground, the trees, the buildings. By mid-afternoon the rain had stopped, and we looked on a crystal world. We were accustomed to the white hoarfrost of winter, but this was something else—a hard, clear coating of solid ice. Our five children, ages five to sixteen, returned from school exclaiming about how good the sledding would be on the steep hill in our pasture.

They took out at once, but they never reached their destination, for between home and hill lay a gently rolling, treeless meadow. Here they found that their sleds would speed over the ice from fence to fence with only the weight of their bodies to keep them going. What fun they had. When they came home to chores and supper, they were so excited. “Mom and Dad, you’ve got to come with us down to the pasture tonight,” they said. They had never seen ice so slippery that they didn’t need a hill for coasting on their sleds.

Why should fortyish parents risk life and limb by going out on a dangerously slick night? They begged until we simply could not refuse them.

Gingerly we made our way to the meadow. Even with rubber footgear, we found it hard to walk. The sleds we pulled kept sliding into the backs of our legs. It was very cold, and my husband, the practical one, carried an armload of wood to build a fire.

We will never forget the unbelievably beautiful sight that met our eyes when we reached the meadow. The moon and stars, shining brilliantly as they do only on clear, cold nights, turned the meadow into a lake of glass. We built our fire at the top of a slight incline. The ice reflected us, and the leaping flames danced on the ice.

Again and again the children and sleds flew over the ground. If two rode together, the sled went faster—so fast the riders could barely turn in time to avoid crashing into the fence. The littlest ones rode back to the starting point, easily pulled by older brothers. We parents envied them—the hardest part for us was walking back after the ride. We left most of the sledding to our children and stayed near the fire, absorbed in the dreamlike magic of the night.

We all felt so good when we started back that we hardly noticed our cold feet and tired bodies.

“Will the ice still be here tomorrow?” one of the children asked.

“Probably not if the sun shines,” I answered. And sure enough, by midmorning the ice was gone, leaving only an expanse of brown grass.

To this day, when we’re in the meadow, whether it’s covered with the luxuriant green of summer or the white snow of winter, we remember the wonder of that night. Despite six other witnesses I harbor a slight doubt that it was real, for the experience seems like something we must have imagined.

My husband and I learned several things that night: to enjoy an interlude of joy when it comes; not to put off our children when they find something wonderful and so unusual that it may never happen again; and not to say, “We’re too busy now. It will have to wait.” We go with them to see a new calf, a robin on the lawn, a butterfly or bug. We share their excitement over a ballgame, a school play, or graduation. For now we know this: Refuse to take the time, and you will miss something precious to hold in memory. A magical sledding on glass in the starlight may happen only once in a lifetime.

Looking ahead…

Young children view the world with a unique blend of awe and urgency. Everything, from a rainbow to a chocolate sundae, is new and exciting to them. And everything needs to be experienced right now!

We sometimes get impatient with this perspective—yet we could learn from it. For as we plow through our endless list of chores and responsibilities, postponing time with our loved ones, life hurtles by— like a sled in a meadow of ice. Before we know it, we’re standing before heaven’s gates, wondering how we got there so fast. Don’t miss the precious nights of magic on the way.

– James C Dobson

From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson

Night Light for Couples – Beautiful Music


“Lean not on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5

I can’t tell you the number of times, especially during our early years together, that the requirements of being a godly wife and mother have seemed to be completely out of reach for me.

Perhaps you face similar feelings tonight. You want to keep growing, trying, getting better, but you’re not sure if you can hope for success. If so, I want to share one of my favorite stories with you. It reminds me how the Lord can turn our small, sincere efforts into a masterpiece….

Wishing to encourage her young son’s progress on the piano, a mother took her small boy to a Paderewski concert. After they were seated, the mother spotted a friend in the audience and walked down the aisle to greet her. The little boy seized the opportunity to explore the wonders of the concert hall. After wandering a while, he eventually made his way through a door marked “No Admittance.”

Then the house lights dimmed. The mother returned to her seat for the beginning of the concert only to discover that her son was missing. Before she could start her search, the curtains parted and the spotlights shone on the impressive Steinway grand piano on stage. There, innocently picking out “Chopsticks,” sat her little boy. The mother froze in horror. The audience began to murmur with irritation. Meanwhile backstage, the great piano master overheard the childish playing and the rumblings from the audience. Quickly he donned his jacket and made his entrance. Moving to the piano, he whispered in the boy’s ear, “Don’t quit. Keep playing!” Then Paderewski leaned over, reached around both sides of the boy, and began to improvise a countermelody to harmonize with the boy’s rendition of “Chopsticks.”

Music—at once childlike and mellow, simple and profound—filled the auditorium. Everyone sat mesmerized, none more so than the boy’s awestruck mother….

Do your efforts to grow and flourish in your marriage feel inadequate, timid, unpromising? You’re not in this alone! Remember that the Lord’s loving arms are around you. Lean on His strength and guidance. You’ll grow in ways you never thought possible and make music together more wonderful than you ever imagined.

Our encouragement to you is simple: “Don’t quit. Keep playing!” With the blessing of the Master, your efforts together will become something beautiful and unforgettable.

– Shirley M Dobson

From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson

Night Light for Couples – Growing with God


“Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation.” 1 Peter 2:2

Our culture tends to emphasize personal growth at the cost of marriage commitment. Humans are made for a lifelong growth curve, and the best place to experience it is inside a faithful, God‐blessed marriage. When the Lord Jesus is the “third person” in our union, we can flourish with a spiritual intimacy and growth unavailable to others. I (jcd) am reminded of a letter a woman wrote to me:

Dear Dr. Dobson: My husband recently left me after fifteen years of marriage.

We had a great relationship, but something was missing—we had no spiritual bond between us. Please tell young couples that there will always be a void in their lives together without Christ. A good marriage must have its foundation in Him in order to experience lasting love, peace, and joy. I am now growing steadily in my walk with the Lord, but I am alone.

Don’t forget to grow with God together. The “pure spiritual milk” Peter writes about is the Word of God. Along with Christian fellowship and prayer, the Bible will feed the deepest hungers of your heart. And you’ll find the soul‐mate of your dreams—sitting right beside you!

Just between us…

  • Do our church experiences nurture our spiritual life?
  • Do we have friends who encourage our spiritual growth?
  • How can we do a better job of growing together in God’s Word?

Lord, give us a hunger for Your Word. May we claim the spiritual growth You promise and the emotional and physical intimacy that can come with it. Amen.

From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson

Night Light for Couples – Breaking Out


“God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7

Breaking out of comfortable routines can be beneficial for us, but it isn’t always as easy as it sounds. My (jcd’s) father, for example, hated automatic transmissions on automobiles because he had learned to drive with stick shifts. I’ve fallen into similar patterns. Until 1992 I wrote books on yellow pads with pencils. I worked that way for years despite the availability of word processors. The twentieth century was almost over before I decided to join it.

Rigidity and the force of habit can cause us to do things that make no sense. Yet when we stop learning and growing, we fail to reach our potential. To look at it another way, which companies would you say are more successful in today’s fast‐changing marketplace: those whose motto is “We’ve always done it this way,” or those that continually evaluate their methods and seek improvements?

Some of what succeeds in business also makes sense in marriage. You might ask yourself if any outdated routines and pointless—or even costly—habits are holding you back.

Just between us…

  • Am I stuck in any habits that no longer make sense?
  • How are those who are unwilling to change like the Pharisees of

Scripture? (See Luke 11:37–44.)

  • Do you enjoy learning?
  • How can I encourage you to get out of old ruts or discard outdated habits?

Lord, we can become so comfortable in our old ways, but comfort can lead to stagnation and retreat. Inspire us by Your Spirit “of power, of love and of self-discipline” to reach for Your creative best. Thank You for the gift of new life we can enjoy together every day. Amen.

From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson

Night Light for Couples – On Target


“Get a new heart and a new spirit.” Ezekiel 18:31

Maybe you heard the story about the day Lisa finally had enough. Her husband, Greg, loved to shoot. An expert marksman, he traveled widely to compete against other enthusiasts, and occasionally he brought home a trophy. But Lisa had no interest in marksmanship. In fact, she didn’t like guns—period. To make matters worse, she missed her husband terribly while he was away pursuing his hobby.

One day it dawned on her that their relationship was in trouble. That was the day Lisa finally had enough. Lisa asked Greg to teach her how to shoot a rifle, then joined him in his travels. Soon she decided to compete at the shooting events. To Lisa’s surprise, she liked firing a rifle. And to her husband’s surprise, Lisa was a very good shot. She even started bringing home more trophies than he did. But of the prizes they brought home, one stood out above all the rest: Their marriage seemed reborn. The time they spent together at their newfound common interest helped them develop a closeness that simply hadn’t existed before.

Lisa’s story is a good reminder that what seems like an obstacle might really be an opportunity. Creative, committed couples discover this secret everyday. Just ask a husband who’s learned to love ballroom dancing or a wife who’s gotten hooked on fly fishing. That’s because the best times always seem to come in pairs.

Just between us…

  • When was the last time we tried a new activity together?
  • Did you enjoy it? Why or why not?
  • Are there activities keeping us apart that we could do together?

Dear God, we ask for fresh determination to explore new interests and activities together. Where our marriage would be strengthened by playing together, help us let go of the old habits and assumptions that keep us apart. Amen.

From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson


Night Light for Couples –Willing to Fail


“Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still.” Proverbs 9:9

You may have heard about a remarkable man who encountered continual disappointment yet wasn’t afraid to risk failing again. Between 1831 and 1858 he suffered two business failures, the death of his fiancée, and a mental breakdown. This man also failed in his attempts at public office: He bid unsuccessfully for positions as state legislator, speaker of the state legislature, presidential elector, state land officer, congressional representative, U.S. Senator (twice), and U.S. vice president.

Was he a hopeless loser? History indicates otherwise. In 1860, Abraham Lincoln was elected president of the United States. He led the nation through the dark days of the Civil War, preserved the union, and issued the Emancipation Proclamation. Many historians consider him the greatest of all U.S. presidents.

Successful people such as Abraham Lincoln usually experience failure along the way, but they keep taking risks—and they learn from their mistakes. Are you willing to fail in order to learn and grow?

Just between us…

  • David was a great king, yet he fell into sin. What did he learn from his sin? (See Psalm 51.)
  • What have you learned from past failures?
  • When you fail, do I hold it against you, or do I help you try again?
  • How does God want us to respond to failure?

Lord, we ask tonight that You affirm Your work in our lives and that You put Your hand of blessing and safekeeping on all our endeavors. When we try and fail, help us to get up and try again. Amen.

From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson

Night Light for Couples – Taking Chances


“The righteous are as bold as a lion.” Proverbs 28:1

Remember Evel Knievel, the death‐defying daredevil who jumped over cars, trucks, and all manner of objects on his motorcycle? Evel may have been a little too ambitious for his own good—he broke a number of bones in the process—but he can teach us something about risk.

When we stretch ourselves beyond our comfort zone, we experience the thrill and confidence that comes from facing a new challenge. In the case of a bored husband or wife, this may mean joining a speaker’s group, volunteering to lead a Bible study, going on a backpacking trip, or taking a class. It might also include opening up to your spouse or relating the message of Jesus to a group of nonbelievers. For me (jcd), it was leaving a comfortable position as a professor of pediatrics, where I had a predictable income and the support of a large university. I traded that for a little two‐room office and called it “Focus on the Family.” Only God knew where that radical decision would lead, but it was the beginning of a ride that has resulted in my words being heard worldwide by two hundred million people every day. It was worth the risk, I would say.

Even if you don’t do as well as you’d hoped, you’ll still feel a sense of fulfillment from reaching for a dream. Just try not to break any bones.

Just between us…

  • What kind of positive risks have we taken in our marriage?
  • What risks does the Lord want us to avoid?
  • What have you always wanted to do, but haven’t yet dared to try?
  • In what ways can we take a risk for Jesus Christ?

Heavenly Father, we never want fear or complacency in our marriage. By the strength of Your Spirit, may we reach together for new challenges in faith as long as we live. Amen.

From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson

Night Light for Couples – Cool Blades


by Pam Gross

It was a vaguely familiar feeling—a feeling of freedom experienced a lifetime ago. Motion. Speed. Wind. Excitement. Small but present danger. Oh, yes! That same exhilaration that comes with competence. I was doing it! I was rollerblading on the boardwalk at Seaside, Oregon, on a glorious late summer afternoon. Two miles of flat, smooth pavement, sunshine, ocean air. I couldn’t help my smile; it was as ridiculously relentless as a yellow happy face. My body moved with relative ease and a modicum of grace. Push, glide, push, glide—don’t lift the feet so high. Swing the hips. Oops! Too much push means too much glide. Let’s get more control here. Up and down! Up and down! Miles and miles—every once in a while picking up the scent of a cigar as I once again whizzed past my husband reading Tom Clancy on a bench.

Getting tired, I informed my husband that on the next pass I wanted to stop.

“Okay,” he said. “I’ll be ready.”

Stopping was not a skill I had mastered at that point. As I approached him, I slowed to a more manageable speed. He stood up, swung his arms wide, and enfolded me in a great hug.

“I am your stopping post,” he whispered.

I thought, Yes. What a wonderful metaphor. You are my safe stopping place.

I sat for a while on the bench enjoying the moment. Some teenagers sauntered past, talking quietly among themselves. The last, a young man of about thirteen, looked admiringly at my skates, bent down, and murmured just so we could hear, “Cool blades.” Then he picked up his pace to catch his friends. My husband and I said in unison, “Cool blades?” And we laughed.

Then the sunset zealots began converging like football fans on Super Bowl Sunday. I hoisted myself off the bench to make the most of the fading light. Up and down, push and glide. Lost in the exquisite rhythm and the elegant air, I almost missed them. But out of the corner of my eye I glimpsed a bicycle surrey pulled up close to the boardwalk. Four women nested there comfortably in that distinctly female way of companionable silence. I thought they were completely absorbed by the inch‐by‐inch disappearance of the day, but as I moved past, almost out of earshot, I heard the soft call of support: “You go, girl!” To acknowledge, I signaled a “thumbs up” and continued on.

Now, whenever I put on my skates, I hear the young voice saying, “Cool blades,” and I smile. When I think of my husband as a safe stopping place, I smile. When I recall the soft call of support, I smile. I’m sure glad I didn’t take seriously those people who predicted, “Rollerblade? You’re nearly sixty! You’ll kill yourself!”

Kill myself? I’d say I was perfectly alive that day on the boardwalk.

Looking ahead…

The routine of what might be called the safe, predictable life has a way of wearing down wives and husbands. Too many years spent in that same office with the broken air conditioner, mowing that same lawn with the crabgrass that never goes away, scraping the ketchup off those same dishes, and making the same lunches for seemingly ungrateful children can leave married couples bored and restless. What’s the solution?

One answer is to open your mind to the possibilities around you. Learn a new skill… study a new subject… take on a new hobby… pursue a new adventure. Think about what you’ve always wanted to try, then do it. You may even find yourself rollerblading down the boardwalk—and loving it.

– James C Dobson

From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson

Night Light for Couples – Words of Hope


“In his word I put my hope.” Psalm 130:5

Like anyone else, I have days when discouragement seems to get the better of me. At such times I try to remember that the Lord has provided me with a source of continuing inspiration and hope. To tap into that source I need simply to open the pages of my Bible, God’s letter of hope to me.

I’m reminded of a story about an elderly woman who had lost her husband, George, some years earlier in an automobile accident. Theirs had been a long and happy marriage, and she missed him terribly. When she suffered a broken leg, she felt more confined and alone than ever. One particularly blue day, she found herself longing once again for her husband’s company. She sat in her living room and began to weep. “Dear God,” she prayed, “please give me the strength to get through this hour.”

Get your Bible, a quiet voice inside her said. But her Bible was in the bedroom, and, with her leg in a cast, she thought it would be too hard to retrieve. Then she remembered a small travel Bible on a nearby bookshelf. She reached for it and turned the pages to find a favorite Scripture.

Suddenly a letter fell into her lap. She carefully unfolded the yellowed pages. It was a love letter from George. In it, he expressed his deep affection for her. His words of comfort went straight to her lonely heart.

In the back pages of the Bible she found more notes from George. He had written them in the hospital while awaiting an operation, apparently fearing he would not return home. After he recovered, the notes were forgotten.

That woman spent the rest of the afternoon basking in the company of her husband’s letters and in the certainty that the Lord cared for her.

When you’re feeling short on hope in your marriage, ask yourself if you’ve spent enough time lately reading your “mail” from God. Jeremiah wrote, “When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight” (Jeremiah 15:16). As we go about our days, we can draw on the same delight… if we’ll just read the Bible for a few minutes and wait for His Word to meet our need.

God loves you with infinite compassion and tenderness. He knows just what you need and when you need it. In the pages of Scripture, you’ll find example after example of His wisdom, comfort, and love— all meant for you. It’s the kind of “mail” that will really make your day!

– Shirley M Dobson

From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson

Night Light for Couples – The Afterlife


“We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.” Romans 5:2

Our hope for the afterlife was once expressed to me (jcd) by my father. We were walking on a country road, talking about life and its meaning, when he made a comment that I will never forget. He said that when he was a young man, the possibility of a future heavenly existence was not a matter of great value to him. He had enjoyed his youth, and the thought of life beyond the grave was like a pearl that was crusted over with scales and grime. The beauty of the pearl was assumed, but not apparent or realized. But as he grew older and began to experience problems associated with aging, including a serious heart attack and assorted aches and pains, the beauty of the pearl of eternal life began to shine. It shone more and more brilliantly until it became the most prized of any of his possessions.

My father died shortly after that conversation. He has at last grasped the “pearl” of eternal life. Thankfully, that same blessed hope is available to all of God’s children, including you and me. And it is a hope that can bring grace and meaning to every word and activity in our marriage.

Just between us…

  • How do you picture heaven?
  • As the years pass, do you find yourself thinking more about eternity,

or less?

  • What is your greatest hope for the future?
  • Do we understand that the only “thing” we can take with us to heaven is other people and the Word of God? Do we live as though we believed that?

Father, we are so thankful that You have prepared a place for us in Your kingdom. Help us to make the most of our time in this life. May we do everything in our power to spread the good news of this eternal hope to those who don’t know You. Amen.

From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson

Night Light for Couples – Anchor For the Soul


“In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name.” Psalm 33:21

When a sudden storm strikes a ship at anchor, only the links of chain and the anchor wedged in the rocks keep vessel and crew from being set dangerously adrift. Obviously, the more tumultuous the times, the more important the moorings. In our own stressful moments, our hopes need to be anchored securely—not in wishes or feelings, but in God’s promise. As the author of Hebrews said, “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure”(Hebrews 6:19).

Isn’t it comforting to know that we have a secure anchor in our marriages? When storms threaten to overtake us, Jesus Christ will not let us drown. We can count on Him to deliver what He has promised. We may not know what the future holds for our family, career, finances, or dreams—but we can rest in the knowledge that our souls are safe in the hands of almighty God.

Just between us…

  • Can you think of a time when you thought the storms of life would capsize you? What kept you float?
  • Besides God, who or what provides security and stability in your life?
  • Do you ever feel adrift spiritually? If so, how can I help?
  • Have we placed our hopes and dreams firmly in God’s hands? If not,

can we do that together now?

Lord, You know the desires of our hearts; You know our secret fears, too. But we acknowledge Your unfailing promises and steadfast love. Thank You for being our rock. Tonight we cast our hopes and dreams on You for safekeeping, because we trust You. Amen.

From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson

Night Light for Couples – Healthy Hope


“Faith is being sure of what we hope for.” Hebrews 11:1

Hope based on the realistic expectation that something can or will change is a powerful, positive, driving force. It motivates us to do our best and helps us achieve what may seem impossible to others. But naive hope that’s grounded in wishful thinking can be deeply disappointing and even destructive. I (jcd) know a woman—I’ll call her Martha—who was hurt repeatedly by her father’s lack of interest in her. As long as Martha continued to hope he would change, she suffered a fresh wound whenever he missed an important family event or failed to consider her feelings. I urged Martha to realize that her father was emotionally blind—he was incapable of seeing her needs.

Once she began to accept his “handicap” as permanent, her pain lessened considerably. Your partner’s temperament or experiences may prevent him or her from fully comprehending your feelings and frustrations. My advice is that you change what can be altered, explain what can be understood, teach what can be learned, revise what can be improved, resolve what can be settled, and negotiate what is open to compromise.

Then determine to accept the rest. As you overlook these few “unresolvables” in your relationship, you’ll develop a perspective that brings realistic hope for an honest and satisfying marriage.

Just between us…

  • What kinds of changes do we hope to see in each other? Are our hopes realistic? ‘
  • Would it help our relationship to accept our “unresolvables”?
  • What in our marriage gives you the greatest sense of hope?

Father, thank You that You are “the God of all hope.” Tonight we look to You for help in bringing honest, healing hope to our marriage. Show us what we can change, show us what we should accept, and bless us with hope. Amen.

From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson

Night Light for Couples – Tranquility


“Be at peace with each other.” Mark 9:50

If you don’t protect yourselves from outside stresses, married life can seem more like a marathon than a stroll in the park. With relentless pressure at work, a demanding schedule of carpooling and sports, and the stress of keeping up with home and church duties, moms and dads can begin to lose heart. Then fatigue and irritability set in, angry words are spoken, and soon every member of the family is at one another’s throats.

All of us, especially at the end of pressure‐packed days, need a safe retreat. As a working husband or wife, you need a chance to unwind privately for a while when you first come home. School kids (teenagers, too) need uninterrupted “down time” on a regular basis. No one can keep up a frenetic schedule for long without it affecting his or her attitude.

Jesus told His followers to “be at peace with each other.” If you’re finding hopefulness in short supply in your marriage, maybe it’s time you get off the treadmill of continuous stress. If it’s just the expectations of others that is keeping you on the run, say “no” more often. Take an afternoon off. Get a babysitter so you can have some time to yourself. Set aside quiet time regularly—and guard it. Slow down your mealtimes together. Simplify.

As you make a priority of creating tranquility at home, you’ll feel your heart lifting and hope returning.

Just between us…

  • When you feel overwhelmed by demands, do you ever lose hope?
  • How can we do a better job of protecting each other’s “down time”?
  • How can tranquility at home promote a better spiritual life?

Dear God, forgive us when we allow external demands to dictate the quality of our home life. Give us the foresight and discipline to create a sanctuary of peace and renewal. Amen.

From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson