Honestly, I didn’t know this was a thing. But when the call for posts came out for this month and this was listed on April 17, I perked up, because April 17 is our 17th wedding anniversary (happy 17th, Sug!).
Since I’d never heard of this hallowed day before, I tried to do some research to find out its origins. Not surprisingly (to me), there isn’t very much about it. Though I did find one website that said, “Our research did not identify the creator of this special day. From what documentation we have seen, the assumption is that a childless husband or wife created this day.” And I am not gonna lie – that made me laugh and roll my eyes.
But then it hit me between those rolled eyes that, holy cow, it was easier to be more appreciative of “The Professor” (my hubs) before our girls came along. Before different stressors. Before more work. Before I felt less appreciated. When we only had each other to focus on. When we didn’t get lost in all the chaos of the kids.
And while it is nearly impossible to separate the husband from the dad because he’s just “the one who takes care of it all”, I’ve been looking back through the memories of our time together at all the ways he is so great – and all the times I haven’t been as appreciative as I should’ve been. Or at least, all the times I haven’t let him know how appreciative I was.
One of the best ways my husband has shown me how much he cares that I appreciate him so much happened actually just happened recently. We’re (hopefully) on the tail end of a crisis with one of our girls. It’s been scary and sad and exhausting, and seemingly never-ending. My parents were, understandably, so worried about the situation and anxious to see our family, especially her.
I felt so fragile – I was b-a-r-e-l-y keeping it together and our lives needed to be lived; kids in school, kids in sports, house being renovated…life. I didn’t feel like I had the emotional, mental, or physical bandwidth to see them because I was afraid I would come all-the-way apart and I honestly wasn’t sure I’d be able to put myself back together. But I felt terrible and guilty because I knew how hard this situation had been on them too and I wanted to take care of them.
So, one weekend while I was at a volleyball tournament with our other daughter, The Professor took our daughter to go visit my parents. Is that how he would’ve chosen to spend his day? Probably not. But he knew I couldn’t do it and how much that was weighing on me, and how much my parents needed it. He gave my parents and me so much relief with that visit, and he did it so willingly and happily. It wasn’t a big deal to him, but it still fills me with so much gratitude that pours out of my eyes in the shape of tears.
He is the one who takes care of us all.
I asked some friends for stories about their husbands that have really stuck with them through the years and overwhelmed them with appreciation. In no particular order, here are some of the answers.
My friend Jackie shared that her dad NEVER liked a single boyfriend she had growing up and he meant the world to her. So she was freaking out when she introduced him to the man who would become her husband. Years later, while her beloved father was dying of cancer, the family was gathering for his last rites. He’d been in the hospital for four days and unkempt, but wanted to clean up.
“My wonderful husband helped my dad get dressed and cleaned up and carefully shaved him for the sacrament. He told my dad how much he loved him. He tended to his needs at the end of his life, and all unbeknownst to me. It took months for him to tell me about his act of love and service for my dad because it was too emotional for him to talk about, and because he is not the kind of person to need credit for his kindness…the most precious thing he ever did for me was to love my dad as a father, and to be there for him when he needed it the very most.”
“My guy has always been a hands-on dad, but wasn’t much help when it came to the day-to-day duties of running a house. However, after a very long break, we got pregnant with our third, and maybe it was our age – or the fact that he really saw what all went into all that a stay-at-home parent does – he completely changed the way he lived his life. It started because I had a newborn at home and two older kids, but then he just never stopped. Instead of me taking the boys to school, he did. He started working out first thing in the morning, so he could help out more with evening carpools and be available to help with dinner, bath, and bedtime. He really started paying attention to my needs and easy things he could do to make my life easier. Five years later and he loves his morning workouts, he loves his time with the big boys in the morning on the way to school, he loves his evenings of carpools and family time, and I love that he did all that to be a help to me!”
Kristi told this story:
“One year for my birthday, he scheduled an entire day of surprises with a different friend. The kids were little, so I did not get time with girlfriends without kids. So he paid for their entire day. It started with a breakfast with a friend, then a massage with a friend, an exercise class with a friend, then lunch with a friend, then ended with dinner with him. A day of 1:1 time with four different friends and him….when the kids were little….was amazing!”
Amy, who is Greek and Southern Italian, appreciates that her husband is not.
She says there is a lot of eating and yelling, and no one ever concedes if they’re wrong. She says they hold on to every slight, and apologies are rare. During her first argument with her husband,
“…he quietly listened to why I was upset (and did not interrupt, which was a shock), apologized for making me feel bad, and told me he didn’t mean to hurt my feelings. It just melted years of family stuff I didn’t even know I held inside.”
In addition to her husband being a great cook (and the first to start on the dishes!) and always making her laugh, Shelby appreciates her husband’s laid-back nature.
She said they were recently kind of tricked into taking their kids to Great Wolf Lodge. And while that would not be on any list of vacation destinations,
“he embraced the whole experience by riding all of the big slides with the kids, playing laser tag, and generally being 100% engaged. He didn’t complain once, and I love him for that.”
Brooke thinks her husband is great for so many reasons (like doing 90% of the cooking and about 70% of the cleaning).
But what elevates him to superhero status is:
“the fact that he took complete physical care of me (and I mean everything) when I was down from spinal fusion surgery for three months, WHEN WE WERE ONLY ENGAGED.”
“My husband is amazing. The thing I love about him most is how much he loves and supports me. No matter what it is or how long it may take from me doing my duties as a wife and mother, he’s all for it. I have accomplished so much with him as my partner that I know I couldn’t have done without him. I appreciate everything he does for me. And I love everything about him.”
“My hubs is very much a fixer and do-er in the best way. If I say “Hey, we should clean out that bed for some flowers this spring,” he will be out in the yard cleaning it up the next weekend without prompt. He’d probably make a stop at Lowe’s to get the flowers too. I also got into running and was complaining about not having a good place for my phone. He researched solutions, and I had a cool new phone holder (koala clip) made for running delivered within a few weeks. He’s a keeper!”
Melanie told me:
“I love that he makes me coffee, takes the trash bins out to the curb (and back!) every Thursday; will always scratch my back and rub my head before turning over in bed, and has learned to hold me and let me cry without trying to solve the problem.”
Tiffany appreciates that her husband is truly a partner:
“If the dishwasher needs loading or unloading, or pots and pans need to be washed, he will do it without prompting. He just recognizes things need to be done to keep our household running smoothly and does it.”
“My husband will break his back bending over backwards and forward and back again to help me with ANYTHING. He has never once complained about my lack of cooking, even though I’m a SAHM. He recognizes when I’m overwhelmed, and he offers to feeds the kids and us when he gets home (after 12 hours at a labor-intensive job). He does the cat litter boxes, he massages my feet, he’s always the one to put socks on my feet, and he has never once not supported me. Most of all, he tries EVERY DAY to be better for me. He makes me better. He makes me want to be better.”
“My husband is my rock and anchor. He is calm, disciplined and hardworking, and does not get stressed out easily; a perfect antidote to my highly anxious self. Just hugging him or sitting next to him calms me down. He is my sounding board and problem solver. He has always been there to support me, and be there for my mom and sisters as well. I was a very serious person and he taught me how to laugh and he makes me laugh everyday with his wonderful sense of humor. We have always worked as a team. When the kids were little, I would bathe them, he would put their clothes on; I would read to them, while he played soccer with them. He always has my back and loves me and trusts me, and I feel incredibly blessed to have him.”
This “holiday” may be arbitrary, but our appreciation for our husbands should be deliberate. Life gets hectic and exhausting, and we can easily lose focus on what’s important. Today is a great day to think of all the different ways you appreciate your husband – and make sure HE knows!
Also, ladies, sit tight – Wife Appreciation Day is September 19 this year.