I wasn’t aware that there was such a thing as Husband Appreciation Day. This year it’s April 17. I did some research and sure enough it’s official. There are even numerous articles advising wives how to make the day memorable (read: sexy lingerie). But take it from someone in a long-term marriage, sex and a special day of honor each year isn’t enough appreciation.
Long before marriage books like Love and Respect or The 5 Love Languages were written, I was given my best pre-marital advisor by my Grandma Gracie. By the time I was a teen, she was questioning my dating choices. She observed some of my annoying habits, and gently reminded me that someday someone was going to share my home, and if I wanted it to be loving home, then I needed to curb my sarcasm and offer encouraging words instead.
For a bit of perspective, Gracie and her sweetheart, Don, eloped secretly so she could finish nursing school (nurses had to be single). Their Great Depression marriage involved sacrifice. But Gracie always said, just because you have less, don’t make your man feel less. Always remember that having one another matters most.
Long before a national day of recognition for husbands was created, Gracie had set aside four absolutes — and they involved something weekly, monthly, yearly, and perhaps hardest of all, daily.
Once-a-week they’d take a lover’s stroll. Living in the city, they enjoyed going to the lush green lawns of the park. Tall trees shaded their path, and they always held hands.
Once-a-month Gracie fixed a special dinner. She’d save a little from each week’s food budget, so on that evening, they could have a meal worth remembering. She lit candles and found ways to make their tiny kitchen seem like an expensive restaurant.
Once-a-year, on their anniversary, they would write one another a love note. Gracie saved every one. Gifts for one another were not part of their early years together, but those love notes were the real reminders of their commitment. By the time I was ready to get married, Gracie said she had written Don 49 anniversary notes, and it was a worthy habit for me to do, too.
But it was never the weekly walks, or monthly meal night, or even the anniversary notes that made their marriage work. It was what she did each day.
Every day of her marriage she made sure Don felt loved and appreciated. Gracie asked me, “How does someone know, unless you do something?” It might be the routine things like clean clothes. But it was also a kind word at the right time. “Remember, always do something sweet each day.”
I can see why the light dimmed in my grandpa when Gracie died. He’d lived with that loving kindness for most of his life. He had memories of her, but no more of her daily sweetness.
So even though Husband Appreciation Day is a modern celebration, Gracie would advise us to do some old-fashioned pampering once a week, once a month, once a year, and certainly every day, because our husbands are worth it.
Karen Farris saw the need to help underserved kids while serving in a youth ministry that gave her the opportunity to visit rural schools on the Olympic Peninsula. She now volunteers her time grant writing to bring resources to kids in need. She also shares stories of faith in action for those needing a dose of hope on her weekly blog, Friday Tidings.www.fridaytidings.com