The third Saturday in April is often annually observed as National Husband Appreciation Day in the United States. Do we really need a day to remind us to show our husbands that we appreciate them? The busyness of our day-to-day routine lends itself to taking the people closest to us for granted and a failure to express appreciation to them.
If you were to stop and make a list of everything your husband does for you and your family, you may discover that it is quite lengthy. He invests in your family in so many ways such as: working to meet the financial needs of the home, being attentive to your needs as a wife, discipling your child, being the priest of the home, and so much more. Day after day he invests in his family.
So how can you invest in him in return? How can you show him that he is appreciated? One of the most powerful ways to show your appreciation is by looking for daily opportunities to say two little words: “thank you.” It seems so very simple and yet, it is something that is often left unsaid.
It seems far-fetched to think that those two little words could feed a man’s soul and yet, research has borne this out repeatedly. Leading researcher Shaunti Feldhahn discovered, “For men, being appreciated is their equivalent of being loved. It is so easy for us women to never realize the fact that for men, being appreciated is their equivalent of being loved. Saying ‘thank you’ to a guy is like when he says, ‘I love you’ to you.”*
Those two little words do pack a powerful punch and could even change the trajectory of your marriage. So, what does it look like in practical terms? Here are 10 tips to showing appreciation to your husband:
- Pray for him: Pray aloud for your husband, expressing thankfulness for him. My husband always tells me that there is no sweeter sound than to hear me praying aloud with and for him, by name.
- Compliment him: Generic compliments are nice, but they are not nearly as impactful as very specific expressions of appreciation. A generic expression is, “Thank you for being so thoughtful.” A more specific expression may be, “Thank you for being so thoughtful by making the kids’ lunch for school today. It really helped me out and made my morning routine not as rushed.” Your spouse’s heart will be touched if you take the extra step of explaining why you are grateful. For example, you may say, “It was nice of you to take the kids out to play as I was able to spend some quiet time in personal reflection and prayer.”
- Value him: Make a list of all that your husband does for your family. Often, we take the little things for granted and never stop to total them up. Keep this list handy and add to it.
- Tell him: Note the everyday menial tasks that your spouse helps with such as: doing the dishes, taking out the garbage, feeding the baby, or picking up needed groceries. It is far too easy to think that he should be helping; after all, it is his responsibility. Why do you need to say, “thank you” for a task he should be doing? Do not take his efforts for granted. Appreciate the care and thoughtfulness that your husband invests in the day-to-day grunt work.
- “Brag” about him: Voice your thankfulness aloud in front of the children. This has multiple blessings as you are also modeling an important relationship aspect of marriage to your children. Seeing this honest appreciation flowing from you to their father gives them an extra sense of security.
- Encourage him: Express appreciation for their time and thoughtfulness, not only the results. Sometimes things do not go as we hope, and a great deal of effort is put into something that may seem like a failure. Take these opportunities to express thankfulness for effort and hard work.
- Write him: Write a thoughtful letter. We rely too much on quick text messages these days — sitting down and taking the time to write a hand-written letter of appreciation to your husband can mean so much.
- Remind him: Let him know how important he is to your success. Count your blessings and accomplishments in life and have a conversation with your husband about the impact he has had in the way your life has unfolded. Whether it may be your career, academic pursuits, parenting, community work, or spiritual growth, express appreciation for how your husband has contributed to the achievement of your goals.
- Reward him: Plan a special date or get-a-way. No phone, no laptop, and no computer or other technology devise is allowed. Set aside quality time to tell him face to face what he means to you and in what specific way you appreciate him.
Expressions of gratitude benefit both husband and wife in the relationship — the recipient and the giver. When you give appreciation, you receive so much more in return. Giving your husband the gift of appreciation creates a win-win situation for your family that should be experienced every day of the year, and not reserved for an annual event on the calendar.
*Feldhahn, S. (2021). The two words your husband really needs to hear. Downloaded from: https://shaunti.com/2019/03/the-two-words-your-husband-really-needs-to-hear-thank-you/.
— Pamela Consuegra, Ph.D., is associate director for Family Ministries of the North American Division. She and her husband, Claudio, serve as ministry directors — look for Claudio’s article celebrating Wife Appreciation Day in September.