National Wife Appreciation Day, celebrated on the third Sunday of September (September 20), gives those of us (men, women, trans, fluid, etc.) who are lucky enough to have wives an extra chance to show them how much they mean to us. Our wives keep us grounded and centered. They inspire us to work hard, play hard, and to always have something to bring to the table to show that we’re improving ourselves. Wives ask us to take out the trash and empty the dishwasher and change the oil (stereotypical but true), which is good with us because those things need to get done anyway, and we like the idea of our ladies having that extra fifteen minutes or half-hour to just be in their space. These women that we’re bound to, body and soul, are so many things to so many people: their spouses, naturally — but also the kids (if they have them), the in-laws (which they almost certainly have), and, if we’re right about how generally awesome they are, everyone they interact with on a daily basis, in ways large and small. And of course, this holiday is especially important for wives who may feel left out on Mother’s Day.
History of Wife Appreciation Day
The historical research on National Wife Appreciation Day is scant indeed, but 2006 is accepted as the first year the holiday officially “went on the books.” That is, it isn’t yet recognized as a U.S. government holiday, but rather, in 2006 it became widely acknowledged and celebrated by couples country and worldwide.
We don’t know what specifically about 2006 caused the “spark that lit the fire.” However, that happened to be the year former Beatle Paul McCartney separated from his wife Heather Mills, a fact that may be notable because the legal rift was opened between them only three days after Mother’s Day that spring. Could the songsmith have bungled his wife’s expectations as a mom so badly that she wanted to live apart, only 72 hours after whatever blow-up happened? And if so, could McCartney have used his juggernaut-like influence in pop culture to help engineer a second chance that same fall, by getting the right eyes on the right proposals for a Wife Appreciation Day?
Well, even if our theoretical rationale is correct, the holiday has ironically turned out to be a gift to everyone but McCartney and Mills, as the couple’s divorce was finalized in 2008. We see it all as a cautionary tale: never miss an opportunity to be demonstrative with your affections, to your whole family, yes, but on National Wife Appreciation Day, to her, your one-and-only.
Wife Appreciation Day timeline
Courtesy of “The Great Communicator”
Honoring the commitment and readiness of military families, then-President Ronald Reagan institutes Military Spouse Day as the Friday preceding Mother’s Day each year.
After a long, arduous battle
The women’s suffrage movement beats seemingly insurmountable odds (against not only fathers and brothers but also husbands in many cases), and gains the right of women to vote in local, state and federal elections, an achievement that required a Constitutional amendment, the 19th.
It’s not easy to beat government
The U.S. Congress finally relents to the efforts of Anna Jarvis on behalf of all women, especially women like her mother Ann, a Civil-War non-combatant hero, and establishes Mother’s Day, a precursor to today’s National Wife Appreciation Day.
- 269 A.D.
“A head” of his time?
The priest Valentine of Rome is martyred, one of a few different men named Valentine whose names are to become reference points for (St.) Valentine’s Day, with Valentine of Rome’s flower-crowned skull still exhibited in the Basilica.
Wife Appreciation Day FAQs
What should I give my wife on National Wife Appreciation Day?
Well, there’s always the traditional chocolates, flowers and cards (with maybe a gift card inside). But pay attention, because we know more than one wife who has come to consider such “generic” gifts a signal that you don’t really know her. So we recommend really putting some thought into it, before you pull the wallet out. What, to her, has special meaning? What are her rarely-talked-about loves? Yes, a case for her phone would be cool, but who is she, and who is she to you? Get her a gift that speaks to these things, and you’re aces.
I work weekends and I can’t get that Sunday off. What do I do?
It’s perfectly reasonable to celebrate on another day that you both agree upon. But what’s better, in our opinion, is to surprise her by springing the whole thing early, rather than late. That way she won’t have to worry whether you’ll remember the rescheduled National Wife Appreciation Day celebration you agreed on for after the official date. Relief is a good soil to harvest smiles from.
Should I tell our kids they need to shop for their mom too?
We find it best to feed their minds with an explanation that National Wife Appreciation Day is just for the two of you, and on Mother’s Day the whole family will once again shop at the mall or go out to eat or whatever, but that this day is just for you and her. You could plant hints, in a nice way, that one day they’ll have their own spouses and children, so right now they can do kid stuff with no worries. You may actually want to hire a sitter, if you know what we mean. There’s an old saying, “Happy wife, happy life.”
Wife Appreciation Day Activities
Arrange a spa day
It's a rare wife who isn't up for a little pampering from time to time. So schedule a spa day for her on or around National Wife Appreciation Day, and let her get some much-needed attention.
Spread the good news
The “socials” make it easy to share information, so be sure to send out a few tweets, or post on Facebook telling the world how much you appreciate your wife. Use the hashtag #WifeAppreciationDay, too!
Do all the chores
Yes, we know both partners do a lot around the house. But today for your wife, you can do even more. How about giving her a day off where she doesn’t have to lift a finger, no matter what task needs taking care of. Bite the bullet. She’ll love you for it.
FIVE “WIVE’S TALES”
There are fewer wives today
The marriage rate in the U.S. has plummeted. Once, 72 percent of Americans got married. Today, that number is down to 50 percent.
Two are better than one
There are an estimated 252,000 same-sex married couples in the U.S. And support for gay marriage continues to increase.
Everyone loves a royal wedding
Except maybe King Solomon’s friends. According to the Bible, he married 700 wives.
“Don’t call me little lady!”
America's 16th president, Abraham Lincoln, stood 6-foot-4. His wife, Mary? She was just 5-foot-2.
Why We Love Wife Appreciation Day
We adore them
Our wives amaze us. They are our calm in the eye of the storm, and we know life can get stormy. When we think about it we get a little wistful, so let us just say we're super grateful that they care so much about us.
Wives don’t get enough credit
Many of the amazing things our wives do every day go unrecognized. That's partially because wives are often expected to do them without drawing attention to how much work may be involved. Well, we're here to say that we do appreciate those things, and want to show it.
It’s a special kind of day off
National Wife Appreciation Day can be a nice surprise if we let our wives know that Sunday morning that they don't have to do a single thing all day.
Wife Appreciation Day dates