Having worked in the hospitality sector for most of my adult life, every second Sunday of May was a red letter, all-hands-on-deck kind of day. There wasn’t time for a meal with my wife or even time to give her flowers. It was always crazy busy, as Charles Barkley says, GUARANTEEEEED!

But when we moved to Vancouver, a different pace emerged. Sundays became a day of rest, where we could go to church unrushed and enjoy a leisurely lunch without needing to race off to work. That’s when Mother’s Day became more of a celebration. As my young adult kids learned the joy of cooking, they would plan and execute elaborate meals for their mom.

While I was the collateral beneficiary of these cooking episodes, I started to ponder how I could better appreciate my wife on Mother’s Day.

1. Be Sensitive

Not everyone has had a good relationship with their own mother, and having a whole day set aside to celebrate moms could bring to the surface unresolved hurt and heartache in your wife. A lingering illness or recent death could also trigger painful memories, or you and your wife may be experiencing infertility.

If your wife has experienced grief or trauma, take extra care to ensure she feels seen and heard especially on Mother’s Day. Acknowledge that this may be a difficult day for her and allow her the time and space to be sad. If memories triggered by the holiday bring tears, sit with her. Sometimes empathy brings tears to us as well — share this with her, don’t try to be strong all the time. Showing the tender parts of our heart helps in building emotional intimacy with each other.

2. Be Creative

Not everyone is going to be like my wife Jeaneth, who was brought to tears (true story) when I gave her a vacuum. Happy tears, I might add, lest I stand accused of being an insensitive brute of a husband. 

But you get my drift. Show affection in the love language she appreciates the most. If you don’t know what she likes, ask her — before Mother’s Day! Write her a love letter, plan an elaborate date, buy something that she really, really wants, give her an hour-long massage (with no hidden agenda) or do a chore that you’ve put off for ages. When you know how your wife best receives love, it takes the guessing game out of it and allows for stronger and deeper connection.

3. Be Supportive

Loving your wife on Mother’s Day should be an extension of how you regularly show love to her. How are you supporting her the other 364 days of the year? 

Regardless of your children’s ages, we will never stop being Mom and Dad to them. Parenting as a team is a great way to affirm and support your wife. I avoid contradicting her in front of the children and discuss my opinions with her in private. To avoid the “good cop/bad cop” roles, my default response is, “Mom and I will discuss it” instead of, “Ask Mom.” 

Household chores are another area of opportunity. Think about some of the things that she regularly does around the house, and commit to adding another chore to your list. Not just this once, but from now on!

The more I reflect on our 28 years together, the more I realize how much Jeaneth brings to our family. We’re vastly different people — her commitment to orderliness and sanitation is on another level (I will not mention mine). Her high level numeracy skills and love for accounting is a godsend to someone like me whose vision blurs and brain ceases to function at the sight of a spreadsheet. 

And yet she constantly makes me laugh, whether it’s through doing a silly dance in the kitchen or singing a single line from a song she’s heard on the radio over and over again without knowing the name or artist responsible for the music! My kids tell me, “Mom is way funnier than you, Dad.” And that is true. She puts a smile on my face. Without even trying. 

We’re better together. She’s God’s gift to me and it’s my joy and privilege to love His daughter well.