Flowers, a beautiful card, a fancy restaurant. While these traditional Mother’s Day gifts are all very appropriate, I’d like to suggest other ways that men can go the extra mile to show love and respect for their wives this Mother’s Day — and every day.
As men, God has called us to be leaders, providers and protectors of our marriages and families. Let us resolve to live out these roles in a loving and consistent manner.
Leader. As husbands and fathers, we must lead by service to our families. Pope Francis has set for us an example. Speaking of the “power” of his office during his inauguration Mass homily, the Holy Father said, “Let us never forget that authentic power is service.” For us fathers, this means showing our wives how much we love them each day. Don’t take it for granted that she knows how you feel; take the lead by scheduling date nights, picking up groceries or dry cleaning on the way home, and looking for ways to help without being asked. In doing these things, men also become good role models for their children. If a man treats his wife with love and respect, his children will do the same.
Provider. If a man provides his family’s primary income, his obligation doesn’t end with paying the bills. There are other needs that a husband must provide for, such as his wife’s emotional well-being. Women typically work many more hours taking care of the family than men do. A woman may work outside the home and then come home to cleaning, cooking, laundry and children. Men must make an effort to share the load.
You can also provide for your wife’s emotional well-being by giving her some time away from the children each week. Take the kids out for a few hours on Saturday to give mom a few hours of peace and quiet. Your wife can relax, read, take a bath or go to the gym. Giving her time each week to collect her sanity will contribute greatly to harmony in the home.
Protector. In today’s world, where there are many attacks against marriage, family and women, men must also be strong protectors. Protecting your wife means ensuring that no one treats her with disrespect, including you and your children. You must always view yourself as her “knight in shining armor.” If anyone speaks disparagingly of her, you defend her. If one of your kids acts defiantly toward her, you’re there to correct.
One of the greatest attacks against women today is pornography and a culture that over-sexualizes women. Men need to let their wives know how cherished they are, especially in a world where immodest sexual images abound. This means letting your wife know that you “only have eyes for her.” You can also protect your wife by avoiding pornography at all costs and ensuring that no inappropriate media ever enters the home. By teaching your sons about the dangers of pornography, you are protecting them from objectifying and using women. When a woman feels safe and protected by her husband, she naturally feels loved and respected.
In addition to being a great role model for your children, being involved in their lives is a wonderful way to show how much you love your wife. In essence, you’re saying, “I love you so much that I’m not only caring for you, but also for the ones you brought into the world.”
Tangibly showing your wife how much you love her speaks louder than words ever could. When a man embraces his God-given call to be a leader, provider and protector of his marriage and family, his wife will never doubt his love and respect for her.
So this Mother’s Day, buy your wife flowers, find the right card, remember the name of her favorite restaurant — and make reservations! Then find ways to show her you love her every day through your words, thoughtfulness and actions. She’ll never forget it.
Peter C. Kleponis, Ph.D., is a licensed clinical therapist specializing in marriage and family issues, in West Conshohocken, Pa.