January, compared to the months surrounding it, seems to be missing something that I can’t quite put my finger on. We have the December holidays, where at every turn, there’s an opportunity to be kind to one another, do good deeds and spoil our favorite people. Then there’s Valentine’s Day in February, when we get to do it all over again. Between all the flowers, candy and dinner reservations, there’s no doubting that your spouse loves and appreciates you. But where is the opportunity to spread the love in January?

Luckily, calendar printers, greeting card people, florists and chocolatiers of the world huddled up, and National Spouses Day was born on January 26.

What is National Spouses Day?
National Spouses Day is all about expressing how much you love and appreciate your spouse – without having to budget more money for gifts. It is intended to be more about time and attention, so you can save the splurging for the holidays and focus solely on spending the day with your spouse. A designated day of time and attention for your spouse sounds wonderful, in theory. Put the phones down, turn off the television and make plans together to do absolutely nothing except enjoy each other’s company. But what happens when National Spouses Day is over? Do you wake up January 27 and go back to the way things were on January 25?

If you’re saving all the time and attention for just one out of 365 days, then you might be missing out on one of the most special parts of your relationship. Time and attention happen every day in a marriage, often in the subtlest of ways, but it takes effort – especially in those early years when you’re still figuring each other out (and wondering why you even registered for a hamper when your spouse seems to only throw dirty clothes on the floor).

The Military Clause
If those hamper-adjacent clothes are PT gear, cammies, or flight suits, you get that one more celebration on the calendar is just potential for another significant day spent apart thanks to training, duty or deployment.

Military spouses and service members also understand (arguably more than any other audience) the need to show every day that their husbands and wives are loved and appreciated, especially because so much of this life is uncertain. Schedules slide to the right. Things pop up unexpectedly. And unfortunately, the unthinkable can happen.

Because of this, we know better than to save our appreciation for a single day in January. When you love someone, you tell them. You show them. You don’t wait, you don’t pause. Though it doesn’t always come with long-stem roses, diamonds or swanky restaurants, spouse love is unfailing and real. The hugs are sometimes rushed in the morning. We regularly mutter less than lovely things under our breath while we pick up their slack (or laundry or dishes), but we know we wouldn’t do that for anyone else. Sometimes emotions arrive via text, email or a care package. But, they are there any and every day possible.

So, if you’re reading this and looking across the room at your spouse – or daydreaming of that picture-perfect homecoming – make the plan, send the text or make the call. Cuddle more, talk longer, give more time to each other and less to social media. Play a board game. Take a trip. Help and encourage each other, and do it every day, the best you can. Because you don’t need a designated National Spouses Day to show them you care; it isn’t worth the wait.