Wedding season is upon us, which means many of our anniversaries are approaching. I’ve been hearing some funny or not-so-funny horror stories of husbands’ gifts to their wives lately. So, as a courtesy, I just wanted to share a few warnings of what NOT to buy your wife for your anniversary, Valentine’s or other romantic holidays you celebrate.
Particularly if your spouse’s love language is gift giving, the present you choose may be seen as an expression of how you value him or her. In our culture, women tend to value romantic gifts from their husbands.
1. Anything related to your wife’s weight. One friend bought his wife a digital scale with a fat measurement tool. In his defense, his wife had been talking about getting one. However, she was not impressed with the unromantic gesture. The same goes for workout tapes, weights, and even gym memberships. Women are just too body conscious in this country, and a gift from their husband suggesting they need to get in shape can bring out her insecurities.
2. Any appliance. If your wife needs a new vacuum, please help her pick one out. But not for her anniversary! Again, this is not a good expression of your love and appreciation. Crock pots, washers/dryers, and anything else that is needed to run your home falls into the same category. I suppose a possible exception would be if she tells you what she really, really wants for her anniversary is a gourmet coffee maker, or something like that.
3. An empty box, a piece of coal or other “joke” gifts. Seriously, I’ve heard of men doing this. They all have their reasons why it was funny to them, but trust me: Don’t.
4. Skip it. If your wife says to skip the gifts this year, because you’re saving for a deck or home improvement, you can only half believe her. I’ve heard some wives or fiancées say this but not mean it. (I am a fan of honesty, since men can’t be expected to read minds.) A small, romantic gesture is much preferred over just skipping the event. Just tell her you couldn’t let the day pass without reminding her how much she means to you.
5. Something you can’t afford. If you’re in debt or have upcoming financial obligations, there’s no reason to spend too much to show your love. Debt causes marital stress, increased arguments, and can lead to breakups.
Keeping the above list of no no’s will keep you out of the dog house most of the time. A few top gift suggestions for any occasion include:
1. A love letter. Find tips here on how to write a love letter. It’s a free gift, and most appreciated.
2. Send flowers or a treat. I recently received chocolate covered strawberries for my birthday and loved it. If you send flowers, know her favorites. If she works in an office, send it there with a sweet note to put on her desk.
3. Jewelry. This can be anything from costume jewelry to fine jewelry, and you can meet any budget. Be sure to check her style and perhaps ask her friends if she would enjoy what you’re considering.
4. Pampering. You can splurge for spa certificates, or you can make up a coupon book offering your own massages or special services, a day to herself, or other activity she enjoys.
5. Cards or notes. Leave notes around the house for her to find. One friend was going to be out of town on his first anniversary, so he had friends go to his house each day of the week to hide a love note for his wife to find. The great thing about writing a poem or note is it truly means speaking from your heart, and your spouse will really appreciate this.
6. Travel or getaways. One of my favorite gift ideas is to secretly plan a get-away (including babysitting if needed). It can be for one night or a week away, depending on availability and budget. Consider it an investment in your relationship. While you’re together try not to let cell phones and other technology get in the way of your sharing time.
7. Ask, or listen. Your spouse may be giving you hints or telling you what he or she would like.
8. Create a romantic tradition for renewing your wedding vows. See anniversary traditions inspired by celebrities.
9. If she enjoys sexy lingerie or perfume, by all means, indulge. But be sensitive to her preferences.
Have you ever given a gift you regretted, or received a gift you couldn’t believe your spouse gave you? Share your experience, so others can avoid the same mistakes.