Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Careful of the Gift You Give to Your Spouse!

posted by Michele Olson
Elizabeth Bernstein writing in the Wall St. Journal has a great article about the problems between couples when one spouse (usually the man) gives a less than welcome gift to the other (usually the woman.)

She goes through many examples of what a man thought was a good gift that left his wife mortified.

Golf stuff…and your wife doesn’t golf.
Heating pads, Listerine, snoring strips and really large flannel nightgowns.
(Everyone, let’s cringe together.)

Obviously, it’s not the thought that counts, but the thoughtlessness.

Or, is it fairer to say, cluelessness?

The guys were thinking it was funny, they were doing something great by buying their wife a new pot to make spaghetti in for them and that their practical side was something their wives appreciated…and that translated into gift giving.

The other problem? Women have the memory of the elephant when it comes to remembering even one bad gift. I’ve been married for over 30 years and I still remember in the first years of our marriage receiving a space heater for an anniversary. The motive was that we had a very cold bathroom which I always complained about. But, my expression to receiving this as a gift on a momentous occasion became a great lesson…don’t do that again! (Gifts have been wonderful ever since.)

The author points out: gift giving is one of the holiday season's unexpected traps: in a season of goodwill toward men, the wrong gift to a woman can strain our marriage bonds. Men may receive less than stellar gifts too, but they don’t seem to care as much.

Finding yourself in the giving or getting end of this article?
Here are some helpful tips:

• When in doubt, go down a size. (In my opinion, unless you know beyond a shadow of a doubt where your spouse shops and exactly what style and taste work for them, don’t give clothes.)

• Never give a gift that suggests your spouse is not perfect. No unsolicited exercise equipment, self-help books, wrinkle cremes or nose-hair removers.

• Appliances and cookware are OK only if she asks for them.

• Don't even think about a gift that you will get more enjoyment out of than your spouse.

• Remember: It's not just the thought that counts—especially if you didn't have that thought until the checkout line.

• When all else fails, at least try to create memories.

Good tips. Do you have a story of what has happened with gift giving in your relationship? Share!


M. Denise Wilmer Barreto said...

This is spot on!

I am blessed - my husband rocks at gifts and especially perceptive to my size and tastes (besides his tastes sometimes exceeds my own for me :)

He is tough to buy for so we've resorted to gift certificates and cards and every now and then we find something he both wants and needs.

Thanks! said...

Yes! Well, you are blessed in the gift department too. If a spouse is in tune, they only make the bad gift experience ONCE! Thanks for blogging!