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What’s the best gift to give your wife? What’s the best present to give your husband?

When you give a great gift to your spouse, you’ll improve your marriage.

“You got me the wrong size. Again. Do you see me at all?” This is not the response you want from your spouse.

“What are you trying to say with this BBQ? Cook for me? I hate BBQing! You’re giving me a BBQ because you want one, not because you care about me.” How do you differentiate a gift for your home vs a gift for your spouse?

Present exchanges can be stressful in any relationship, but marriage ups the stakes. Because we attach meaning to presents, and because we hope for a meaningful marriage, present exchanges are loaded with symbolism. How do you give a gift that lets your spouse know you love them?


Give your spouse what they won’t give themself

My mother was a quilter. She sewed all the time. She was also frugal, never wasting a scrap of fabric. Every sewing class she took, the instructor stressed the need to change the needle frequently, but needles for her machine were expensive so she didn’t change the needle until it broke.

My step-father bought her a stack of needles so big she couldn’t possibly run out. He wanted her to have a pleasant experience doing the thing she loved, so he gave her two lifetimes worth of needles.

We all withhold something from ourselves. Find that thing in the life of your spouse and flood them with gifts of that item. Your spouse will feel bathed in abundance.

Now that she couldn’t possibly use all the needles she had, my mother’s psyche switched. She wasn’t stingy about needles. She was free from broken needles as she sewed. This ease was contagious and her disposition was gentler over all.

Give your spouse the ordinary things they won’t give to themself and your presents will open their heart. Gift ideas can include a tool, something to eat, or something that nurtures.

Your spouse gives you clues about what they feel they don’t deserve. Here’s a list.

Nurture feelings of unworthiness. Listen for these cues from your spouse.

  • “I shouldn’t spend so much on myself.”
  • “I don’t deserve that.”
  • “Its too expensive.”

When you hear these phrases, you’ve found something your spouse wants but won’t let themself have. These items make great gifts. Repeat often and with abundance.

Try this:

Tune into the phrases your spouse uses that essentially say, “I’m not worth that.”

Identify the item that’s out of reach.

Buy that item in as large of quantities as you can. Repeat frequently.

Give a gift that celebrates your spouse’s idiosyncrasies

If I use a wooden handled spatula that has gone through the dishwasher, I get the heebie-jeebies. The only fix is to click my tongue against my lower lip as I shiver. I look and sound ridiculous and my husband always laughs.

No flower arrangement could make me as happy as the bouquet of spatulas I was given. When you notice your spouse’s quirks and give them a present that winks at their oddities, you’re saying I love you even when you’re weird.

Your spouse will feel seen and adored when you give them a gift that celebrates their unique disposition.

Give a gift that celebrates a quirk

  • If your spouse is always correcting the way you load a new roll of toilet paper, hide the gift of a paper heart deep inside a roll of TP.
  • If your spouse sorts all the M&M’s into rainbow order before eating them, give them a gift of tiny colored bowls to make the sorting more fun.
  • If your spouse is clumsy in the kitchen while chopping, give them a box of cute bandaids.

Try this:

Think of something that’s unique to your spouse: a habit, a preference, or a philosophy.

What gift could you give your spouse that would wink at that quirk?

Keep a gift giving list/stash for your spouse

Sometimes you’ll hear your spouse mention a book they want, or a pair of gloves. You tuck that information into your brain, Oh, that would make a nice gift. I should remember that.

But you don’t remember.

Like any busy person, when a present-worthy occasion arrives, your mind is blank.

Do your future self—and your spouse’s future self—a favor. Keep a list. Or a stash.

The list is a great option if you circle back to lists that you make. But be honest, if you found a great spot to keep a list of things your spouse would find delightful, would you look at it?

If the answer is no, then go with the stash method. (We understand. Lists are great for making, but many of us never look at them again.)

Tips for making—and using—a list of gifts to give your spouse:

  • Put the list somewhere you can always access it: the cloud, your bag, your phone.
  • Make it user friendly: collect links to gifts, or note the store where your spouse saw the gift so you can circle back.
  • Schedule a reminder on your calendar to consult the list 1-2 weeks before present-giving occasions.

 Create a secret stash:

  • Create a hiding place where gifts can be stored. Get gifts as they occur to you.  Then pull out a gift spontaneously and your spouse will think you’re fabulous.
  • The key to this method is making the decision to locate your spot. Avoid the I’ll remember where I put this trap. Mindfully pick a spot and title it My Secret Spouse Stash.
  • When you use your Secret Spouse Stash, you’ll wake up your brain to the question, What’s a sweet gift I could give? By locating a dedicated spot, your brain will find more ideas for great gifts.

Try this:

Decide now. List or stash?

What’s the best place to keep your list where you can always use it? Where’s the best place to keep your stash so you’ll remember?

Create your list now. Or create your Secret Spouse Stash now.

Let’s review these 3 great gift giving strategies

Turn unworthiness into abundance: Notice the items where your spouse feels unworthy. Give those items in abundance.

Idiosyncrasies make fun gift ideas because they’re personal and they say I love you when you’re weird. 

Collect a list or stash. Then, when an idea occurs to you, you can take action instead of saying, I’ll remember later.  

What’s the best gift you’ve received from your spouse? What’s the best gift you’ve given? Do you feel more intimacy in your marriage because of gift exchanges?

Want to stop arguing and start connecting with your spouse? This FREE e-course will offer you habits to improve your marriage communication so you can smile more and fight less. Sign up to improve marriage communication.

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