Once again faced with the daunting task of finding just the right gift for your spouse? It is certainly a challenge after you’ve been together for awhile. How DO you continue to give good gifts in a long term relationship?
PUT EFFORT INTO IT – It is easy to delight our partner with gifts early on in the relationship. As the years accumulate, however, we have to work harder and harder to find a way of expressing our love to our partner through gifts. Don’t expect the perfect gift idea to jump off the shelf at the mall. To know what delights a person’s heart, you must first spend time with them. Listen to them. What do they talk about? Worry about? Delight in? Long for? If you ask your spouse what they want for Christmas and then go get it for them, you basically are saying you are willing to run an errand for them. Effort involves time and thought. (Hint: If you wait until the last minute, the lack of effort will show!)
OVERCOMING PAST FAILURES – We’ve all botched it before. If your gift has ever failed to measure up for your partner on a holiday, now we’ve added ‘fear of disappointing them’ to the pressure of finding the perfect gift. Not only are we trying to delight our partner this year, but we’re trying to make up for past shortfalls. You cannot possibly hit a bull’s-eye on every occasion. Leave the past behind (an honest and sincere apology is always welcomed) and focus on this occasion.
UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU ARE REALLY DOING – A gift shows how much you know and care about a person. We all want to know that we matter, that we are known, and that we are appreciated as part of other people’s lives. Face it, the longer we are with someone, the more complacent we become at showing them that we love and appreciate them throughout the year. This puts more and more pressure on this occasion, this gift, for an expression of how much we love our partner. With that much riding on it, you can see why you need to put some effort into it!
CHANGE YOUR THINKING – Most of us face the gift giving process by looking at what a person needs. Truth is that as we age, we amass more and more of what we need, so there are fewer opportunities for others to fill in the voids. Instead of needs, look at wants, desires, delights, longings. What is their life missing? How can you lighten the burdens they carry? What will ease their pain?
These intangibles will likely mean far more to them than anything that you can purchase at a store. The goal is to touch their heart, not fill their shelves. If you do end up giving them something they need, at least wrap it or present it in a way that is unusual or unexpected!
BE DELIGHTED TO GIVE – I always know when I have hit the mark with gift giving because I am SO excited for the person to receive the gift. There is true joy in giving, if you are doing it with the right spirit. If you are truly delighted to be giving the gifts you are giving, it will show. The love that is in your heart when you give the gift means way more than what is underneath the wrapping paper!