Post # 1
My husband and I have a bad dynamic about gift-giving. He is always afraid of disappointing me and that gets him stressed and he just wants to have me tell him what to get me. Sometimes I’ve done that when I’ve had an idea of something I do want. But sometimes I don’t know what I want, or I know that the things I do want are unrealistic and out of reach. I would like to have a surprise every once in a while, too, though. I’d like to know what he would give me if the idea came purely from him with no influence from me. I want him to be creative and come up with something on his own. That to me is romantic. Sometimes when I don’t give him guidance he just does nothing, like he did for Valentine’s day (which was also our 10-year dating anniversary). Now Mother’s Day and a big birthday is coming up. I’m really going to be upset if he lets me down again. It’s actually making me anxious too, anticipating him not being able to handle doing something nice for me and the fight we’ll have if he can’t get something together. This dynamic makes me feel like the fact that I would like my husband to give me a gift a couple times a year means I have some silly childish unrealistic romantic dreams that no one could ever fill, and he’s right to resent it. The flip side of that is that I end up feeling like he doesn’t care enough to do anything at all, because that has happened before, but maybe partly because of this dynamic. I want him to just assure me, ‘I have this birthday of yours under control, and you will love it.’ I don’t want to feel like I’m asking too much of him, but he always makes me feel like I am, unless I just tell him some specific present I want.
Do you ladies have any issues with gift exchanges with husbands or fiances? How do you communicate well about gifts?
Post # 2
marjojo: Try reading the 5 love languages. Obviously yours is gifts. You feel loved and think it is romantic. His love language maybe something else like quality time or verbal affirmation.
Knowing and understanding each others love languages can really help you. You’ll be able to communicate your expectations and understand his language as well so you can reciprocate.
Post # 3
marjojo: Some guys just can’t pick out gifts.
SO was a total gift card guy. His whole family usually is done in a 10 minute visit to a grocery store. They are very generous gift cards and to places they like but… i made it pretty clear that gift cards were not going to work lol. He gets pretty stressed about it because he says I am so good at gift giving.
Usually i will wander around the mall or just while we are out places and pick out some items i like. He will go back in later and pick and choose what he wants to get me – that way it is still a surprise! You could give him pretty direct answers, but leave the details up to him. You could say I would like to take a weekend getaway – and leave the travel plans to him.
Post # 4
My FI is just awful at picking out gifts. If I told him to aim for $100 (I usually have his gift purchased wll in advance so I can give him a pricepoint to aim for) then I am going to get a bunch of small dissapointments instead of a nice present.
A couple of years ago I started just telling him what I wanted. One Christmas I printed out a necklace on sale that I would adore having, the next year there was this collectable doll I’ve been hunting for years up for auction, for my birthday there was a very specific book I wanted…
It does end up taking the surprise element out but I feel it is just as romantic. Nothing makes me happier than knowing he is willing to get me something that I really want and is much more romantic than opening up something and trying to hide the look on my face.
Post # 5
marjojo: We’ve actually had the opposite argument. I want to tell him exactly what to get me and he wants to do it himself. I guess we try to focus more on “us” gifts than individual gifts right now.
Post # 6
If I could think of something I want this time, I would just tell him. It has made things a lot easier and nicer on the holidays when we did that. I don’t want a surprise every time, just every once in a while. If I have to come up with my own present all the time, it feels like I’m doing all the work.
I’ve read the Love Languages. Since my language is gifts, doesn’t that mean he has to give me gifts to make me feel loved? That’s on him. It’s his job to figure out how to love me the way I need to be loved. It goes two ways.
Maybe the question is how to present how I feel in a way that doesn’t make me feel like a demanding b**** and make him shut down.
Post # 7
marjojo: You married the man you married. You cannot turn him into someone else. You can choose if you want to make this a big deal that comes between you, or if you accept him and love him for who he is.
If you have to present him with a list, so be it. He can choose something from he list. That will be the extent of your surprise.
Understanding the love languages works both ways. You need to identify and accept the ways he shows love.
Post # 8
You probably won’t like my idea, but I’ll just tell you what DH and I do that totally took the expectation and anxiety out of gift giving.
For the normal “expected” gift giving events, we don’t get eachother anything. We lump all of those gifts into one big gift to ourselves for the year (usually a really nice trip). In all honestly, we both work, and if we want something, we just buy it for ourselves. If we had to buy eachother 5+ gifts/year (holidays, valentines, birthday, anniversary…etc), we would probably just end up with a lot of crap we really don’t need.
However, if we see something anytime throughout the year that we think the other person would like, or if they mention something and we remember it, we’ll buy it “just because.” This really reinforces the love and thoughtfulness because we didn’t buy it because we “had to” for some halmark holiday, they were genuinely thinking about the person and thought it would make them happy.
Probably not what you want to hear, but it’s worked really, really well for us!
Post # 9
marjojo: It goes two ways in that he has to understand that gifts are how you feel loved (maybe have him read the book) and you have to understand that gifts are not how he shows love. So yes he should try, but you should also cut him slack, help him out, and not put pressure on him. It’s obvious that he does love and care about you because he feels bad when he disappoints you.
Maybe you can come up with a list of general things you like and like to do – some sort of guideline to help him out. Do you have a favorite store or website that you could direct him too? What about hobbies? Maybe a good friend that can help him out. He probably just needs a starting place a bit of direction.
The other thing is that you should probably adjust your expectations and understand that he will never be a super awesome gift giver.
Post # 10
I second playdohpants‘ recommendation that you read the Five Love Languages and then read it with your husband as well. The truth is you’re right on both accounts: it IS childish to expect him to “read your mind” or “be creative” (when he’s not naturally a creative gift giver). It’s seriously an obsolete psychological remnant from when we were pre-verbal children and we felt very “loved” by our parents when they’d anticipate our needs and fulfill them. Part of growing up and being an adult IS learning to express our wants and needs WO feeling resentful over the fact that we DO have to express our wants and needs. Heck we are RESPONSIBLE for expressing them.
Having said that, it IS nice and romantic when your partner gives you something just for the heck of it (I’m a gift language person too!). Sooo read the book with him so he has a better idea of what you need then work on Not feeling resentful so you ease the pressure off of him. On a practical side, here’s what I do with my adorably awful gift giver husband (read: he gave me COMICS on my first birthday that we were together. Lol. Once I got over the horror the horror! of it and read them I loved them btw): keep an amazon wish list, create Pinterest boards for gifts you’d like, have etsy favorites. Then agree with him that he can look over those freely and choose something from there so you’ll 1) ensure that you like the gift and 2) be surprised at WHAT he gets and when. Also, I told my husband that I wanted flowers on the 11th of every month (yep we were married on an 11th) but he can pick out whatever he wants. It works well for us. 🙂 good luck!
Post # 11
I am very clear and direct with my expectations with this kind of stuff- they cant read minds! And it hurts everyone to be dissapointed on what should be a good day!
Seriously I say, “It is important for me to get flowers on vday” or if he asks for hints, I give them.
Post # 12
I made a pinterest board and sent the link to my gift-challenged boyfriend. When I’m online shopping or see something I like, I pin it. He now knows to check this whenever a birthday/holiday/gift occasion is coming up, and we don’t even have to have an awkward “well, what do you want” conversation. And half the time I forget about stuff I’ve pinned, so it’s still a fun surprise to get earrings or I book I wanted.
Post # 13
kellykapoor: This is my strategy too! even my mom has a link to it (though since it doesn’t update like a normal registry I did end up with duplicates one christmas)
I like that since its pictures people can go out and buy something similar (ie if I pin purple gem stone earrings he has an idea of what I want and can go find a pair that fit his vision too)
plus I just add to it as I see things so its not a big fight about it when its close to the occassion…
unfortuantely this still hasn’t solved DH tendency to buy the gift about 36 hrs before christmas and spend most of christmas eve waiting for fed ex & sweating it out
Post # 14
This is so me in my relationship! I always apologize to my husband and he doesnt really mind thankfully. He usually gives me a list of things and I pick from there. We have been together 3 years and his bday present this week is only the second thing I have picked out without his input! And even so I asked him first if he wanted that or something else lol. Some people just suck at gifts! I hope he comes through for you this year. I hear the love languages book is great, maybe that can help you guys communicate better about it and help him understand why it’s so important to you.
Post # 15
marjojo: My FI has never given me a gift which I didn’t pick or hint at and I’ve always known what I’m getting before the day. He is terrible at keeping secrets and will try, but end up hinting to me so much that I end up knowing what it is. He also has no idea ever what to get me, even with subtle hints and will not get me anything if I don’t be specific. He has asked me before if I will just go shopping with our cash to get something for myself and that can be his gift to me.
It’s not that he loves me any less, just that he’s awful at gift giving which lots of guys are. He doesn’t attach romantic thinking to it. Maybe give him a $50 or some other small amount and say to him it means a lot to me if you could just pick up something small for me with this cash that reminds you of me? Maybe that will seem less overwhelming.
Gifts are important to me too, but I’ve gotten around it by choosing or buying my own present, and leave FI up to do something thoughtful for me. Last time it was completing bombing the bathroom with candles and running me a spa bath and playing some nice music for me. He doesn’t find that so intimidating as he just runs to the cliques but it still makes me feel that he’s put thought into whatever celebration it is.