Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. Or, as I like to call it, that special day of the year when countless women will be pining away for the perfect gift, only to end up bitter and disappointed when it fails to meet their sky-high expectations.
Isn’t there a better way?
Still others may just be hoping for a morning to sleep in and maybe a cup of coffee handed to you before you even get out of bed.
Whatever your desire this Valentine’s Day—or any occasion when your spouse might bestow you with a present—here are a few tips to avoid feeling let down.
Tips for Making Your Spouse a Better Gift Giver*
Don’t make it a guessing game.
Gift-giving shouldn’t be some kind of test—especially not a pass or fail one!
There’s no reason to be sly or secretive about what you want for a special occasion. Just be open about it!
This isn’t to say you have to hand him a wish list, complete with Pinterest images and Amazon URLs (though I bet he wouldn’t mind it if you did just that!).
But if you have something specific in mind—even if it’s just the type of present you’d like, say, hopelessly romantic or super practical—don’t just cross your fingers and hope the hubby can read your mind.
Point Out Other Favorites
Do you adore the infinity scarf your mom got you for Christmas? Are you forever grateful to your best friend for that massage gift certificate she gave you for your birthday?
Make sure he knows how much you appreciated certain gifts from others, so he gets a sense of what sorts of presents you truly enjoy receiving.
Let Him Know When He Gets It Right
Time for a little show and tell! When your spouse hits the nail on the head gift-wise, feel free to gush over it—and then demonstrate how much you love it by making a point of using/wearing it in his presence.
Not only will he feel proud of his present of choice, he’ll also be more likely to give a repeat performance!
Tell Him to Consider This Eye-Opening Question
I’m stealing this tip from the ever-wise Jack Donaghy from the show 30 Rock. In one of my favorite episodes (I think it was the one called “Secret Santa”), Liz Lemon asks Jack how he’s always able to give the perfect gift—often without even spending any money.
His answer? “I think about what I love about the person, and then give a gift reflecting that.” Or something to that effect.
So if your hubby is totally stumped, suggest he consider what exactly it is he loves about you.
If he loves how organized you keep the whole family, maybe you’ll end up with a beautiful, classy day planner.
If he’s grateful for your cooking skills, you might get to enjoy a brand new cast iron skillet.
If nothing else, asking that question is a helpful starting point!
Encourage Him to Think Beyond the Store
A closet full of clothes or a house full of fancy stuff does not a happy person make.
But a study from researchers at San Francisco State University found that when we spend our money on experiences rather than things, it can actually lead to increased satisfaction and wellbeing.
So help your spouse out and make yourself happier in the process by suggesting he focus on experiential purchases. A gift certificate for a manicure, a pair of tickets to the theater, or a coupon for a skydiving trip (for the thrill-seeking readers out there!) might be in your future.
Remember: It Really Is the Thought That Counts
I get it, it’s a cliche.
But if your husband knows that you truly care more about his intentions than the end result, it will take a lot of the pressure off. And that very may well lead to better gifts too. SCORE!
Is your spouse a good gift giver? What’s the best or worst gift you’ve ever received?
*I’m using male pronouns in this post because most of my readers are heterosexual females, but I recognize that this post applies to other sexes and types of couples, too!