AFTER 40 YEARS ◽ MARRIAGE
Christmas just passed. And I know SO MANY couples that don’t even get each other any gifts. I don’t know what they do. Maybe they spend funds on a project in the house, or opt to just give the kids gifts. But I enjoy my husband buying me gifts, and I love buying for him. He’s not good at gift buying on his own, and I’m super picky, so I hand him my list way back in September. I include links, and specifics, and I try to make it easy for him. I know it’s a labor of love for him to shop, because it’s just not his thing.
However, I really like opening gifts on Christmas that are from him! So we both continue to give gifts year after year. Some say that when they get older they no longer “need” or “want” anything, but somehow I always do! And he always acquiesces. Even though it’s hard for him to do, he does it. He knows I love that he actually buys the gifts (and doesn’t have my kids do it – that’s just wrong!), he also wraps them, and he even includes stocking gifts, too!
Early in our marriage, he gave me a frying pan for Christmas. That was impersonal.
Another Christmas, I got a shirt I detested. And I just couldn’t make myself wear it.
One Christmas, he gave me a small kitchen appliance (that was expensive) that I didn’t want and wouldn’t use!
I’ve given him grill accessories, only to find them in the garage a year later, unopened.
I’ve thought he needed a certain tool, or gadget as well, but he didn’t really care for it.
So one might think, “Why do you keep giving each other gifts?”
For us, there’s something about the process of sacrificing our time and taxing our brains and hearts to give. I don’t want to end up around a Christmas tree one year where it’s all about the kids, and we adults just sit and watch. I want to always be amazed at how meticulous he is at wrapping (seriously, I’ve never seen tape applied any straighter!). I like it that he’s willing to buy me things that are fun and maybe just whimsical and then sign his name, so that my heart flutters when I untie the bow. It still does! I also want to grow in my appreciation of the gifts he does include, ones not on my list (and I am growing, although ever so slowly!) And I want us to continue practicing this art of giving, as long as we can.
For years, my dad used to ask me 2-3 days before Christmas what Mom might want, and then he asked me to purchase it. This hurt my heart, every time. And I could tell it hurt Mom’s heart as well, because she knew he did that. And I’m guessing they never had a conversation about giving, and expectations, and all of that…or maybe they did…and neither listened. But that observation made me purpose to be different in our marriage.
What was Christmas like for you? Maybe you’re okay with how you gave or didn’t give gifts, or maybe you weren’t. But I’d say it’s worth a conversation about those kinds of things. Maybe he doesn’t know, and maybe you don’t realize. I’ve been a real butt on Christmas, and I’ve had to work on my attitude of gratitude. And I hope that no matter how many years we live together, we always find something under the tree with our name on it that we’ve bought and wrapped especially for each other. Even if it’s not perfect, it’s there, and it’s so fun to get and to give gifts to each other…always…because we’re ever learning and ever growing and I hope…ever giving.