I (Megan) don’t do gifts well. I have been known to skip buying gifts for people I love (poor Justin….ahhhh!). I have re-gifted gifts and returned gifts that just aren’t me. I’m not saying this because I am proud of these tendencies. Not at all. In fact, despite my lack of gift giving abilities, I know the importance of gifts. Gifts help others feel appreciated and loved. Gifts can set the tone of intimacy for a close friendship or marriage. And giving great gifts always requires something of the giver.
Learning to capitalize on giving gifts that really matter to our spouse is an important aspect of gift giving in marriage. Certainly there are times, events and special days that are elevated above others for gift giving, but it is also possible to adopt gift giving as a regular part of your everyday life. Today, I want to encourage you to think of simple ways you can learn to give gifts that matter. These gifts don’t need any special reason or holiday, they are simply a practical living out of the love you feel for your spouse.
1. The gift of thoughtfulness.
I already confessed that gifts don’t hold a lot of value for me. It’s just not my love language in any way shape or form. However, if my life existed without a general form of thoughtfulness from my husband I would feel much differently. Thoughtfulness in marriage is like watering flowers. It is necessary and life giving. Think of all the reasons you love your spouse and then think of simple and practical ways to show them you appreciate them. The thoughtfulness of a hand written note, a special snack, a massage or foot rub can speak volumes to your spouse. Is your spouse stressed at work and then they often come home to a chaotic family schedule? Maybe what they need is an hour of peaceful nothingness. Has your time been monopolized by a large project at work or a household chore? Maybe in order to reconnect a game or date night is in order. The important thing is to look to your spouse’s life and thoughtfully approach gift giving through ways that will mean something to them. Thoughtful gestures that say, “I love you. I respect you. I see you.”
2. The gift of future.
There is no doubt that when Justin sees my current needs and addresses them through giving me the gift of time or connection, it makes my heart happy. When he gives me a gift that reflects our history, I swoon. When he gives a gift that supposes our future together, I absolutely melt. The confidence, security, and shelter those kind of gifts give cannot be surpassed. If your marriage needs an anchor, a sanctuary, or a safeguard give a gift that implies permanence. A gift that says you will continue to be together, you will weather the storms of life together and you are continually committed to your marriage.
We have a friend who gave his wife the gift of a weekend away, just the two of them. It may not seem like a big deal unless you know the back story. The weekend away came at a rather inconvenient time in his work schedule. It meant not being at his job for one of the biggest events his company has. It meant arranging the childcare needs for his wife and following through. You know her reaction upon opening this gift? She cried. There was no doubt that she knew her husband loved her, desired to be with her and chose her above all the other important things in life. This type of gift is exponentially more meaningful than jewelry or flowers. A gift that gives your spouse assurance that your intend to be with them, that you value them more than other things this life has to offer. That kind of gift is not just thoughtful, it’s life changing.
3. The gift of supporting dreams.
Giving gifts of life dreams is closely associated with giving gifts that imply a future together. Supporting dreams takes determination, time and oftentimes even financial commitment. Some of us are dreamers and some of us are not. Marriages can often find one person from each of those two categories. The thing about dreams is that they can be contagious or they can put a strain on a relationship. Deciding which dreams are worth pursuing and which are worth staying in dream form is an individual/couple endeavor. Following dreams may cause some disturbance to the status-quo, but should never be undertaken at the risk of sacrificing your marriage.
Justin completely supported my dream to travel to East Africa in 2012. (Yes, that’s me on a Safari!) As a family we sacrificed financially to make it happen, we sacrificed time to make the arrangements and then my husband and children sacrificed by giving me up for two whole weeks. There are no words to explain how loved I felt because my dream was not only supported, but was also encouraged and realized.
How about you? Does your spouse have a dream that you could support, encourage or nurture? It will undoubtedly require something of you. Sacrifices and personal inconveniences are par for the course. However, realized dreams have a ripple effect. Reward never comes without risk just as a bird can never soar without first opening their wings. How can you give the gift of supporting one of your spouse’s dreams?
This Valentines Day (and really, everyday) ask yourself how you can learn to live in a giving way. A life where you continually give gifts that really matter.
Valentine’s day spoiler (After Justin edited this!): This valentines day I am putting my support and some money where my heart already is. Justin is a musician and has been dreaming of a new guitar. For the past couple years we have been treading water financially and I have never been particularly supportive of beginning to save for this dream. Not so anymore. I can think of nothing better than helping make this dream become a reality over the next year or two. We will be taking baby steps to make it happen but it’s a good dream. I desire to give him good gifts and this is definitely a good gift for the man I love!
Linking with: Women Living Well (Marriage Challenge)