While growing up, one of the highlights of Christmas Eve was to see what my dad bought for my mom. It was the last gift of the evening, and all five of us kids would hold our breath to see what it was….and to see if Mom liked it. Usually, there was a big smile and a kiss. However, sometimes she didn’t like the gift! And she would let Dad know! And I was appalled! I thought, “How could she do this to him after all of his effort?”!
Aside: Let me state here that my Mother is one of the nicest people I know; my wish to live a life of gratitude is inspired by her. (see Thanksgiving blog)
Anyway, during my pre-teen years (when romantic feelings get a strangle hold on a girls heart), I vowed to never, ever, be so mean to my husband; I would always be a gracious gift-getter. At the time I thought: Even if I hated the gift, I would love it because it came from the man I loved.
I’ve never asked my mom about this. I don’t have to now. I understand.
Let me explain: Of course a sapphire ring is an incredible gift, but why doesn’t your husband know that you have never like sapphires, or know that you wear silver jewelry, not gold, and so on. The rejection of the gift is really the rejection of the husband’s ignorance of the wife’s preferences and aversions. The subtext here is, “Why, oh, why doesn’t my husband love me enough to notice everything about me?”
This sounds pathetic when I actually write it down. However, this has run through my head, and I have heard other women say this – perhaps not so overtly, but….
As I contemplated this, I quizzed my husband, Steve.
“Honey, would you ever get me something, let’s say…ah… made out of silk?”
“Is this a test?” He eyed me and asked.
“Uh, no, no, no, not at all, I’m just curious.” I countered looking down.
“Well then, of course I would, why not?” He answered, testing the waters.
I urged, “Any criteria when dealing with silk that you would need to use when buying it for me?” Really, I am on his side; I am rooting for him here.
He just looked at me with that “I’m not falling for this; I’m not going there look” and said nothing. Maybe he hmmmmmed.
So I had to tell him, “You know that I don’t like the smell of silk, right?”
“Uh, well, now I do for sure.” He smiled and said, simply, “I don’t think you ever told me.”
And there’s the rub. Men need to be told. How many times in the life of a marriage does a husband say to his wife, “Why didn’t you just tell me?” To which we think, “Why doesn’t he just know?”
They just aren’t wired to notice these things. It has nothing to do with the quality or quantity of his love. Period.
Tell him what you want for Christmas: circle items in catalogs, make a wish list on Amazon, point out (very clearly and deliberately) items in the store, etc…
Tell him that your birthday is coming up starting at least 2 weeks before your birthday.
Tell him that you like you back rubbed and not scratched.
Tell him that you hate the way he introduces you (let’s say, as “my ball and chain”)
Tell him that you don’t really like to be bitten while making love. (NOTE: these are made up, not personal!)
Tell him that you prefer it here, not there.
Tell him that you love him.
Whatever it is: Just tell him.
p.s. It could have been that sometimes my Mom really didn’t like the gift. She might just shake her head and smile at all of my psycho-babble.
This concludes another view from my married life.