I get really rant-y for major gift-giving occasions, because there’s always some variation on the same piece: Your wife may say she doesn’t want a present, but don’t fall for it. And the maddening things is that in many relationships, that’s probably accurate advice.
After all, AL.com just ran this gem in a piece on Valentine’s gift ideas:
“When your significant other tells you that they don’t want anything and that your love is enough – take it from a woman – they probably aren’t being completely honest.”
Which, to me, begs the question: Why aren’t we being completely honest? If 35% of us want jewelry for our romantic gifts, why can’t we tell our partners that?
“While she may not want you to go overboard with the gifts,” the AL.com piece offers, “she does want to know that she was thought about and that you care.” But why can’t she say that either?
I think we’re doing ourselves and our relationships a disservice to go through this “oh, you shouldn’t have” charade. Besides disingenuous, it’s also deeply disempowering to tell your partner one thing and hope he or she is smart enough to ignore you.
So go ahead and talk about how you’d like to mark occasions as a couple — whether that means gifts or other rituals — and then honor those decisions. Maybe it means you trade years planning a special date night. Maybe it means you write each other funny haikus. Maybe you buy adorable handmade cards from Sojourns. Or maybe it really is jewelry.
The details are up to you, but set honest ground rules together.