I am not a fan of the year-round gift giving culture that we are all immersed in. Consumer capitalism tells us that us that if we are to be good decent citizens that we need to buy corporate-manufactured happiness. From Valentine’s Day, to Mother’s Day, from the wedding anniversary to the birthday and Christmas, there is no shortage of reasons we should buy our way to happiness with our loved ones. But is that the only path?

Photo by Moyan Brenn available under a Creative Commons Attribution-license

Photo by Moyan Brenn available under a Creative Commons Attribution-license

I have been married to my wife for over 35 years in what we would describe as a strong healthy marriage. Yes we’ve had our ups and downs, and the kids freak out when they hear of our free romantic outings. There are however, some insights we can share.

You may be thinking oh no, here he is another chauvinistic, uncaring scrooge, thoughtless, oppressive, cheap husband. To add to it Muslim, what has the world come to?

As the publisher of Perfect Muslim Wedding, I let our editor Marwa Diaf work on the content. However, I like to chime in once in a while and share what makes not only a great wedding but a strong marriage. It may surprise you but I am not a tight-wad and love my wife. I would do anything including spend everything I own for her. It is nice to buy gifts and I spend a lot of time researching, buying, getting feedback, returning, researching, you get the picture. What is the real deal behind giving gifts and why is it so hard to hit it on the bulls eye every time?

We have not done a scientific survey, but here are the following reasons you should not buy your wife flowers, jewelry, romantic cruises and more.

  1. “I can’t figure out what she really likes.”
    2. “She’s going to return what I buy anyway”
    3.       “She has everything she needs.”
    4.       “She never asks for anything.”
    5.       “Everybody gets xx, why should I be the same.”
    6.       “It didn’t fit.”
    7.       “I have run out of ideas.”
    8.       “I have run out of money.”
    9.       “I have run out of ideas and money.”
    10.   “The flowers will die”
    11.   “She never wears the jewelry”
    12.    “She gets motion sickness.”
    13.   “She returned, exchanged, hid my last gift.”

Some of you, many of you are probably already feel like punching me, jumping up and down, screaming, but before you do that, I have some good news. Every problem has at least one if not more solutions, so here are ways you can address all the reasons not to give a gift.

  1. “I can’t figure out what she really likes.”: That’s easy, ask her, the kids, family, friends, research online, go window-shopping.
  2. “She’s going to return what I buy anyway”: Invest time doing the research #1
  3. “She has everything she needs.”: Maybe, but all gifts do not have to be material.
  4. “She never asks for anything.”: Even more reason to get her a gift.
  5. “Everybody gets xx, why should I be the same.”: Get creative, brainstorm, #1.
  6. “It didn’t fit.”: This one should be easy to fix.
  7. “I have run out of ideas.”: Brainstorm, #1.
  8. “I have run out of money.”: Break the bank
  9. “I have run out of ideas and money.”: You’re out of luck.
  10. “The flowers will die”: Get potted plants.
  11. “She never wears the jewelry”:  Remind her on special occasions how it would make you feel if she put the bling on.
  12.  “She gets motion sickness.” : You’re referring to the cruise correct? Dramamine.
  13. “She returned, exchanged, hid, my last gift.”:  Well it’s cliché but “pick your battles, never give up. and #1.

Seriously though, there isn’t a simple formula for figuring out a person’s likes and dislikes. As humans we have many layers and moods. Our preferences change over time, and what worked at one point may not at another. My wife sometime may complain about how much something costs, but inside loves it.  Some gifts can be bought, others like home-made gifts can be put together  with a little more thought and a little TLC.  Forget the soap, and the candles. Here’s another gift secret, don’t tell anyone. I sometimes take my wife on romantic outings to Costco for the free samples. What a great lunch, and the kids… well let them freak out, we can define romance any way we want. There you have it the secrets of getting the right gift every time and in turn how to build a strong marriage revealed.

Full disclosure. Costco, De Beers and Disney Cruises did not sponsor this blog post.

 

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