Category Archives: Gifts for Your Spouse

6 Worst Things You Can Give for Valentine’s Day

Usually, this time of year I write about what to give your spouse for Valentine’s Day. If you’re only looking for that advice, visit my roundup of previous Valentine’s posts here.

But sometimes to do the right thing, we need to know what not to do. Thus, all those Thou Shalt Nots in the Ten Commandments. So let’s talk about six things you might have given, but you won’t now that I’ve warned you!

1. Unvoiced Expectations

You’re expecting something special from your spouse this Valentine’s Day. After all, it’s the lovers holiday! So of course, he knows how important this is. And if he’s been paying attention at all, he must have picked up on your hints about what you want.

When Valentine’s Day arrives, you suddenly realize he has no such plans. He bought nothing, he has no date plans, and the card he purchased was a standard greeting that doesn’t begin to express your unique connection.

Look, your husband may genuinely be a clod, but more often I see husbands, and sometimes wives, who honestly didn’t know what their spouse wanted because the expectations were never laid out.

If this holiday matters to you, tell your spouse and tell them why. If they—like I once did—rant about V-Day being a ruse concocted by greeting card companies, florists, and chocolate makers, let them air out their opinion. Then at the end, say, “I can see your point, but to me, it’s a chance to show each other love. It’s just a day on the calendar, but I still want you to honor me with a gift.” Or something like that.

Don’t stay silent about your expectations—voice them!

2. Nagging

  • “February 14 is coming up.”
  • “It’s Valentine’s Day this week.”
  • “You do have my gift, right?”
  • “I hope this year’s present is something I actually want.”

It’s okay to remind your beloved that Valentine’s Day is only days away. But if mention it over and over and over, those reminders become like nibbles, gnawing away at your spouse’s independent desire to do anything for this holiday.

The day begins to feel like an obligation instead of an opportunity, and the burden of your expectations can weigh them down until they’re unsure they can meet them. The holiday can seem like so much to you that nothing short of an event that goes viral on social media will do. “Oh my gosh, did you see what Bob did for his wife?! Wasn’t it perfect?”

Poor everyone-not-named-Bob. They can’t compete with that! And honestly, we shouldn’t nag our spouses for it. Lighten up and let your spouse enjoy this holiday too.

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3. The Gift You Want Them to Have

Let’s presume a scenario in which she asked for a certain patio table, and you got her the one that’s “better” because it matches the features you thought she should have. Never mind that she had been periodically wandering through Lowe’s and Home Depot for the last two years sitting at patio tables and finally found and asked for the perfect one. Because yeah, the table you got her was beautiful and twice as expensive. (Someone reading this right now recognizes this story. ~grin~ Love you, Spock!)

But this setup happens for others: a spouse asks for something, and the other decides to get something else. Now it’s true that you might get points for buying a higher quality version of something than your spouse asked for, since many people feel bad about asking for more than the bare minimum. Sometimes, however, you’re just substituting your opinion for theirs.

If your spouse has asked for a specific gift for Valentine’s Day, you can follow up by inquiring why they want that particular item. Let them express how they made their decision, and then you can decide whether to vary from their request or stick with it. If they have a particular preference, honor that.

4. A Surprise When Your Spouse Hates Surprises

I admit to being wowed by stories of a husband planning a getaway weekend and whisking his wife away to some gorgeous destination with barely any notice. Such a surprise usually requires advance planning, conspiring with family members or friends, and attention to presentation. It all sounds so…romantic!

But I have friends who would hate that—genuinely hate it. “Whisked away” would be “yanked away,” and “barely any notice” would be “no consideration for my schedule.” Even “conspiring with family members and friends” would be “why didn’t anyone tell me so I could prepare???”

Look, your desire to surprise them really comes from a great place of wanting to show love! But it’s showing love the way you’d like to receive it, instead of tailoring such expressions to what meets your spouse’s emotional needs.

Just remember that a surprise for some is like this:

And a surprise for others is like this:

Know which one your spouse is, and plan your Valentine’s Day accordingly.

5. Super Sexpectations

Let me clarify first: I’m a fan of sex on Valentine’s Day! Though, to be fair, I’m a fan of sex on any day that ends with y. Still, it’s nice to celebrate the holiday of romantic love by savoring physical intimacy with your spouse.

However, we can get so wrapped up in making holiday sex a spectacular event that must exceed other sexual experiences. We believe this time:

  • the wife must wear that special red teddy you got her
  • the husband must properly prepare the bedroom for lovemaking
  • the lovemaking must be as choreographed as an Oscar movie sex scene
  • the orgasms must be earth-shattering

Again, not opposed to any of that! If your orgasm shatters the earth, good for you. High-five.

But what if your spouse isn’t on board with all of that? What if your kid gets sick that day? What if her lubrication or his erection just doesn’t cooperate with it being February 14?

Go ahead and pursue sexual intimacy on Valentine’s Day—and make sure you voice that desire—but emphasize intimacy. If you came closer together on that day, it’s a win, for you, for marriage, for love.

Go ahead and pursue sexual intimacy on Valentine's Day—and make sure you voice that desire—but emphasize intimacy. #marriage #Christiansex @hotholyhumorous Click To Tweet

6. Silence

You know this day matters to your spouse, or you think it might, but you don’t even acknowledge it. You don’t buy her anything. You don’t do anything for him. You don’t show extra affection or make time for a sexual encounter. You treat it like any other day. Ouch.

I recently tweeted this:

If you haven’t figured out yet how to celebrate, get with it! It’s day’s away! I have a bunch of posts with ideas that you can access here, and I’m hardly the only marriage website giving out ideas for Valentine’s!

If it matters to your spouse, don’t let the day pass with recognition. Use this opportunity to selflessly demonstrate love your mate.


Click to buy or learn more!

One Week Until Valentine’s Day

This is a bonus post, in which I want to provide readers a quick-and-easy way to access my Valentine’s Day ideas. With quite a few posts, you may want to scroll through and look at titles before deciding which ones to click!

Quick Tip: If you want the link to open in a new window, right-click on the post’s title and choose that option. I cannot override the embed feature here to automatically open posts in a new window.

How We Think About Valentine’s Day

Intimacy Revealed Ad

Gift Ideas

What to Do for Valentine’s Day

That’s it! Maybe you can see what I didn’t write another post this year. I have so many already! Best wishes celebrating in the way that you and your spouse do.

Remember my caveat, though: If Valentine’s Day is important to your spouse, it should be important to you…because your spouse is important.


This Valentine’s Day, Give Extravagant Love

What makes the real difference on Valentine's Day and in your marriage? It's extravagant love, which comes first from God.

If you’d known me in high school or college, you could have heard my rant about how Valentine’s Day was a ploy used by greeting card companies, florists, and candy makers to guilt people into purchasing things they didn’t need, all to express the love they could have been expressing 364 other days of the year. I gave versions of this same rant my first several years of marriage as well.

And then I became a marriage and sex blogger.

Valentine’s Day is huuuuge in this world. So many couples celebrate this day and want fresh or practical suggestions on how to commemorate their special love. It’s a great time to speak about how to romance and honor your spouse, because people are listening.

Not to mention that sales of marriage and sex books, affiliate-linked products, and more increase this time of year. That’s just a fact. And on that note…hey, look, a great place to buy lingerie! (And they’re offering 25% off on lingerie and boxers through Valentine’s Day with the code LOVE25.)

Honoring Intimates Logo

Lingerie and marital aids for your marriage!

Anyway, over the years, I’ve dug myself out of my cynicism, written many posts about Valentine’s Day, and learned to appreciate it as a holiday with origins in a lovely tale about a priest who continued to perform wedding ceremonies despite a ban by the king—because he believed in marriage. Here are those (many) past posts:

Here’s some simple advice.

But today, just a few days before Valentine’s Day, I want to offer simple advice about how to treat this holiday. Actually, it’s not even my advice. It’s ancient advice, with great wisdom. Here it is:

Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Romans, chapter 12, verse 10

That’s from the New Living Translation, and here are some other translations of that same verse:

  • Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves” (NIV).
  • Love one another deeply as brothers and sisters. Outdo one another in showing honor” (CSB).
  • Be devoted to each other with mutual affection. Excel at showing respect for each other” (ISV).

What is extravagant love?

People often talk about unconditional love, but I prefer the phrase extravagant love. To me that connotes going above and beyond, the same prescription here translated in words like “take delight” and “outdo” and “above yourselves” and “excel.”

On this holiday that focuses on romantic love, maybe it’s a good time to take stock and ask how we’re doing on this one with our spouse. Are we showing them extravagant love? Love that goes above and beyond what we’ve done before, what we think we’re capable or, what we believe they even deserve.

On this holiday that focuses on romantic love, maybe it's a good time to take stock and ask how we're doing on this one with our spouse. Are we showing them extravagant love? via @hotholyhumorous #Valentines #marriage Click To Tweet

But here’s the real core of the matter: You can’t do extravagant love on your own.

You can do extravagant gestures, extravagant gifts, extravagant romance. But day-in, day-out, through-all-life’s-challenges, trying to show extravagant love to your spouse in your power can wear you out.

If you want a really great Valentine’s Day, and marriage, ask yourself what it means to show genuine affection to your spouse and to take delight in honoring them. What would extravagant love look like? And then ask God to pour His love into you so that you can pour it back out to your beloved.

I don’t think I can give better advice than that. Happy Valentine’s to you all!

Intimacy Revealed Ad

A Few of My Favorite Things for Christmas

Looking for gift ideas for Christmas? I’ve done so many posts on that topic that I will list them at the bottom of this post. But first, I want to highlight some of my favorite new offerings this season.

Peace. Love. Joy. from Calm.Healthy.Sexy.

Gaye Christmus of Calm.Healthy.Sexy. recently released Peace. Love. Joy. – 75 Simple Ways to Take Care of Your Health, Happiness, and Marriage this Holiday Season. I love Gaye’s approach to creating a life that’s simpler, stronger, and sexier. Once again, she applies her practical approach to the holidays—with lots of wonderful tips on making this season the very best it can be!

12 Sexy Days of Christmas from The Dating Divas

For both the crafty and craft-challenged, like me, The Dating Divas has a lot of resources to add romance and spice to your marriage. I’m impressed with the depth of detail put into their products, and here’s one that could help keep your sex life zooming over the holidays. The 12 Sexy Days of Christmas printable pack includes a countdown organizer, customizable envelope covers, and customizable activity and gift tags.

Intimacy Mentoring from The Forgiven Wife

Chris Taylor of The Forgiven Wife is starting a new endeavor of providing intimacy mentoring to wives who’ve struggled to engage in or enjoy sexual intimacy in their marriage. She’s offering a range of services from a weekly encouragement email to weekly personal check-ins and monthly videoconferencing. Wives, this could be just the right gift for yourself and your marriage. (And a quick note to frustrated husbands: I understand your frustration, but your wife should be the one to sign up.)

On-Sale Lingerie from Honoring Intimates

Honoring Intimates, a Christian-based lingerie and marital aid store, has good, quality items at reasonable prices. And right now, they’re offering a fabulous deal of 35% off orders of $30 or more! The deal is good through December 22nd with the code CHRISTMAS. Check it out.

affiliate link

A Christmas Short Story from Me

A couple of years ago, I wrote a short story just for Christmas. Under the Mistletoe a quick read and absolutely free! I recommend not only that you read it but pass it along to another couple. Stories are a great way to ease a friend into thinking about how wonderful God created sex in marriage to be.

It’s Christmas Eve, and Grace still hasn’t seen a present under the Christmas tree from her husband. When Todd announces there is no present coming, she feels snubbed, not realizing that he’s got a different surprise planned. But is his gift what she really wants? Or even what she needs?

4000-word short story.

Amazon Kindle

And as promised, here are a lot of other Christmas gift idea posts through the years. (My apologies if any links do not work; sometimes a product or page goes away.)