Tag Archives: Valentine’s marriage

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.

DON’T MISS OUT! SPECIAL ONLY THROUGH VALENTINE’S DAY!

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How to Make Your Valentine Gift Meaningful

blog post title + illustration of envelope with hearts come out

If I didn’t know better, I’d think the first line of Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities was actually about couples and Valentine’s Day: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”

Yep, St. Valentine’s Day is less than a month away — the holiday that some spouses anticipate with excitement, and others dread with exasperation.

Regardless of how you approach it, I suspect you come with your own set of expectations. Maybe they are high expectations that cannot possibly be fulfilled, and maybe they are low expectations that your frustration turns into a self-fulfilled prophecy. But most of us fall somewhere in between.

I’ve written about Valentine’s Day so many times that I wondered what I could possibly say to make this holiday better for married couples. But when I asked members of my Facebook community what I should cover, a lot of answers boiled down to wanting something really meaningful.

So how can you give a meaningful gift to your spouse? What will make this the Valentine’s Day s/he will always remember?

1. Plan.

You might have wondered why I’m writing this post nearly a month before Valentine’s Day. But you may need time to brainstorm ideas, line up a babysitter (and perhaps a back-up babysitter), make a reservation, and/or purchase or make any necessary supplies.

Almost every gift I can think of that a friend happily told me about her husband getting her involved planning on his part. For example, a getaway weekend he had to book ahead of time, bidding on eBay for a treasured item from her childhood, breakfast in bed made by hubby and the children, the love letter he wrote.

As Benjamin Franklin purportedly said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Instead, plan ahead.

2. Prioritize.

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times: I don’t care if this holiday means absolutely nothing to you or you think it’s supremely stupid — if it’s important to your spouse, you need to make something happen. Because that’s love, people. “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves” (Romans 12:10).

That also means that you must prioritize your time. Clear your calendar to make time with your spouse. You can’t fully connect with your spouse if you can’t disconnect from the other stuff pulling you apart.

You can't fully connect with your spouse if you can't disconnect from the other stuff pulling you apart. Click To Tweet

If you can’t celebrate on Valentine’s Day, pick another day around the same time. But figure out when you can carve out time to be together and then make that happen.

3. Pursue.

One reader commented that she wanted “almost like a ‘take me back to our honeymoon days’ kind of post. I feel so overwhelmed with responsibility in life I sometimes forget the exciting and fun side of things.” I know she’s not alone.

Remember when you were falling in love? When you first held hands or felt that flicker of this could be the one? Remember how excited you were just to be together?

Scientifically speaking, those fluttery feelings involved some brain chemicals that aren’t at the same levels now after being so familiar with one another. But the beauty of our brains is that we can renew those feelings by introducing special moments and pairing them with our spouse. Essentially, you need the attitude that you’re still pursuing your spouse.

Romantic pursuit can be passionate or playful. It can make you burst out in laughter, weep with deep emotion, or simply savor the moments. It can be grand gestures or cozy comfort. It’s whatever romance means to you and your beloved.

But regardless of what form it takes, pursuing your spouse doesn’t simply mark off the box of “I’m married to you” or “I thought of you.” It wholeheartedly communicates “I love you, I want you, and I’d do it all over again.” You’ll know it’s more meaningful when your gift conveys that message.

4. Personalize.

If my husband paid attention to all the statements that women love getting flowers, he’d miss the mark. It’s not that I don’t like getting flowers — which is nice — but it’s not all that meaningful to me. Other gifts have meant far more to me, like when my husband saw me admire a piece of art in a store and it showed up as my gift at the next holiday. He paid attention to what I really like.

Likewise, you have to personalize your gift to your spouse. I’ve given a lot of gift ideas in the past, but you have to look at such lists with knowledge of the person you’re married to:

13 Sexy Valentine’s Gifts from Your Grocery Store
7 Sexy Valentine’s Gifts You Can Make
“Go Big” Valentine’s Gifts for Your Spouse
8 Cool Valentine’s Gifts for Your Hot Hubby
8 Sweet Valentine’s Gifts for Your Spicy Wife

Think about previous gifts or experiences your spouse has had. When did you see your spouse light up? What fond memory have they recounted many times over? What interests, talents, and dreams does your spouse have? How can your gift honor the person they are?

Those are my four tips for giving a meaningful gift: Plan, Prioritize, Pursue, and Personalize.

I can’t leave without mentioning that sex should be very meaningful in your marriage. And right now both of my books, Intimacy Revealed: 52 Devotions to Enhance Sex in Marriage and Hot, Holy, and Humorous: Sex in Marriage by God’s Design, have sales right now on the ebook. Only $2.99! This is a great time to get one or both and get ideas for improving the sex in your marriage, and making sure your Valentine’s Day is meaningfully intimate as well.

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8 Sweet Valentine’s Gifts for Your Spicy Wife

Okay, guys, on Monday I gave the wives 8 Cool Valentine’s Gifts for Your Hot Hubby. But now it’s time for you to step up. If you haven’t bought a gift for your wife (Valentine’s Day is Saturday!), here are a few ideas of sweet gifts for your spicy wife.

Man giving woman gifts, with proud smile on face + blog post title

1. Romantic Tea or Java. Romantic tea? Have I gone nutters? Nope. While shopping for tea flavors, I found a lovely line of Valentine’s themed teas from Adagio.

Adagio Love Petals Tea

Most women I know are fans of tea, but if your wife is a coffee lover, how about something special in that department? Godiva Chocolatier makes a chocolate truffle coffee. If she’s a Keurig user, maybe you could pamper her with a bit of Raspberry Chocolate Truffle Coffee.

Godiva coffee

2. A Vase and a Vow. You could get your wife flowers for Valentine’s Day, and maybe that’s what she’d like. But if she really loves getting flowers, how about giving her a new vase with a note vowing you’ll bring home flowers one day each month for the rest of the year? She can look forward to seeing what kind of flowers you bring home, anticipating which day you surprise her with them, and then enjoying the bloom and fragrance of a fresh bouquet.

3. Necklace with Personal Charm. There is a necklace charm for everything. I don’t think that’s an exaggeration, after touring James Avery, craft fairs, and Etsy.com. Whatever interest, hobby, career, personality, etc. your wife has, there is a jewelry charm for that.

You could also go a purely romantic route. Like a heart or key-to-my-heart charm. Or perhaps write a personal note and give her a love letter necklace, like this one I found on Etsy:

love letter charm

It opens!

It opens!

4. Wine Bottle Labels. Wine has become a more popular beverage in recent years, and plenty of wives enjoy a glass of wine. If that’s your thing, how about some personalized wine bottle labels — for those bottles you can share on a romantic evening?

Using Song of Songs 1:1 (“Your love is more delightful than wine“), I created a sample wine label you can use.  Edit it to your taste, or simply replace “Husband” with your name and “Wife” with hers. (Click File, Make a Copy, and you’ll get a document you can edit). The labels are best printed on 4 3/4″ X 3 1/2″ labels (Avery 22826). Get a bottle of wine, slap it on, and you’re done! (Save the extra labels for later.) How easy is that?!

Wine Label Sample

By the way, if you’re not into wine, these labels can be placed on other bottles, like your wife’s iced tea or Frappuccino (pictured above!)

5. Sensual Atmosphere for Your Bedroom. Yep, whether you understand it or not, many wives have a hard time getting in the mood when their bedroom looks like a tornado blew through and left laundry, kids’ toys, and/or clutter. Sure, I encourage wives to ignore it or clean it up and then make sex a priority, but you could gift her a beautiful invitation to be intimate by creating a sensual atmosphere to welcome your wife.

What that entails depends on your budget, her preferences, your savvy, etc. But creating the mood could include anything from cleaning up the room, to getting new silky sheets and/or his/her pillowcases, to candles or colored light bulbs, to an intimacy music playlist, to massage oils and lotions. And hey, if you can fold a towel swan, knock yourself out.

towel swan

Just make your bedroom like a gentle invitation to your wife to relax, be pampered, and enjoy your intimate time together.

6. Clothing Reminder of Her Beauty. I’ve personally declared 2015 the year we wives learn to feel beautiful! Honestly, I don’t know a single woman who hasn’t experienced body image issues. But what I continually hear from husbands is that y’all think we’re beautiful anyway!

Guess what? We’d love for you to keep telling us (at least most of us would). While she’s working on feeling more confident, believing what you say, and taking care of her body, your wife might like a reminder of how you feel about her beauty. Several Christian clothing shops sell clothing and other items that make this point. Like this lovely T-shirt

From Christianbook.com

7. Bucket List Pail. That’s right: Give your wife a metal pail. But be sure to write on the outside something like “Our Bucket List,” then spend an evening writing down things you both want to do in the course of your marriage, and drop them in the bucket. Keep adding to it as you think of more stuff.

Chalkboard pail from Hobby Lobby

Chalkboard pail from Hobby Lobby

Of course, you know what comes next, hubbies! You must start doing those activities in your bucket. But this gift will open up conversation, encourage you to look toward a positive future, and share some dreams.

On the practical side, you can find buckets at your local hardware store, hobby stores, and even discount stores. If you want something easy, grab one with a chalkboard label or slap chalkboard paint on it. Then write your title with chalk: “Our Bucket List.” “Our Twosome To-Dos.” “Life and Love List.” Or simply your names: “Mike & Lily’s Bucket List.” Make sure you have paper and pen to write your dreams and desires.

8. The Gift of Nothing. Now, before you think you’re off the hook because I used the word nothing, I’m NOT saying you shouldn’t get her something. I’m saying you should give her The Gift of Nothing — meaning that she gets to do nothing. You honor her with a day or night or weekend during which she is obligation-free. No meals to cook, no children to watch, no laundry to wash, no groceries to buy, no work to complete, no alarm clocks to answer, no ________[fill in the blank].

Many Most wives feel an ongoing burden of responsibilities, whether externally expected or internally felt, and having a break from that weight can be incredibly wonderful. Imagine this, guys: It’s like your wife finally getting to go to that mental “nothing box” the male species has as a retreat option. Like it or not, most of us gals just can’t mentally go there, unless the exterior demands are removed.

So line up the childcare, take care of the household, sweep her away somewhere if you need to, and let her do absolutely nothing for a while.  (And while there are no guarantees, so don’t add any demands to this gift for her, some men who have done this have found that something happens after the nothing. 😉 )

That’s all I’ve got. But make sure you consider who your wife is. For instance, my husband rarely brings me flowers, because I’m just not that into getting flowers. But if I’d be all over that bucket list idea! So think of what your wife needs, values, and desires and shop with your lovely woman in mind.

“He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord.”

Proverbs 18:22