As Teri mentioned in her blog earlier this week, one way that our spouse or significant other might feel the most loved is when we spend good, connected, intimate time with them. This may take priority over a tangible present or gift. Being connected with your spouse or loved one means no distractions, having good eye contact, and truly listening to what they are saying! Spending Time Together:
What are some ways you can give the gift of your presence to your loved one?
Turn off the TV, put away all electronics and distractions, and take them on a special date! Plan an event for them that is a surprise. Perhaps they love the theater or concerts-- buy them tickets to an event and wrap them, including a note inside that promises an evening (or a whole day if you are feeling generous!) of undivided attention.
Give your loved one coupons they can present to you at any time, when they feel as though something is getting in the way (e.g., your cell phone, Facebook, computer games, sports or fantasy leagues). At that very moment, you would turn from the distraction and give them your attention.
Prepare a calendar for the entire year, marking off one day per month, for 12 months, that is going to include a date for just the two of you. Take turns alternating who plans the date (and makes arrangements for child care, if needed).
These are just a few ideas of the gift that would say "I get you", to someone who truly needs your time and attention as the most important thing to make them feel loved.
Remember, you can be as creative as you would like with this... as long as you give undivided attention and time to your loved one, they will feel like it's one of the most thoughtful gifts you could have ever given them!
Chores and Help:
Some people would prefer the gift of your time in helping them out with things they are needing. How do you know this would be a gift for your spouse? Does your spouse ask you repeatedly to help you with laundry, vacuuming, loading and unloading the dishwasher? Does your spouse say that the perfect date would be finishing the family "to-do" list (even if they say it in a joking way)? This might mean your spouse needs your help DOING things, instead of a traditional gift.
How can you get creative with help around the house?
Give coupons that represent chores. Much like time together (above), these coupons can be given in advance and used by your spouse to go towards things they need help with around the house. Better yet, make your own list of things you remember hearing your spouse ask you to do (but that you haven't gotten around to doing yet), and do them without them asking or knowing about it. Get up early on Christmas morning, and have the laundry done and put away, or cook breakfast and have the kitchen cleaned up before your spouse awakens.
Physical closeness, Hugs, Kisses and Touches:
Men are historically known to appreciate the gift of physical closeness, but women can also feel appreciated and valued by receiving these "gifts" as well. How do you know that your spouse would prefer this gift? Does your spouse constantly need to be touching you? Do they feel most fulfilled when you are being sexually intimate with them (or complain about a lack of touch or sex)? When they comfort you, are they most likely to touch you through a hug or embrace? If so, they might need these things from YOU the most!
How can you get creative with the gift of physical closeness?
Plan a surprise weekend retreat for you and your spouse (even if you don't leave your house), where you take turns giving massages. Take a bubble bath together, or give foot massages. Bring your spouse breakfast in bed, followed by snuggle time for an entire morning (don't forget to line up a baby sitter so the kids can be out of the house for a bit!). Make an plan to provide your spouse with some form of intimate touch every day for the rest of the year... it doesn't have to be long and elaborate, and they will definitely notice your efforts. Again, coupons for back rubs, snuggle time or a spa day together are good ideas, but remember that your spouse might find more meaning if the touch comes from you than a massage therapist.
Again, remember to get creative with your ideas!
Have you recognized any "gifts" that would let your significant other know that "you get them"?
Joleen Watson, MS, NCC, is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. She enjoys doing marriage counseling, relationship counseling, couples counseling, and individual counseling. Imagine Hope also specializes in family, child and adolescent counseling and serves Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield, and Fishers.