June brings lots of anniversaries. If you’re wondering how to let your husband or wife feel your love, I want to help.
Q. If I take my wife away for a just-us weekend, do I also need an anniversary gift?
A. Etiquette does not apply to a marriage. Neither does the opinion of any other woman you know or even a survey of 3,057 women you did not marry. All that matters is this: does your wife expect a gift? If yes, not receiving one will be a letdown.
So, if you don’t want to give a gift, the time to bring it up is before your anniverary. Ask her nicely. For example, “What shall we do about anniversary gifts on our weekend away?” Her answer (exchange them on the day, exchange them when we get home, or let’s skip them) will tell you what she’s expecting.
If she’s expecting a gift, you can offer a possible different expectation. Start by agreeing. “Sounds good, but I’d like my gift to be some extra weekend activity, like a canoe rental or a massage, not anything in a package. Want yours wrapped?”
If she suggests skipping gifts, remember to clarify your own expectation and acknowledge what’s great about her idea (the one that matches your own). “That’s a great idea. We’ll have a little extra money in our pockets and a little less to pack. I am really looking forward to spending this time with you.”
Q. Should I buy my husband, who cooks our dinners, a new mixer for an anniversary gift?
A. Again, it depends on your husband. Is cooking just one more chore on his list? Making chores less onerous is not likely to thrill anyone. But if he feels creative and happy in the kitchen, a new kitchen tool could add to his pleasure and be a great gift.
So, once again, you need to know your spouse. And if you don’t know, you need to ask, in a positive, upbeat, supportive way. “What a great meal! I love your cooking. Was that grinding noise I heard the death throes of the mixer?” Anger at the mixer or denial of a problem with it suggests the next mixer should be a household expense. Sadness at its demise suggests a new one might be a great gift.
Q. How do I let my beloved spouse know that I do not want yet another collectible item for my too large collection?
A. Well in advance of your anniversary, you declare your collection complete. And then you give a hint to make it just as easy to choose a different gift you’ll love. “I hereby declare this beautiful collection of tea cups complete. Next, I am going to collect experiences–food, travel, festivals, and weird buildings–and blog about them.” “My Star Wars memorabilia collection is officially complete. I am so grateful to you and everyone who has added to it. How do I let them know that I’d love to receive some tee shirts and hats with fun stuff on them?”
Q. What if I have too much stuff and don’t want any gift on our anniversary?
A. We’re talking about your spouse here. So, you make it clear you’re not checking out of the marriage, just cutting back on stuff. And you honor his or her way of showing love. If that’s gifts, ask for something that still can be presented as a gift: a poem, an ice cream treat, flowers, a photo of a happy time together. If it’s doing things together, you say, “I always love your anniversary gifts, but I feel like I have too much stuff, and I wonder if we celebrate our anniversary this year by doing something special together.”
Q. My spouse opens my gifts and says nothing. I feel like I wasted my time.
A. This year, present a gratitude letter, listing all the reasons you’re thankful for your relationship and your mate. If you can, read it out loud, just the two of you, in private. Some people value the right words a lot more than things. You might discover you married one of them.
I hope you have a happy anniversary and grow just a little bit closer to each other as you celebrate your relationship.