“I’m really good at gift buying. I know that’s probably a weird thing to be confident about, but really, I am pretty darn good at it.
I’m the one who listened to you say that you wanted a corn hole set on February 17th at 5:35 p.m. and I made a mental note of it. Then for your birthday I buy you the best corn hole set complete with your favorite sports team logo on it. I’m the one who Amazon Primes you a Willow Tree brand Father/Daughter figurine when I hear that your dad has passed away to show empathy for you now being a part of this awful club. I’m the one who gets your grandmother’s handwriting engraved on a bracelet for you so that you can always have her close.
I’m also the one who sends you a bracelet with all of your kids’ birth stones, even those you lost to miscarriage… because they still matter. I love buying you a shirt with your favorite band’s name on it. I love buying you postcards of your favorite city and sending them to you randomly throughout the year. I love Door-Dashing you your favorite chocolate cake when you are having a really crappy week. I also love sending you wine through the Drizly app so we can cheers through the phone from opposite sides of the country after we put our kids to bed.
Birthdays and Christmases for my kids is no different. I start months beforehand, thinking of the perfect gifts for them. I love watching their faces when they finally see the thing I’ve been keeping a secret for so long.
Gifting buying is 100% my love language. It’s not for everyone. But I find so much joy in giving a gift to someone else.
I am creative in my gift giving. I scour the internet for weeks and weeks, copying and pasting websites into my notes section on my phone to come back to later. I love finding the hidden treasures. I take so much pride in figuring out a really amazing idea to gift to someone. I get so excited when I finally find the perfect thing and I stalk the shipping website, seeing every step of its journey to you. I love making others feel so loved through an item they normally wouldn’t buy for themselves.
But my husband sucks at gift giving. (Sorry, babe) It’s just not his thing. He freezes up when he has to come up with something to give someone. It gives him anxiety. It honestly just stresses him out.
He is one of the most hardworking men out there, coming from literally nothing to being able to support our family with six kids, comfortably. He finds more joy in cooking an amazing weekend breakfast for us and it makes him the happiest when we are all snuggled on the couch watching his favorite childhood movie. He’s a simple guy with the love language of Quality Time.
For years it used to make me SO mad that he couldn’t get it together enough to surprise me with a thoughtful gift. I used to get so offended that all the hints I dropped for months and months never manifested into an idea in his mind. I would honestly just feel like he didn’t care. Then I learned of the five love languages and it finally made sense. But really all this new information did was make my hints louder, yet they still fell on deaf ears. God Bless him.
So now I do the socially unacceptable thing and I buy my own gifts. I know, it’s crazy. It sounds selfish. ‘Why can’t I just be grateful for what I have?’ ‘Buying yourself gifts is just really conceited.’ Or my absolute favorite from a family member: ‘That’s a really greedy, narcissistical thing to do.’ And maybe that’s true.
But we needed a solution. Every birthday, which for me is Christmas Eve, and then every Christmas I was just let down again and again. I walked away from every holiday season down in the dumps. And to be honest I don’t really blame my husband. I blame my own expectations.
But Tim could see it. He could see that I was hoping for a coffee mug of cartoon characters of my kids on it. He just has no idea how to find something like that and personalize it. He could see I was missing the silicon ring I asked for so I could work out at the gym without my wedding ring. But he has no idea what size my wedding ring is or how to obtain that information without ruining the surprise. He knew I wished I got that bath salt set so I could soak my stress away after those long days of momming. But he freezes up when it comes time to buy them. He just doesn’t know what to get me.
The Christmas after my dad died, I bought myself a necklace with his handwriting on it. I still wear that necklace every day. My husband makes comments all of the time that he’s glad I bought that for myself. It’s obvious how much it means to me, yet it’s never something he would even consider buying. It never would have crossed his mind to use my dad’s handwriting and make a jewelry piece out of it.
So now, for us, me choosing my own gifts is the best way to keep the stress down. Our budget for each other is so low anyway that anything I do pick out for myself has to be less than $50. That in of itself is the creative challenge I adore. You have to pick your battles in marriage, and this is one I fought for WAY too long.
We did go one year without gifting one another and we both ended up hating it. He realized that he actually looks forward to how creative I can get. And knowing my love language is gifting, he knew it killed me. We both went out that next night and shopped for $10 gifts just so we could give each other something.
Sometimes I really hate my love language. But mostly I love that we have figured out the best way to solve a problem we argued about for so long.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Molly Schultz of Tried and True Mama. You can follow her on Instagram. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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