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The everyday gifts from a good husband mean the most

Publisher, editor-in-chief and author at Chicken Soup for the Soul.

This week marks the beginning of the most stressful six months of the year for my husband, the six months in which he has to come up with presents for: 1) our wedding anniversary in November; 2) Christmas; 3) Valentine’s Day; and finally, 4) my birthday in April.

Bill has no confidence in his ability to divine what I want, and he will go to great lengths to avoid having to select a present for me.

Last year, Bill asked me what I wanted for Valentine’s Day. After I said the required sentence, "I don’t need anything," I confessed that I had wanted a pink sweater for a long time. You would think he would have been relieved; all he had to do was buy a pink sweater, in any style. Most women would think that was great fun, and an easy assignment. But Bill looked stricken, as if I had asked him to buy me an original Gutenberg Bible, or something from the feminine aisle of the drug store. So instead, we went to J.Crew, and while he sat next to another guy in the two comfy chairs provided for husbands and boyfriends, both men industriously reading e-mail on their phones, I tried on various pink sweaters and paid for one with his credit card. Then I thanked him profusely for the wonderful gift.

I think that my husband and many men just like him are so eager to please us that they have turned gift giving into a mission-critical operation, a hunt for perfection. In fact, most of us just want a guy who is considerate and tries to do nice things for us if they occur to him. We don't require our men to be consummate shoppers, to really understand what we would like to unwrap. That's what mothers and sisters and best friends are for. And we don't expect our husbands to be master entertainers, creating romantic dinners or other fairy tale events for us.

That's why I loved a story by Deb Stanley called "Everyday Romance" that we published in our book, Chicken Soup for the Soul: True Love. Deb's husband feared he was letting her down after he was asked to think about the most romantic thing he had ever done for his wife. Deb realized that she didn’t care about candlelit dinners or flowers. She wrote, "Maybe romance is in the way Scott says 'Hi Gorgeous' when he greets me. Maybe romance is in the daily walks where we talk about our day. Maybe it's the way we still hold hands." Deb told her husband not to worry, telling him that she saw romance in "the hundreds of ways you show me you love me every single day."

Romance doesn't have to end. Read "Twenty-Six Years — An Unfolding Romance" by Kriss Hamm Ross.

Image: Britt-knee/Flickr
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