There is less than a week until Christmas!!! How did that happen?!?!
What are you getting your spouse this year for Christmas??
If you don’t yet have an answer to that question, DON’T DESPAIR! I too, often procrastinate my gift selections. And I too, like to be thrifty yet thoughtful in my gift giving.
This year, get your spouse something free they will actually love: an act of selfless sacrifice for them. Here’s four steps on how to do that:
1. Think of Something You Know Your Spouse Would Like You to Improve
Brainstorm with me for a minute. Think of something your spouse is always nagging you about. Hmm, “nagging” has a bad connotation. Think of something your spouse frequently reminds you of. 🙂 Or something you know they would like for you to improve on – a quality, a habit, anything. If your spouse HAD to change something about you what would it be? (Side note: Don’t ask them that.)
I’ll give you a minute to think of something. Go with your gut instinct here.
To assist in your brainstorming, here are a few suggestions from an article listing the top 20 things wives nag their husbands about: chores, budgeting, not listening, leaving dirty dishes out and watching too much sports (too many sports? I don’t watch the sports.). And here are some suggestions from the top 20 things husbands nag their wives about: intimacy, being late, nagging :), throwing out their things and shopping.
If you can’t think of anything, congratulations on your perfect marriage! Scratch the thoughtful Christmas gift and come talk to me after class about guest posting on my marriage blog. For the rest of us . . . keep reading.
2. Come up with a Concrete Plan on How You Will Improve on That Thing
A few examples:
- If the thing your spouse would like you to improve on is less time in front of a screen: Come up with a set plan on how and when you will cut back. Maybe turn off your phone and shut the computer everyday from the hours of 5 – 7pm to focus on your family. Or maybe you choose one night a week – maybe Wednesday – where there will be no screens on and you will just spend time with your spouse talking or playing a game.
- If the thing your spouse would like you to improve on is helping out more around the house: Make a chore chart! One of out guest posters outlined one here (although that is for her AND her spouse, maybe don’t give your spouse chores for their Christmas gift). Print out a Google calendar and fill it in with what chores you’ll do on what days, and outline what time each day you will do them. Be specific.
- If the thing your spouse would like you to improve on is being on time: Write out your plan for accomplishing this. Tell your spouse that you will buy a kitchen timer (Those things are way better for productivity than cell phone timers. You can hear that click-y noise and see the time ticking away. It focuses you.). Say, “I will buy the timer and when I am getting ready, I will set it to go off 10 minutes BEFORE we have to leave the house. At that time I will have my shoes, coat and bag on and be waiting by the door.” (Rich is so wishing this will be his Christmas present this year . . . )(Note from Rich: yes.)
3. Record Your Plan
This is a free gift, so in order for your spouse to be duly impressed put some effort into the presentation. Make an Excel spreadsheet, a PowerPoint presentation, make a poster, get an app for whatever goal you’re trying to accomplish. You don’t have to be artistic or creative, but you should show that you put a lot of thought and effort into it.
4. Set up Some Accountability and Deadlines For Your Plan
Raise your hand if you’ve ever been given a “coupon booklet” as a gift (you know- “this coupon good for one free back rub” or car wash or whatever) that ended up just sitting around unused. *Raises hand* This is not the unused coupon booklet.
For this to be a good gift, you have to be completely determined to accomplish your plan. To do that, set up some sort of accountability. You can be creative here and involve a parent, sibling, friend, neighbor to follow up in some way. Or you can keep it between you and your spouse. Offer a good reward to your spouse if you fall short of one of your goals or deadlines.
For example in the chore example, if you fail to do your chores one week, you owe your spouse a night out or chocolate or an extra night of dishes. Something your spouse will want to cash in on. One thing Rich offered me for a gift once was that I got full deciding privileges on what show we watch for four nights. That was a great one for me 🙂 Rich just loves those Gilmore Girls . . . (Note from Rich: no)
So. This year instead of spending more money on some clothes or an electronics gadget (or maybe in addition to) get your spouse the gift of showing them you love them enough to really sacrifice something hard for them. Show them you really do listen and want to make their lives easier and better by improving things that bother them. Give them the gift of selfless service.
They will LOVE it.