I love Christmas shopping. I’ll spend weeks before the big day searching for the right gift that conveys just what that particular person means to me or our family. Nothing elaborate or overly expensive but something that is practical and comes from the heart.
When it comes to my husband, on the other hand, I’m usually stuck. The man is hard to shop for. Outside of something with four-wheel drive or a large outboard motor, there isn’t much he wants.
When we were first married, it was easier somehow. One year, I bought Josh basketball tickets to his favorite college team. The game was on New Year’s Eve, so I booked us a room at a nice hotel nearby. I put our game tickets and hotel confirmation in a box topped with a new hat and was good to go.
But somewhere along the way in our 13 years of marriage, it became less and less apparent what to get my favorite guy in the world for Christmas. The more we built a life together, the less, it seemed, I knew what to wrap up for him under the tree.
So I did what any good wife would do. I bugged him about it. I asked him what he wanted. He said “nothing.” I made suggestions. His less than enthusiastic “sure” told me I just wasn’t on target.
What to get for the guy who wants “nothing”
Why is it so hard to shop for men? Probably because we are coming at it from a woman’s point of view. A man would ask, “Why are women so hard to shop for?” Well, it’s because we’re created so differently. A little Scripture searching and marriage experience will teach you that. Both men and women were created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). But this time of year, it seems the similarities end there.
So where does that leave us wives who really want to express to our husbands just how much they mean to us? For one, accept the differences between you and your spouse. Two, read on.
Without further ado, here is what your husband really wants for Christmas.
Your undivided attention. Kids or not, women tend to take on a lot this time of year. Finding the perfect gift for everyone on our list, school and/or office parties, baking galore, and trying to pack every Hallmark movie-worthy moment into the holiday season can quickly pull us away from the true meaning of Christmas, and even farther away from our husbands.
This year, offer your husband the gift of your attention. Carve some time out of your hectic holiday schedule to take him out to his favorite restaurant for lunch or dinner and then just sit and listen to how he’s doing and what is going on in his life. Even better, if your budget allows, wrap a little box for under the tree and place inside it hotel reservations for a night away for just the two of you. No kid talk or work worries allowed—just you and your favorite guy catching up on knowing each other.
It probably gets harder to shop for our significant others as time goes by for this very reason—we’ve stopped seeking to know each other. If you’ve been married past the honeymoon phase, you’re probably finding out he isn’t the person you married anymore. You aren’t either. People change as they grow, and you’ll need to ask yourself—do you want to grow together or grow apart?
Your involvement in his passions. My husband is an avid outdoor sportsman. He can spend hours organizing his lures and lines before a fishing trip, and he looks forward to waking up before the crack of dawn to sit in a tree stand in freezing temperatures to await a deer that may or may not come. It’s his thing.
Me, not so much. I love snuggling under a warm blanket in the morning, steaming cup of peppermint mocha in my hand. But that doesn’t mean I won’t cast a line or stomp through the woods beside my man. In fact, some of my favorite memories with my husband have been spent doing things that are more his hobbies than mine. Like the time we woke early for a long drive to Lake Monticello in southern Arkansas. The wind was blowing hard, and the waters were insanely choppy. And then the boat broke down in the middle of the lake, and we had to putter back to shore in reverse. We didn’t catch a single fish that day. Now, we laugh about it all the time.
Engaging in what excites your husband not only expresses your love to him, but it gives you an amazing opportunity to get to know him outside of the day-to-day and strengthens your friendship. Plan something for just the two of you this season. Maybe wrap up some his and hers camo under the tree, or if your husband is an avid reader, pick up two copies of a book he has mentioned wanting, and read it along with him. Whatever his hobby is, find a way to be a part of it every now and then.
Respect and admiration. The Apostle Peter speaks directly to wives in the following verse—"Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word” (1 Peter 3:1-2). Other translations sub the word “subject” for “respect” here. Those words weren’t chosen by chance, but deliberately inspired by the awesome Creator of men. The One who created our husbands created them to need—to crave—respect from their wives, their helpers. As wives, it is a way to love our husbands well. Respect = Love.
So how do you gift respect for Christmas? Maybe take the time to write him a letter. Tell him all the ways his guidance has helped you over the years. Remind him you couldn’t and wouldn’t want to do this crazy thing called life without him. Tell him all the ways he is leading your family well and the many things you adore about him—his sense of humor, his ability to stay calm when you panic, even how he looks in that certain pair of jeans. Ladies, your guy needs to hear it.
Also, take the time to ask your husband what communicates respect to him, or, better yet, ask him if there are ways you might be disrespecting him without knowing. I had a bad habit of correcting my husband in front of our children. It wasn’t over big things, just tiny issues that seemed like nothing to me. But my “minor” corrections weren’t so minor to him—it came across as criticism. I am (still) learning to hold my tongue and to discuss any issues out of the earshot of the kids. Why? Because I want him to know I love and respect him. Not just at Christmas, but all year long.
And while you are at it, thank God for all the ways He made you two so different. My husband is strong in nearly every way I am weak. I thank God for creating Josh the way He did.
SEX. Seriously, ladies. Your husband wants your physical affection far more than any elaborately decorated package under the tree.
“Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth! For your love is better than wine” (Song of Solomon 1:2). Everyday life can quickly make its way to the bedroom if we let it. Wives, this is a warning to you especially. Protect your marriage by taking care of your husband’s physical needs, as well. What man wouldn’t want to hear his “love is better than wine?”
Here’s an easy present for your husband—no box or gift receipt needed. Just hang that mistletoe in the bedroom this year, and remind him he is still attractive to you and is the only man who can fill your needs.
And here is one more thing your husband would appreciate …
Some slack. I love this time of year and everything that comes with it—the childlike excitement, red and green adorning every square inch of space, the lights and music, Christmas parades, and the drive-through nativity at the church near our home.
My precious husband and I are night and day all year long, but at no other time is it as apparent as it is during the holiday season. And when I expect him to react to all the festivities with the same level of glee and zest as I do, it only causes tension and saps the joy from both our hearts. And that is not how I want to spend the holidays with my love.
So take a moment to gift your husband some slack this Christmas. Chances are, he is racking his brain to come up with the perfect gift for you, too.
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Looking for help or inspiration this Christmas? FamilyLife offers several resources to help your family focus on Christ during your Christmas celebration. The Ever Thine Home® Christmas collection includes ornaments and other decorations help you honor Christ and proclaim your faith. The 12 Names of Christmas™ ornaments are designed to help you teach your children about Jesus is and why He came to live among us. And in When Christmas Came, Barbara Rainey reveals the substance of Christmas in poignant prose and vivid watercolors.