Happily Ever After

What Guys Want

    Husbands are hard to buy for, don't you agree? While gift options for women are endless, you've probably already exhausted the list for men. I mean, how excited is he going to be over another shirt, sweater, tie, wallet, key chain, electric razor, bottle of cologne or 3-pack of Jockey underwear? So what does he really want for Christmas? If you've asked, chances are he said something like, "I don't need anything." Or maybe he rattled off the predictable list of boy toys: power tools, fishing tackle or some electronic device with a giant screen and/or sophisticated joystick. (My husband mentioned something about a radio controlled model airplane.)
    While I'm sure you will think of something to put in his stocking or under the tree, there is something else he wants. None of the local stores are carrying it. I Googled, and apparently it is not available on the Internet. But it's not too late to make sure he gets it.
    You see, the very best present you can give your husband, at Christmas or any other time, is something he may never ask you for or put on his list, yet it is something he longs for every day. What's more, it is so rare and precious, only you can give it to him. It is the gift of your presence in his life. By presence, I don't mean just the fact that you sleep in the same bed, eat meals together or share a bathroom. Being truly present in his life means giving of yourself in a way that you give to no other person on earth-not your mother, your children, your best girlfriend, your dog or even yourself. It means wholly immersing yourself in your marriage so that he is ever cognizant of your unshakeable support and the utter joy you bring to his life.
    Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that tangible gifts are not important. They are, because gifts are an indication that you took the time and made the effort to choose something especially for him. Whether it is a $2 card with the perfect message or a $2,000 trip to the Super Bowl, give him what you can afford and what you know will be meaningful. Whatever you do, don't give him something he doesn't want just because you want it. (Season tickets to the symphony may not be the best choice if he thinks Schubert is a frozen dessert.) Your presents to him should reflect love and thoughtfulness and be tailored to his desires or something that you know for sure is of mutual value.
    But in the grand scheme of things, what you wrap up and put a bow on is far less important than what you can give him every day.
Love Unwrapped
Good things don't come in small packages. They come in no package at all. Trust me. These are the gifts every man craves. Offer them, and you will know the meaning of the Biblical phrase, "It is more blessed to give than to receive."
The Gift of Acceptance & Unconditional Love
 Have you told him lately that you love him just the way he is? This is an amazing gift-a gift that will set him free and send him soaring, inspiring him to be an even better partner.
The Gift of Time
How much effort do you make to spend time alone with your husband? Do you put him above all others? Do you take the time to do things with and for him? This is perhaps the most coveted gift, because demand is so often greater than supply. What you devote your time to is a measure of what you value. Cherish the moments shared.
The Gift of Attention
When did you last give your husband your undivided attention? When did you ask about his day and actually listen to and care about his response? When did you really notice him and give him a sincere compliment? This is a gift that will come back to you like a boomerang. If you want his full attention, give him yours.
The Gift of Appreciation
When was the last time you thanked him for the hard work he puts in on his job or for the chores he does around the house? Is he a good provider? A loving father to your children? Maybe you take these things for granted. Don't.
The Gift of Respect
Do you regularly acknowledge his honesty, integrity, his moral values and his faithfulness? Tell him what merits you respect, and he will continually strive to earn it.
The Gift of Admiration
Have you told him which of his traits and talents you truly admire? Do you brag on him in the presence of others? Does he know that you hold him in your highest esteem? Praise him and he will be praiseworthy. Honor him, and he will be an honorable man.
The Gift of Physical Love
Do you touch, hug, kiss, snuggle, hold hands and love pat regularly? Do you make a point of greeting him warmly when he comes home? When was the last time you initiated sex with him? Give generously and your man will worship the very ground on which you walk.
The amazing truth is this...
Giving fosters love. The more you give of yourself, the deeper your love will grow. And the more deeply you are devoted, the more love you will receive in return. I know it's hard to believe it can be that simple, but over time, you will see that the way to get what you want and need in your marriage is to give your man his heart's desire.
Yes, husbands are hard to buy for. But what they really want can't be bought.
Make giving an everyday habit. Wrap your marriage in love and unwrap the secret to a happy life. For extra credit, put a bow on the laser saw, rod and reel or RC airplane. Happy Holidays!

Looking for a Few Good Stories!
What's your secret? Tell us what makes your marriage work in 200 words or less. Please include your name, your spouse's name and how long you have been married. We'll publish the best entries in a future Happily Ever After column. E-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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