Latest update: March 27th, 2012
The January 15th column featured two letters; in the first, “Wise Granny” defended the husband of a previous writer who was annoyed with his forgetfulness of special dates. Basically, Granny was of the opinion that marriage was a 2-way street; give him a generous dose of TLC and you will get the same (and more) from him, she opined more or less.
The second letter-writer (Men, use your brain!) wrote of her deep disappointment with her husband’s birthday gift to her – a costly piece of jewelry that was not to her liking, to say the least. Besides, she whined, she’d rather have received the latest in iPods.
Readers weighed in with their take…
Our first responder gives generous leeway to the ungrateful wife.
In your response to “Men, use your brain” you state, “I can’t help wondering which aspect drove you to verbalize your disappointment ” You then mention two: Her actual dislike of the necklace and her “penchant for the latest electronic gadget.”
Can there possibly be a third? Sometimes a husband will go all out for his wife without ever bothering to ask her if this is what she needs. This can relate to gifts as well as to more personal aspects of their relationship.
Is it possible that this husband, over many years, has tried to please his wife his way and has never troubled himself to find out if it is her way? To truly be a giver is to do it the way of the receiver – he’s doing it for her, is he not? Perhaps after many years of being frustrated by being the receiver of things that were not meaningful to her, she reacted this way.
Could’ve been the final straw
The following letter is on Granny’s side and all for harmony in a marriage; just hand him the gift that he is to hand to you on your special day. You’re in this together, after all may as well make the best of it.
Granny is right on the button. I must say that ” brain” is quite lucky to still be married; it is not about “what” but about “how.”
My husband is also forgetful of special dates. His theory on gifts is to give what the recipient needs or would like to get. He would rather that I go shopping with him or by myself for my own birthday/special occasion present. I came to terms with this and learned to appreciate not having him spend money on things that were not needed or that may never be used.
A few years ago I made myself a very nice bracelet, placed it in a gift box and handed it to him to “give to his wife” for her upcoming birthday and reminded him of the date. It was one of my nicest presents ever; he wrote me a beautiful card, gave it to me along with the gift on the correct date, and we were both happy.
This reader is up front about not being up front – having learned the hard way.
I have something to share with all your readers. I am in my 20’s and have been married a few years. On one occasion my husband gave me a piece of jewelry that I did not like. I told him I didn’t like it but thanked him for it. Huge mistake on my part; he left me for a few days – all because I didn’t like the jewelry he had given me.
I was being very selfish and should have said I loved it. He almost divorced me because of this. Men like to feel appreciated. I’m just giving a warning to others out there who think there is nothing wrong with being brutally honest with your husband.
Learned my lesson (still married)
The following letter provides a practical solution: Choose it, have the store hold it [who’s paying is not made clear], then send him to pick it up when the time is right. How can you really expect him to know what it is that you want?
This is in regards to the letter from the woman who was upset about the choice and taste of gift she received. I know it is always easier blaming someone other than yourself. Through the years I’ve learned a lesson or two.
First of all, men are not mind readers. If you want something say so! He is not supposed to know what it is exactly that you want and like. I told my husband way back in the beginning that I like jewelry and that since I am the one who wears it to please not mind my going to choose it.
It’s the best thing. You choose it, the store puts it on the side for him to pick up (if you wish), and when you get it all wrapped up, you’ll be thrilled. In essence it won’t be a real surprise, but for the long haul it surely will pay off. Every man wants his wife to be happy with something he gets her, especially after spending so much money.
And, finally, a dose of reality and some down-to-earth advice
Sounds to me like the lady who complained about the gift her husband bought her has way more serious issues to deal with. In fact, I get the impression that this is a quarrelsome couple and that she is in the habit of bashing him. For sure there is other stuff brewing beneath her dissatisfaction. She is either a spoiled brat used to getting her way or a very frustrated, unfulfilled woman.
Send them both for counseling – quick.
There’s more than meets the eye .
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About the Author: We encourage women and men of all ages to send in their personal stories via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to Rachel/Chronicles, c/o The Jewish Press, 4915 16th Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11204. If you wish to make a contribution and help agunot, your tax-deductible donation should be sent to The Jewish Press Foundation. Please make sure to specify that it is to help agunot, as the foundation supports many worthwhile causes.
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