If you watch any television during the holiday season, you will see that advertisers want you to believe that expensive jewelry or a brand new car are the only ways to show your spouse that you truly love them. In fact, one car commercial even shows a woman receiving a new car for Christmas but being dissatisfied with it because she sees that her neighbor received a nicer new car for Christmas.
Call me anti-advertising, but I can think of plenty of gifts I could give my husband and he could give me that don’t cost thousands of dollars. My husband knows well enough that if he surprised me with expensive jewelry, I would probably be upset because there are so many other things we could spend the money on. If you are frugal (or even if you are not but are busy paying off debt or building an emergency or retirement fund), consider the following way to show your spouse you care:
Clean off the car during the winter.
We don’t have a garage, and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it when my husband goes out on a cold winter morning and takes the time to start and warm up my car and scrape off all of the snow and ice. By the time I get outside and get in the car, I can simply begin driving.
Cook his favorite dinner.
If your spouse has a favorite dinner, consider making it once a month as a surprise. I don’t care for beef that much, but my husband loves steak. He would be delighted if I surprised him with a steak dinner. (Note to self: do that this holiday season.)
Spend time together.
People are busy, especially during the holidays. Consider instituting a no media period. Maybe for an entire Sunday you turn off all media—cell phones, smartphones, internet, television. Turn off all distractions and just spend time together. If, because of work obligations you can’t turn off media for the entire day, at least turn it off for a few hours.
Give a backrub.
Is there a better way to end the day than to give your spouse a backrub and receive one in return? It is the perfect way to melt away the stress of the day and spend time with one another.
Give your spouse a day off.
If one partner is the stay at home parent, consider giving her an entire day off. Take the kids for the day and let your spouse have an entire day to herself to do with what she wants. Vice versa for a stay at home dad.
Do a chore he always has to do.
If your husband is always the one to take out the garbage, maybe do it yourself one day so he doesn’t have to. If he always gets up with the kids in the morning and lets you sleep in, get up with the kids one morning and let him sleep in.
Spend time working on your marriage.
Most people don’t take the time to actively work on improving their marriage, but it is worth the time. Consider taking the 5 Languages of Love quiz online to learn the best currency for expressing your love to one another. Or, consider subscribing to a magazine such as Marriage and do some of the activities together.
Take a day away together.
If your kids are old enough, have grandma babysit while you have a day away together. Better yet, have the kids stay overnight with grandma and go away together, perhaps to a romantic bed and breakfast.
While diamond rings and new cars are nice, they are one time presents that cost thousands of dollars. Maybe someday when I am older and we are financially secure, I would like to receive a piece of jewelry from my husband. However, now, while we are deep in the trenches of parenting young children and building our financial future, there are plenty of other ways I would like him to express his love for me.
Rather than a one-time gift, I would much prefer a reminder on a daily or weekly basis as he takes the time to help me in everyday life and I him.
How about you? How do you show your spouse that you care?