I Need Your Marriage Advice!

Phillip and I are doing our best to get back on the mend. We’ve had strains in our relationship lately and we’re doing everything in our power to get this fixed. And it has been delightful. Yes, for 22 hours we are in bliss, but for a good two hours we’re still dealing with the stumble in our relationship. But, if you ask me that’s progress.

So, this morning he says to me, “So, what do you want for your anniversary gift?”

You know, I wouldn’t blame you for hating for me and forgetting that throughout this tumult we had an anniversary on the horizon. Screwed up, isn’t it? I mean, I’m looking for some salvation to save our relationship, and I didn’t even see the one celebration that is only three days away. A shift towards a celebration would be amazing, rather than us clobbering each other with jabs that only us drama queens would know to be really shady reads.

I’m a focused person, I really am….But, I had completely forgot that our anniversary was approaching like a meteor headed to kill off the dinosaurs, and sat here googling the autumn equinox for 2019. (That is our anniversary. We married on the equinox, the one day everything is equal….Funny).

I said, “Yes! Yes! Of course! Our anniversary is (quick scan back at the laptop) Monday.”

“Well, what do you want for a gift?”

Dang. Come on. That isn’t the real question, is it? I mean, he’s been thinking about this for a little longer than I have and just wants to make sure that what he got for me matches what I want. I respond, “The big bag of Jelly Bellies. Like, the REALLY big bag. The $10 bag.) He smiles and clasps his hands with jubilation. (I love those jelly beans, I really do).

But, the BIGGER question is, what am I supposed to get him? If you read this blog on a regular basis, then you know that I screwed up his birthday a couple of months ago. We had big plans. HUGE!….and I went to take a nap and slept through his entire birthday. And what sucks even more? I didn’t even get him a gift. I felt awful.

I can’t screw this up, too. I mean, our marriage is not in turmoil, but it has taken a hit.

So, if you have any advice on what I should do, or what I should get him, I’m all ears. (And someone may say, “Won’t Phillip see your blog and know you forgot?” No, he won’t. He doesn’t read my blogs. The only thing he reads is anime, not manga! Anime….subtitled anime).

I’m open to anything….

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34 comments

  1. A candle lit dinner and a slow dance. I’m not not sure what else we really need as far as gifts in relationships except to be free to give your whole self. Happy Anniversary

  2. First things first: remember that you’re not going to buy a pass through troubled times with a gift. However, expressing to someone what they mean to you while you’re in the middle of such stressful periods can help them *feel* the appreciation and love they already know is there.

    So, what is his love language? When he wants to randomly express love for you, what does he go for (doing the dishes, movie marathon night)? Whatever you get him should be as squarely in his love language as possible even if it’s not an area you’re super comfortable in.

    Next, what have you been fighting about? No, don’t tell me, but think about it. For example, if you’re fighting over how tight money is (most couples do) then a fancy night out might not be a good idea because it’ll just stir up the feelings of the fight. On the flip side, sometimes we fight about the things we’re needing and not getting – for my husband and I, in the beginning we often fought about him spending too much time at work – and those kinds of fights can tell you what he’d appreciate most right now.

    If you still don’t know what to get or do for him, take some time to sit with your feelings specifically about him. Why do you love him – and not just what does he do for you (the easy answer I often fall into) but what about *him* do you love, even if he stopped doing all the things he does and being so supportive and so on?Getting a gift that speaks to those parts of him can be very bonding.

    If you’re still stumped, think about his hobbies and passions – maybe there’s a cool video game or anime you can get your hands on that is either new and exciting or has nostalgic value for him?

    Best of luck! And happy anniversary

  3. One good piece of marital advice I heard was that marriage isn’t about finding the right spouse, it is about being the right spouse. Maybe you can make a list, a really long list, of all the ways that Phillip is the right spouse for you – and how you hope to be the right spouse for him.

    And maybe go open a joint account and put $5 in it, start rebuilding that trust and togetherness again. Or at least share the jelly beans. 🙂

    Do you game together? My spouse and I play Call of Duty together, we’ve now been married 25 years. Truly, it hones your relationship skills. You have to work together as a team; you have to communicate clearly; and, if we are willing to die in the game trying to revive the other – that says something! So, maybe find a video game you’d be willing to learn to play together with him.

    Good luck, and happy anniversary!

  4. Do you know what his “love language” is? My husband is all about quality time. So for gifts, all he wants is time with me. Dinner together (doesn’t have to be going out – could be dinner at home) – but give him your undivided attention. Time spent together. That’s all my husband wants from me. I’m not sure what says “love” to your husband but here are some ideas depending on what says “love” to him:
    Acts of service – do something special for him. Cook him dinner, clean up the apartment, do something that he has wanted you to do but just hasn’t gotten done.
    Words of affirmation – write him a letter telling him how much he means to you
    Gifts – well, that’s the actual physical gift aspect of it, I guess.
    Quality time – that’s what I was talking about at the beginning. Just spending a good chunk of time together.
    Physical touch – well, use your imagination 🙂
    Hope this helps!

  5. Take some time to renew your friendship. In the long run, that is more enduring, more stable, and the bedrock of a marriage. (trust me … we are in our 43rd year). You will have days where you are annoyed with each other, tired of each other’s habits, etc … just remember that you give 60% or more … EACH… to the relationship. Why not get away from home, work, and the daily responsibilities and focus on why you love/like/cherish each other.

  6. Ooh, I love the idea of “what is his love language”. I know money is usually tight, so what about what you do best. Have you knit up a Phillip Teddy Bear? Just for Phillip only? How about writing him a letter, like one if the other comments, about all the things you love about Phillip. My husband & I just had our 20th & we’ve missed 2 anniversaries, 1 my mom passed, the day after (on a Friday) we always celebrate on Saturdays, the other WE both forgot. My husband when we 1st started dating would leave me love notes, just a 1 liner everyday on my work calendar. He writes “letters” in my cards—-& that is what I look forward to-even more than presents, I know it comes from his heart. Just show your love for him.

  7. I agree with Dori! We have 43 years under our belts as well. One thing we have done since the early days, is sit down and talk to each other EVERY DAY. Some days it’s 15 minutes, some days it is a lot more. We put distractions away and look at each other and talk. That doesn’t solve the Anniversary gift issue but it can be part of the lifelong commitment to each other. Another thing we’ve learned is “fair fighting” (can’t go 43 years with no fights!) Whenever there is an issue, we stick to that issue. No fair bringing up what happened last week, month, or year.

    For an anniversary gift idea, what about poetry or a letter? I know you write well, that’s a given. Use that talent to tell him what he means to you! Take that list a previous poster suggested and write a love letter telling him how he holds your heart. Write a poem that shows the rhythm of your heartbeat when you think of him. Something like that costs time, not money, but is worth more than gold! Happy Anniversary to you both.

  8. My husband really appreciates being appreciated! He needs to know that not only do I “love” him, I “like” him and appreciate that he goes to work, eats my food, etc etc, only you know what you appreciate about Phillip (his laugh, his smile, etc). And also let him know that you respect him. 40 years been married to my best friend. Happy Anniversary!!

  9. What Laura McQuade said.

    Or, how about making up a gift certificate book of special things he likes. If he likes back rubs, throw a couple of those in for him to cash in on. Special things only you know he likes that if you haven’t happened to think about for a while that he can slip you a GC for. Simple but loving gestures mean more than any monetary expenditure.

  10. Do what you do best….write to him from your heart. There will be nothing else you need to do. Well maybe some candles, wine, something delectable to snack on. Make him feel loved, wanted and needed.
    Happy Anniversary to you both, I wish you all the very best.

  11. Dang it, don’2 make it that hard. He reads anime so get him what he really likes. Or be the creative dude I know and make a special picture collage of the last year. You guys have been through so much together. Marriage is taking all this crap and going through it together. You love each other, that’s what counts.

  12. My son and his girlfriend give each other “silly” gifts that mean a lot to them. Last year she got him Mr. Bacon and Monsieur Tofu action figures (think Gumby, but as a slice of bacon or tofu with arms and legs) because he’s a meat eater and she’s a vegan. He loves them. Usually he poses them so Mr. Bacon is clobbering Monsieur Tofu, but that’s another story.

    Experiences are always nice too, and don’t have to cost anything. My husband and I (38 years now) like to pick out somewhere nearby and either go hiking or exploring. Add a picnic lunch if you want.

    In any case, be sure to get an anniversary card with a heartfelt message from you, as you’re such a good writer.

    Happy Anniversary!

  13. I think a box would be nice. A nice little box, as in a wooden type. Write a note from your heart put in the note that it is a keepsake box to put special keepsakes of your relationship !

  14. I’m with the others. I just celebrated my 14th anniversary and some of those years were really tough. We’ve never had much money for flashy gifts. We had set aside the day to just be with each other and neither of us bought the other a gift beforehand. This is probably TMI, but I thought about what he really wanted and got up early in the morning and invited him to make love. It made our whole day! In the past, we’ve written each other letters and made homemade cards expressing the things we like about each other. We also sent each other sweet e-cards, and then went out into nature to enjoy it together.

  15. You’ve had some excellent ideas given here. I may borrow some of them! I’ve been happily married for 42 years. I like the love letter idea. It won’t cause more financial stress but might be cherished forever. Think of ways to say “I love you” in ways other than using the word “love”. Love is sometimes such an overused or casually used word that it loses it’s specialness. I once wrote a love letter to my husband using all the “real” words behind the word love. I told him (with examples where it worked) how much I appreciated him, respected him, admired him, adored him, cherished him. It was very well received judging by the emotions he went through reading it. I believe he hid it away somewhere.

  16. Me and mine take our anniversary to do things that either remind us where we’ve been or bring us close in the present. So, we go to where we got married and take a pic. We go to the restaurant where we first had dinner and eat a meal. We go play games like we did on our first date. Or, we share a new experience. For example, we get a couples massage or pedicures or something relatively low key, but new to us. If you need something tactile, them plan a day, take pics at all your activities, and end the day by printing them out and putting them in a collage frame.

  17. I tried to find my last post to you a few days past. The one about the full moon, the 2 trees, the storm. The whole post was filled with symbolism. One tree is cut to the ground and is GONE! The remaining one is stripped bare of its branches. Don’t let that become you guys. I feel sad every time I look out my window and see that one lone tree stripped of its branches.

    I meant what I said about getting the best yarn available and knit what YOU LOVE the most, Socks. They will have meaning every time he puts them on or hand washes them. They will Knit your love together. I wish you both a happy Anniversary. I have been following you for years and you both have helped me unknowingly, in so many ways. You have said it takes 2 or 3 days to knit socks. Should be enough time. A special Teddy holding them would be a +.

    The both of you must know you have thousands of us sending Love and good wishes your way and also praying for you. I liked the idea of a joint bank account with a fiver in it. You guys ARE my family and when one member is hurting we all are hurting. God bless ya’s both and Happy Anniversary. You have a lifetime of “Happiness” ahead of you. Hugs and kisses yur friend, Hugs, Tobias… Eloy AZ…

  18. Something handmade, even it’s a beautiful card. He’ll know it came from your heart. ❤️ The most sincere words are better than anything you can buy.

  19. First of all and completely off topic, I got my little bear today- I love him, he makes me smile. If money is tight (like it is for most of us), how about making him a card with a balance of favor points which includes anything from doing his chores to doing what makes him happy and present it with his favorite chocolate or sweet. He’s a cook so he must have a favorite goody to go with his card. Marriage is wonderful and difficult and everywhere in between. There are always ebbs and flows, just make sure you really talk to each other. Nothing spoils a relationship like built up resentment which can be alleviated by honesty and listening. Happy anniversary!

  20. Get him something you know he’ll love. But before you give it to him, go to the dollar store and pick up one of those miniature fake trophies.It might have a #1 on it or VIP or something else that works. Give this to him first, and tell him its for being that special person that puts up with all your little faults and quirks, and forgives all the little things that seem like really big things. I guarantee, he will like this gift more than anything else. Good Luck, and Happy Anniversary to both of you. You’ve got this ! ❤

  21. Hi, I think you need to focus on what is inspiring, interesting or important to Phillip – so that his gift is really special and well thought out.

    It doesn’t even have to be a material thing…. it could be an excursion of some kind….. or a special surprise…… or something you’ve written……. or handmade……. or cooked ? with him in mind.

    I am praying that your thoughtful gift will make you both happy. Love, Carrie

  22. Is he the type that prefers to open something or the type that prefers an experience. Hubby and I are both more experience people. (but hubby got into a LOT of trouble one year when I said I didn’t want anything and he didn’t even get a card….whoooooo he’s still living that one down). We’ve been together almost 32 years and there are some that were definitely better than others. We grow at different rates.

  23. something, whether it’s an object or a meal or a trip, that shows him you really remember where your marriage comes from, and that it is the most important thing, and that it always will be. Marriage is work, and believe me it’s the *incompatibilities* that give you the work that make a marriage, rather than just a relationship. If you have troubles, you know you got a marriage, so don’t be put off, just go back to the source and drink from that well

  24. Hubster and I have had a rough year, it all began in November when he had shoulder surgery, was off work nearly 6 months, caused financial strain, he hasn’t healed well and has had 3 more surgeries. He is back at work and in July his brother died unexpectedly, hubster’s b’day was mid- August, I totally forgot it. My mom was in the hospital the end of August, my dad went in hospital last week and our anniversary was that weekend. Oh and my dad had open heart bypass surgery this week. We just gave each other time for our anniversary. We went out for a nice dinner, to the hospital to visit my dad, an antique car club meeting at a local fast food place (just to see the old cars) and then a little shopping at the local sporting goods store (he wanted a new knife and I wanted a pair of sneakers). We had a great afternoon/evening and really enjoyed our time together since we’ve not had much of that this past year. And we celebrated 21 years! Sometimes it’s not about the material things, but the time and attention we give our SO. Just ask him what he wants, or surprise him. I’m sure he will be happy with either.

  25. talk to him, tell him, ask him and show him how much getting it right means for you, be open and talk. You could even give him an IOU for a date night out or in. I forgot husband BD one year, and now he reminds me as he knows it wasn’t done on purpose. we often discuss what we want and often get our own things and tel the other, I got clothes for my BD while husband got some tools for his last birthday. We also decide which take out for our anniversary, well we try to 🙂 he is vegan and I am love my meat! so it can be hard to find mutual meals but again it is talking that stops us from going bang ❤ I may add it isnt all easy ozey, we have had doors slammed, voices raised and some very tense times! but we always get back to talking and finding the compromise I may add we are nearly 30 years together, 3 kids 4 cats and 3 cars now, and it is ongoing. but when it is good it is very good. Talk, ask, and love him!

  26. My advice is to consider giving him the gift of your time since the two of you are in a rough patch. Turn off the television, phones, all distractions and spend time with Phillip. Perhaps what he’d really like is time with you and just you. No knitting or writing though I know both are important to you. Face to face time connecting. Maybe making his favorite meal, revisiting your early days together. My husband & I have done this very thing before. We turned our home into a special nest for a time. Candles, favorite music, and favorite foods putting aside everything & everyone else except each other. And maybe this is just the time to talk about the stressors the two of you are facing.

    In the early days of our marriage money was very tight. My husband was very clever (we’ve been married almost 41 years). For my birthday he started The Week of Happy Birthday. Each day in the week leading up to my birthday he gave me an inexpensive gift. Sometimes, it was as little as my favorite candy bar. There have been years when all we could afford was a greeting card everyday. Over the years the gifts have been a bit more costly but I love knowing he spent a lot of time thinking of me. Now, he’s disabled but still carries on our tradition. This year he’s had some health problems so I didn’t get my full week. But he’ll get his in a couple of months.

    Just remember there are difficult times in all marriages. The committed couples find a way to work through them & emerge stronger on the other side.

    HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!

  27. What’s his favorite thing to do? Does he like to go out for food at a specific restaurant or does he enjoy hiking etc? If your going to make him something handmade that’s great but when your marriage is rocky taking the time to really make an anniversary special especially after a birthday blunder would mean alot.

    Plan your anniversary activities around him make the day a celebration of how much you notice about your husband. Favorite treats, special dinner, favorite location to go and just enjoy being there. Or favorite activity to do (some people are board gamers just saying….).

    We create and we love what we make and that in turn makes us appreciate handmade from others as well on a high level so yes handmade is special but a day filled with moments geared towards his likes from you is very special and will make him feel cherished.

  28. The very best relationship advice I ever heard is on this video. If you want to meditate with it, it’s 3 breaths in and 5 breaths out. It took a little bit of time for me to say in synch with the recording. But what I found profound was the instruction. You can also type Abraham Hicks, Relationships in You Tube for other recordings giving individuals answers to their relationship questions. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OSCst01fyJg
    Happy Anniversary

  29. How about making him a gratitude jar? I made one for each of my parents on their 80th birthdays. I wrote 80 reasons why I was grateful for each of them. I typed all my statements on different decorative papers, cut each one out and folded them. I put them in plain jars but you could dress up the jar if you want. I like the plain jar because once you put in all the multi colored pieces of folded papers, all that color dresses up the jar. You could also make it a happy jar (all the reasons he makes you happy), a joy jar (all the ways in which he gives you joy) etc. Also each birthday of his you can add another memory or reason you love him to the jar.

  30. You mentioned you spend 2 hours of your day launching jabs and zingers. Perhaps try a few visits with a marriage counselor, or research some books on how to communicate with each other without the zingers. Look within yourselves before accusing the other person of a character flaw, as it’s been my experience that the person is usually guilty of the flaw they accuse the other of. Let the other person know you really hear what they’re saying by repeating back to them how you understand what they say and acknowledge how it must make them feel. Acknowledge your role in a conflict, as it takes two to tango. I know this isnt what you asked for, but gift giving isn’t my forte. I usually take the other out to dinner or plan a special weekend getaway. Or if there’s something I recall they wished they had or seem to need, then I pick that up for them.

  31. I am late catching up, but I do have advice. He know you well, and he knows what you like and he wants you happy. Give him what you do well. Write something for him, don’t tell us about it, just for him. And secondly, everyone I know knows that I love to knit, so they love when I knit them something cause they know it made me happy, too. So if you don’t knit this man a new pair of socks right away…..

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