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She Doesn't Like the Gifts Her Husband Buys Her

Ms. Vicki

Dear Ms. Vicki,

How can I tell my soldier that I don't like the goofy gifts he gives me for Christmas?

I know I should be thankful that he's not downrange or stationed somewhere on an unaccompanied tour because I really cherish my time with him. He is a great guy and a near perfect husband, but he just doesn't know how to shop for me and choose good gifts.

He's given me jewelry that I won't wear. I give it to Goodwill or the Salvation Army behind his back. He's given me handbags that I won't use and clothes that are either too big or too small.

He gives me flowers, too. I keep saying I don't like lilies because they stink. Every time he brings me a bouquet of flowers, there are have lilies. What can I do to get him to give me gifts I would like to have?

Sincerely,
Good Husband, Bad Gifter

Dear Gifter,

Girl, are you serious? Please stop complaining. For real, you are married to a nice guy who tries hard to show love and appreciation toward you, but all you do is complain.

Most women complain that their husbands don't give gifts or show much appreciation. Your husband is trying, and you consider his gifts "goofy."

But there is another way to look at this, too. Sometimes, the gifts we get from our loved ones bother us more because they seem to be symbolic of things that are wrong in our relationship. 

Even though you say he is a near-perfect husband, maybe you feel like he doesn't know you because he doesn't know your style or sizes. Or maybe you think he is buying whatever at the last minute because he doesn't care what you want.

The holiday season is upon us and it's time for you to learn how to be assertive and talk to your husband. Here are some of the things you should do:

Appreciate his efforts.

You can discourage a man by always complaining about his efforts. So give him a break. For example, if he can't remember to take the lilies from the bouquet of flowers, then you can take them out yourself. He won't notice that you have removed anything from the flower arrangement.

Be more assertive, please.

Sometimes husbands give bad gifts because they really don't know what you want. Spell it out. Write it down. Give him the link to the thing you want most so he can get it right. 

You can also say, "Hey, Babe, don't stress about a Christmas gift just get me a gift card." You can name the store for him to get a gift card.

You say your husband is being goofy but I think he's "tttrrryyyiiinnngg". Which sounds good to me.

Offer to skip the gifts.

It is quite normal for couples to suggest before the holiday that they don't exchange gifts this year. Or that they don't really want anything for a birthday or anniversary. They might decide to spend the money on a cruise or a nice couples vacation or something. This may be one of the reasons why self-gifting is such a trend.

Is it really the gift?

If the hurt you feel over these gifts really is about the relationship, not the gifts, don't hide your feelings behind the gifts. Don't take your revenge by donating his gifts to the Salvation Army. Instead, talk about your gift exchange now before he buys anything else.

In other words, don't sit back and do nothing and blast on your husband for making an effort. That's all I'm saying. I'm not mad at you. I'm just saying be more appreciative, stop complaining and you should start taking the lead more when it comes to purchasing gifts for yourself. Thanks for the letter.

Sincerely,
Ms. Vicki

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Contributor

Ms. Vicki is a native of Dallas, has been the Dear Abby for the military community since her column began in 2005. A licensed therapist and licensed clinical social worker, Ms. Vicki holds a Master of Science in social work and a Master of Arts in clinical psychology.

Ms. Vicki appears regularly on Military.com and in the Fort Campbell Courier. Her column has also appeared in the Washington (D.C.) Times and in the Heidelberg (Germany) Post Herald. She has been featured on CNN, CBS, ABC and NBC.

Looking for advice about your military life? Email Ms. Vicki here. Find Ms. Vicki on Facebook here.  Find Ms. Vicki on Twitter here.

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