When things are going well in a marriage, when you've been together for years and years, you can take your spouse for granted. Of course we made it this far. We are going to make it forever.
Or, in the alternative, you can be good about giving gifts when things are good and bad about it when things are bad. I remember a bad patch with my husband when I didn't want us doing anything for Valentine's Day because it felt like there just wasn't any point to it.
In the divorce mediation business, I see a lot of people who either don't make it to their next holiday together or who have to celebrate at least one holiday while in the midst of their divorce. Seeing this makes me appreciate the fragility of relationships. I can be grateful for what I have because I could have so much less.
This Christmas, give your spouse the best Christmas present ever. First, answer this question: Which of the 5 Love Languages speaks most to that person: 1. Quality time; 2. Words of affirmation; 3. Gift giving; 4. Acts of service; or 5. Affection?
Now, use that information to give your spouse a Christmas present perfectly designed to tell your spouse, "I love you."
If your spouse values quality time above all else, then give your spouse the gift of quality time. Schedule a babysitter and go out to dinner and the theater. Spend a day exploring a new town or city. Go shopping with her. Go fishing with him. Go on vacation, even if it's a mini vacation of just a day.
If your spouse values words of affirmation above all else, then you already know that you have to give your spouse a card at every holiday and it has to be the right card. Then you need to write at least a paragraph. If you have the ability to write a poem, even better. You can also whisper sweet nothings, but written words can be looked at again and again. Did you have a memorable song, poem, or reading from your wedding? You could have that framed.
If your spouse values gift giving above all else, then your options are limitless. Pick a great gift based on your spouse's interests. Don't get a gift card. Your spouse will want you to put more thought into it than that.
If your spouse values acts of service above all else, then you are going to get to do some chores. What are some things that your spouse typically does for you that you could do instead? Make dinner? Clean the bathroom? You could stay home doing the chores with the kids while she gets to go out with her friends for a spa day. You could get tickets to see his favorite team and take him to the game.
If your spouse values affection above all else, then spend the day doing little things to show affection. Hold hands. Kiss. Cuddle. Put on some music and slow dance. Give your spouse the gift of massage. It could be a foot massage or a back massage. It could be that you spring for a couples massage for both of you.
Wishing you and yours the best Christmas ever!