“For heaven’s sake get all shopping and ordering out of the way a week before February 14.”
These are the wise words from Jay Payleitner, author of 52 Things Wives Need from Their Husbands: What Husbands Can Do to Build a Stronger Marriage.
It seems like a simple thing, but how often have you found yourself rushing to buy your bride something—anything—for Valentine’s Day?
Buying a last-minute gift is naughty, and not in the good way. It tells your wife that you don’t consider her as a high priority. It tells your wife that you don’t really “see” who she is and what she likes.
The following are a few more of Jay’s Action Points for Husbands on Valentine’s Day, taken straight out of chapter 7 of his book. (And if you are unmarried, be sure to read this article about creating a special Valentine’s Day for your kids.)
1. If you find yourself gravitating toward cards that read more like apologies than love notes, consider it a wake-up call. For instance: “I know I don’t say it enough … but I really do love you.”
If this is the card you picked out, beware: Hallmark isn’t going to make your subpar marriage “all peachy keen,” writes Jay. So follow Jay’s advice: If you are drawn to these “apology” cards, consider it a wake-up call and make a promise to your wife, your family, and yourself to change. You might want to include a note on the inside that says something like this: “Sweetheart, consider this my wake up call. I am no longer going to take you for granted. I pledge to put your needs before my needs and I give you permission to hold me accountable.”
2. “Don’t expect to walk into a florist at the last minute and be taken seriously. One year, I tried to place an order on February 12th and got laughed at. Consider yourself lucky if you are able to find a pre-assembled bouquet that isn’t dead or smashed,” says Jay.
3. “Candy is a highly questionable gift for all kinds of reasons,” writes Jay, adding that his local supermarket had two-for-one chocolates on sale last year. Unless your wife isn’t trying to get (or stay) in shape, don’t buy chocolate. If you do buy chocolate, don’t get it from the supermarket. Buy high-quality chocolate that you know she loves. You better know whether she likes dark or milk chocolate, her favorite kind of truffle, and what brand she prefers. Otherwise, skip the box of chocolates – it’s a little cliché and impersonal.
4. Help your kids buy a card or gift for their mom. This serves a two-fold purpose: First, it tells her that you place her as a high priority. As important, it tells your children how important your wife is, and this goes a long way toward modeling healthy relationships.
5. “You do have permission to buy some nice flattering, comfy jammies for [your wife on] Valentine’s Day,” writes Jay. Just don’t get anything too revealing or flamboyant. Make sure you pick out something “naughty” (in the good way) enough to “let her know that you think of her as attractive, irresistible and the love of your life.” But don’t go overboard – this is a gift for your wife, not for you!
Here are Jay’s final words on the subject: “Being thoughtful on February 14, doesn’t let you off the hook the other 364 days of the year.”
So husbands: Get your act together and get your shopping done this weekend! And be sure to let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment below.
Carey Casey is the CEO of the National Center for Fathering, a nonprofit organization dedicated to changing the culture of fathering in America by enlisting 6.5 million fathers who to make the Championship Fathering Commitment. NCF believes that every child needs a dad they can count on, and uses its resources to inspire and equip men to be the involved fathers, grandfathers and father figures their children need. Subscribe to his weekly email tip by clicking here: “Yes! I want tips on how to be a great dad who loves, coaches, mentors, and inspires my children.”