Monday, May 23, 2011

Being a Gracious Gift Receiver

Engagements begin an onslaught of gift buying and receiving. Which end of the process you are on often depends on who you are in the wedding scenario. If you are a bride or groom, you may be up to your nuptials in wrapping paper. Most of the gifts to you will be from family and friends. However, many couples give gifts to each other, and therein lies the potential for a great token of love to be offered and received -- or feelings to be hurt intensely at an already emotionally-charged time.

In my experience (and after so many years, it is vast and varied)women tend to be the worst offenders when it comes to being lousy recipients of presents. There is a tendency to be a critic of what is being offered, and to ignore the intent of the giver. Of particular annoyance to me is the unrealistic expectation of many brides (probably spurred on by television commercials and the often predatory "wedding industry") over the appropriate size and cost of engagement rings. An engagement ring is a gift. It is a token of love and affection. Being a pill about carat size is not just ungracious -- it's greedy.

I knew one groom who spent weeks shopping for and outfitting a toolbox for his fiancee to carry with her in the trunk of her car when she traveled. He humbled himself and bought "cute" tools, and all kinds of road flares, reflectors, etc. His underlying message was, "I want you to be safe and taken care of no matter where you are." Fortunately, his bride understood his intention, and made a big fuss (in the good sense) over his gift. He loved her, he showed it in his efforts, and she responded with love in return. That's the way it's supposed to go.

It's a rough world, and the way we pay tribute to each other is incredibly important. Try to be sensitive to the underlying motive and message of what your beloved selects not only for an engagement or wedding gift -- but for anniversary presents, Mothers Day, birthdays, etc. I think the saddest words I ever hear anybody say about a spouse -- and one's that are a heads-up for potential problems later on -- are, "She/he never likes anything I do."

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