I wanted to write a little bit about this today, sinceFather’s Day was just last week.  My husband did great when we were dating with exchanging gifts during holidays, but after marriage, it’s been difficult for him to feel comfortable receiving gifts from me on holidays.  I don’t think this is all that unusual.  We know that the masculine energy is a giving/generous energy–and haven’t we all heard our moms tell us not to ever give a gift to a man that’s worth more than the one he’s giving you? (I think that’s one of the “Rules” isn’t it?).  I’ve had several male friends of mine privately share with me over the years their discomfort when women give them elaborate gives.  It makes the relationship feel unbalanced for very masculine men, and tends to make them less interested in giving.  Our role as women is to receive and then give back.  But how do you do that when the holidays come around?

I want to suggest that the type of holiday may make a difference–and whether your man is giving something to you as well.  This past first year of our marriage I’ve learned a lot about my masculine energy man.  M is very much a giver and caretaker.  I made the mistake of giving him a gift on a holiday last year when he wasn’t planning on giving me a present but wanted to pay for a really elegant dinner.  It just made him feel even worse when I handed him a brightly-wrapped gift box.  I was excited to see how he liked it (and of course he loved it), but I wasn’t sensitive to how it made him feel to have nothing for me in return.  He had purchased flowers,  a card, had planned dinner…but for him, the present felt like he had forgotten something he should have done.  Of course, I love giving gifts and wouldn’t care whether I ever get something or not.  But it made him feel like he screwed up.

It has worked out well on the holidays where only he can receive gifts: Father’s Day and his birthday.  There’s no expectation set that he should have something for me.  On reciprocal days, Valentines, our anniversary, Easter, Christmas, I’ve learned what to do with a masculine energy man.  If you want to give him a gift and don’t know what he’s planning, there are two ways to tackle it.  Either way works for a man like M.

The first option works best.  You can buy a card and give it to him any time of the day.  Cards aren’t really considered valuable gifts, but some of them can be quite beautiful (even expensive) and the words you write can mean more than a gift.  I’ve found that M treasures a card even more than a gift.

The second option is to buy something and give it to your man after he gives you a gift.  This way feels much more like “giving back” from your side and you haven’t disrupted the balance between you as man and woman. You just wait for him, and after thanking him for your gift, you can tell him you have something special for him as well.  The only way you can throw this off is if you have bought something an order of magnitude nicer or more expensive than what you’ve received.  Sometimes we want so badly to give them something we want them to have that we forget it would make anyone feel bad to receive a gift so much better than what they gave.  If you have a special item you really want him to have, the best solution is to wait for a holiday like his birthday when the “exchange” psychology doesn’t come into play.

It may seem counter intuitive, but most men really do prefer to be the givers in relationships.  The challenge on our part is allowing them to play that role.  As modern women and mothers, we are so good at caretaking that we forget or feel bad about playing the receiver part in our romantic livesBut if we can, the interaction stays balanced and we can experience their delight in being the caretaker.  You’ll be surprised at how relaxing it is to connect with and enjoy your true role in a relationship.


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