I have to wonder why so much attention is given to couples becoming engaged at Christmas time?
According to jewelry ads, and virtually every Hallmark Christmas movie ever made, more couples are engaged at Christmas than at any other time of the year.
Maybe it’s the chance to kill two turtledoves with one stone? The lure of making a diamond the “gift” for that year is just too good? Whatever the reason, it’s a very romantic trope.
What is often lacking, though, is some holly jolly attention to what a very “married” Christmas is really like. Not better. Not worse. Definitely different.
Mr. Wonderful is pretty much a saint. He has his own fans, and everyone finds him easygoing and charming. Obviously, he’s awesome and every day is a fresh joy.
That said, he does tend to struggle with shopping. He has been pretty much spoiled in that my “love language” is “acts of service” far more than “gifts.” Nonetheless, I still like a nice box to unwrap from time to time.
He has in the past given me some amazing gifts. He has been fortunate in having a daughter. From an early age, Girl Wonder took over the care and keeping of mom’s wish list.
Unfortunately, with college and work taking precedence these days, she was not in the house to assist him in shopping this year. Accordingly, he kept asking ME what I wanted for Christmas. Like women since time began, I am prone to “surprise me,” which is not the answer he was hoping for.
Ask for it
My mother once told me, correctly, that “men are terrible at reading minds, but they’re pretty good at doing exactly what they’re told.” Plus, the best way to get what you want is to ask for it. I finally just sent him a link to a watch I might like to have. Nothing crazy. Reasonable price. Remember, I sent him the link, people.
Apparently, and we will glean more detail as the incident is reconstructed as we go to trial, the link would not work for him. Thus, he made the mistake of looking me — the mother of his children and his wife of over two decades — in the eye and uttering the fateful words: “Just go ahead and order your own gift.”
His calling hours will be held at the close of the pandemic. He was a good man, and we will miss him.
That is the kind of mistake no self-respecting boyfriend or girlfriend should ever make. “Here’s some cash, get your own present.” No, baby. It takes marriage to make a man that brave.
A dear friend has also been married for ages. Recently her husband, who usually isn’t insane, tricked her into going hiking. She’s a fit and fun type person, so she agreed to hike “a few miles” in the hills of Tennessee.
They hiked eight miles. Eight. Eight is not a “few.” Eight is an awful lot of miles. My friend was not amused.
Worse, her husband decided he really liked hiking. I’m told he stomped around, swinging his arms and declaring that he felt invigorated. This led to his belief that they were going to become an outdoorsy hiking couple and be invigorated regularly. My friend can now often be heard muttering, “I swear to God if he gives me hiking boots for Christmas …”
Once married, I did muddy the waters of gifting bliss by actually wanting things like a new vacuum cleaner, sofa or remodeling our bathroom to count as our “gifts” to each other. Nothing says “I love you” like a new wax ring.
Add children, and the “very married” Christmas takes on a new look. Mostly the look of surprise on Mr. Wonderful’s face as he was just as surprised as the children were as they opened their gifts on Christmas morning.
He is a wonderful, hardworking man, and his efforts provided the children with many glorious Christmas mornings. He also rarely had much of an idea what they were getting. I was the hunter and gather of the gifts, after all.
We have enjoyed 28 Christmases together. 24 of them married. Each of them more magical than the last. We don’t always get the gift-giving right but the gift of laughing about it is always in style.
Married Christmas to all, and to all a good night!
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