5 Rules of Relationship Gift Giving

Follow these five rules so you don't embarass yourself when picking a gift for your significant other.

QDT Editor
3-minute read

Giving the gift of drummers drumming, pipers piping, lords-a-leaping, ladies dancing, maids-a-milking, a flock of assorted birds, and a pear tree to your true love would be more likely to win you a restraining order than lasting affection these days. While the golden rings are a pretty good gift, a cacophony of loud and messy creatures is probably not very high on the average person’s holiday wish list. 

Here are some guidelines to ensure that this gift-giving season is a success for you and your loved ones.

Rule #1: Thought Still Counts for Something

Your significant other can often be the most difficult person on your list to shop for. While a surprising number of anecdotes regarding gift giving gone wrong seem to indicate that it’s the thought that counts, some people are still left wondering what their loved ones were thinking. We asked professional relationship coaches for some expert advice on common gift-giving mishaps, the significance of the exchange, and advice on how to get gifts right and make the holidays bright.

Rule #2: Consider Your Audience

“Before we got married, my husband gave me a coffee mug that read ‘trophy wife.’ He thought I would take it as a compliment but since I'm very much about equality in a relationship, it didn't go over well. Plus, he doesn't exactly fit the criteria of wealthy, older husband either,” said Cheryl D. 

You know the whole “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” phenomenon? Yeah, that’s definitely a thing when it comes to gift giving. Part of the problem may be a true difference in perspective.

Relationship expert Hunt Ethridge explains, “Women are more emotionally in tune and in depth. So, many times, gift giving is very important to them as it can show just how in touch with your partner you are. It’s not about the gift itself, it’s more about ‘Look how much I listen to you, observe your actions, infer your likes and go way out of my way to make you happy!’”

More than anything, most people want to feel seen and heard—here’s your chance to show you’ve been listening.