DB and I got engaged spontaneously. He asked me to move in with him, I said no because I wouldn’t play house, so he proposed. Within a few days, we had a date, place, and band (my mom moves quick). The ring took a bit longer. It was two months and a couple of Ooh, let’s see the ring, well, we got engaged spontaneouslys later before I got a ring.
That has been the gift pattern ever since. I must have known this even then, because I do remember not wanting to get married in May because, I teased, he would try to get away with one gift for my birthday, Mother’s Day, and our anniversary. We got married in June and he still does that.
He says that I’m too particular, and that I’m too hard to buy for. If I’m so particular, I always answer, then you should feel honored that I picked you. Really, if he buys me a gift, I rarely return it. He’s hit the jackpot (Broadway tickets) and he’s given some clunkers (grandma pajamas), but his memory sticks with things like the watch I didn’t like, not the watch he gave me years ago that I loved (that got stolen at the pool two summers ago and hence the new watch I didn’t like).
And I swear gifts don’t have to be expensive: once he got me a heating pad with herbs and cinnamon inside it. He knows strong scents give me headaches (therefore he can’t give me perfume), but he thought that the natural smells would be good for me. I’m not sure he’s ever heard the girly word aromatherapy, but he was right. It’s years later and I love that thing, still.
On the rare occasions when he totally surprises me, it’s usually a great present: this Hannuka, he got me diamond stud earrings. I didn’t ask, never said I wanted them, he just felt like it. Great!
But this year for Mother’s Day he was away. And my birthday was six days later. And today it’s been six days since then. And still no present for either occasion. Ouch.
When I mentioned it a couple days ago – and in front of his mother (I’m sorry, I know it was a low blow but my feelings were hurt) – he basically called me greedy and never satisfied.
Not wanting to be seen as greedy is what kept me silent when we were first engaged. I felt uncomfortable reminding him that I would really like to have an enagement ring; it didn’t feel “nice,” and I thought I was being a better person not defering to that baser instinct of wanting an expensive item from him to prove his love.
But doing that just stuffs down the feelings of being uncared about and unacknowledged. And that’s what presents of any kind (and maybe especially engagement rings) are really about: acknowledgment and appreciation.
So I hit my dilemma again: remind him that I would like to be acknowledged (and really, the price of the gift wouldn’t matter as long as he avoids the dollar store) or try and be “above” wanting presents. Guess what, I’m not above it.
And he’s got just under a month until our 17th anniversary.