This is a guest post by Duana C. Welch Ph.D., author of “Love Factually: 10 Proven Steps from I Wish to I Do”
Want to give your woman the perfect gift, guys? It’s really not that hard – if you understand the science behind women’s psychology. Here are four simple steps to do just that.
Step 1: Give Symbolically
‘Gary’ wrote me after he’d been swept aside for giving his girlfriend a vacuum cleaner. As he lamented, “She was getting set up in her first apartment on her own, and I wanted her to have something she needed.”
Hoovers are symbolic, of course. But as gifts, they suck. That’s because, for most women, they fail to symbolize love or commitment.
Science shows that we’re all gamblers. Whether you’re male or female, when you pick a mate, you’re hedging your bets that this person will continue to be who you need them to be for a long, long time.
This gambling psychology comes from an ancient past, and the winners passed their thoughts and desires and mate-tests down to us.
Men of the past were betting that their mate would be fertile and faithful. Gifts from women don’t tell a guy much about that — so men should be pretty easy to please, gifts-wise.
And they are.
But women sense the symbolism behind what you give.
And we should. Because we’re gambling on the man’s Commitment. Betting badly can literally be a life-death, success-failure distinction for us and our kids, even now.
Problem? Men’s ability to provide can be viewed on a balance sheet, but your desire to provide, which is far more important, is invisible. So women have to look for indirect signs of that commitment everywhere.
And one of those signs, whether it’s the 12th day of Christmas or our 20th anniversary, is what our true love gives to us.
Step 2: Give Generously
Stinginess conveys an unwillingness to provide that women universally despise. Great gifts are, therefore, never stingy.
But expensive? If you’re in a new(er) relationship, science shows there’s something to it: in worldwide studies, women view a costly gift as a sign of your enduring commitment. Hence the enduring and global popularity of jewelry, especially during courtship. It’s both symbolic and expensive.
Give a gift that shows cost without commitment, though, and you could actually ruin both your bank account and your relationship. One man wrote me that he’d been dumped after he bought a very expensive computer — one that cost more than many engagement rings — for his girlfriend of seven years. His gift basically said, “I could buy you a diamond; I could propose. I just won’t. Ever.”
Step 3. Give Practically?
Unless your darling point-blank asks you to buy her a food processor, major appliance, automotive part, or (worst) gym membership — DON’T. Even if she makes such an unorthodox request, comply while giving something that’s pure luxury, too. The union you save could be your own.
A lot of men love receiving practical gifts. If a guy needs a briefcase or wrench set, he’s pleased to receive it. The end.
Thing is, a lot of men who give dud gifts believe they’re giving great gifts; the women simply don’t see love in the practical gifts a man might appreciate and therefore give. Now is not the time to follow the Golden Rule. Don’t give her what she needs. Give her what she wants.
Step 4. Give Intimately
Of course, some women don’t want to be asked what they want.
If your sweetheart insists on being surprised, she’s asking you to show her that you pay attention to who she is. Select a gift that displays your intimate knowledge of what pleases her as a special and unique individual.
Nothing says “I love you” like “I know you.”
Knowing I love writing, but not sitting, my husband bought me a stand-up desk — the most beautiful, comfortable cherry-wood stand-up desk I’ve ever seen, and much more luxurious than any I would have bought for myself. It was, for me, the perfect gift and made me feel so cherished, because although it was practical, it showed his intimate knowledge of me, plus a generous, committed heart.
Another man knew his wife craved carefree, pampered time with friends, so he bought a weekend spa package for her and her three besties. He undertook all child-care during her absence, and made sure she came back to a clean home and well-attended progeny. I understand this worked out well for him on many levels — several of them sexual.
Upshot? Great gifts speak to women. And what they say is: “I want you, I love you, I notice you, and I know you. Thank you for being in my life.”
If you convey all that and mean it — you’re pretty great, yourself. Happy holidays!