A friend of mine and her husband came to visit the other night and the conversation cantered around the Christmas season. I asked her what her husband was going to give her for Christmas and I would like to share her response.
My friend said that she was not expecting the traditional gift such as jewellery, the latest technology or furniture from her husband. I asked her to explain as I was not sure where she was going with her statement. She said that the best gift she looks forward too is her husband helping with the different Christmas activities such as:
- assistance with the cleaning of the house
- preparation of food – cutting up of vegetables and seasoning
- monitoring the food on the stove and in the oven
- washing the dirty pots and dishes
Just being around the house and helping out. One Christmas, her husband said to her “gosh hon, I have not bought your Christmas gift as yet, I have been so busy helping out”, her response was “no need to worry yourself, you have given me the best Christmas gift of all – your help”.
After my friend and her husband left, I found myself reflecting on her words. I thought that this really was an amazing perspective on the giving of Christmas “gifts” between a husband and wife.
Then I thought, this gift of “giving of one’s time” should be provided year round and not just at Christmas time.
Gary Chapman tells a story of a wife who felt that her husband did not love her because he was not fully present in times that she felt were important. He tells us that the best gift is the gift of self: “Physical presence in the time of crisis is the most powerful gift you can give if your spouse primary love language is receiving gifts” (p. 79).
One can’t give of self without giving of one’s time. A willingness to give should always be fuelled by an unselfish desire to give without any thought of getting something in return. Even so, those you help will often express gratitude. Once your heart is touched by the grateful appreciation of another, you will be hooked on giving. The experience of receiving on that level expands your heart and changes your sense of identity. In some very tangible and amazing ways, giving is truly a gift.
As a wife and mother, I look forward to when my husband and son would say to me “I can see that there is a lot to be done today, what can I do to assist you?”.
Published: Sunday Guardian, Sunday 16 December 2012