8 Christmas Gift Ideas That Can Save Your Marriage

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christmas gift

If you’re a married man, celebrate Christmas and don’t already know what gift you’re giving your wife, I’m inclined to make two assumptions about you:

  1. You can benefit from this blog post because you are probably a me-focused shitty husband like I was; and,
  2. You probably don’t know (and maybe even actively deny) there’s a problem with your marriage.

This post is my gift to you.

Because if you’re the kind of guy totally bewildered as to why your wife gets upset with you OR are the kind of guy who secretly knows he’s shortchanging his marriage and would like to step up his efforts to be a better man, these eight gifts to your wife will change your entire life. In a good way.

“What’s the catch?” You got me, smarty! There’s always a catch.

You might think of gifts as something you give your wife Christmas morning, and then move on, not thinking about them again. These are not those kinds of gifts.

These gifts require you to change yourself, perhaps radically so, every day for the rest of your life. And maybe that scares you because it sounds hard, you don’t like change, and you already have enough difficulty in your life.

Here’s my promise to you: Divorce is more difficult and introduces more life change than these behavior changes will. The substantial reward you feel inside you because you stepped up as a better husband and father—a better man—and the reward you feel when your wife begins treating you differently in return (with genuine admiration, appreciation, and sexual desire), will more than compensate for whatever you might feel you’re giving up in the process.

All wives want thoughtful, meaningful gifts from their husbands.

All wives who are mothers crave attention from adults (especially from their husbands), and also quality time for themselves.

In a way, these gifts are just as much for you as they are for her. Because when you give these gifts from a place of unselfish love and sincerity, she will regularly feel as if you’re providing the thoughtfulness and meaningfulness she seeks. She will feel like you are paying attention to her and she will have more time to herself. Afterward, your wife will love you, respect you, trust you, appreciate you, and want you more than you’ve ever felt before.

I promise it’s true.

8 Christmas Gifts For Your Wife That Will Change Your Lives Forever

1. Six-Second Hugs

Yale Law graduate and former U.S. Supreme Court clerk Gretchen Rubin figured out what every smart person does sooner or later: Feeling happy is a human being’s top priority. You might not think so. You might think making money or having sex or achieving goals or having fun is. But stop and think for a second. What you actually like is how it feels when you have fun, get money, orgasm, or achieve goals.

Chemicals produced by your brain are what make people feel good. The three linked to feelings of happiness are: oxytocin, serotonin and dopamine. There are many ways to naturally (and artificially) get your brain to release these “happy chemicals.” One of the easiest ways is to simply prolong your hugs for a few seconds. Hugging for six seconds (not four, not five—SIX!) releases these chemicals in your body, and that of the person you’re hugging. Make that person your wife. Six-second hugs. Every day.

2. Don’t Be a Dick

You are sometimes a dick to your buddies. It’s cool because they give it right back to you. It’s a cultural male-bonding ritual, and by giving one another shit, we show our friends they are accepted into our tribe. Once in a while, we stumble on a girl who likes this too. Often, she grew up with all brothers, has mostly male friends, or is naturally wired for “tomboy”-ish interests. We like to call these women the “cool girls,” and we wonder why more women aren’t like that.

The answer is the same reason some people have brown skin while others have light skin, or why some people have different hair and eye color: Human beings have naturally occurring chemical and genetic differences outside of our control. So. STOP PUNISHING YOUR WIFE FOR BEING DIFFERENT THAN YOU.

When you make snide, critical, biting remarks, or call her names, you likely make her feel really shitty. This might confuse you because it’s cool when you do it with your friends, and she should totally understand that by now!

Read this, and NEVER forget it: Your wife, through no fault of her own—just like people with different skin and eye color—feels TOTALLY different than your buddies on the golf course, in your fantasy league, or at the office, do when you crack on them.

Use positive, kind, loving language toward your wife. Always. Especially when she’s upset and you really have to man up and swallow your pride to do so.

That’s what heroes do. The right thing, even when it’s challenging and inconvenient.

3. Prolonged Eye Contact for Compliments and Saying “I Love You”

I have a son in second grade. Maybe you have kids also. Sometimes, when you talk to them, they don’t hear what you’re saying because they’re playing a video game or building something with Legos and thinking: Maybe if I don’t answer and just keep doing this, mom and dad will shut up and go away! You know? Just like you do when you’re playing Call of Duty or watching football, and your wife interrupts from the other room.

It really pisses you off when your kid isn’t listening, so you give them the Dad Voice® or put their face between your two hands and sort of force them to hold your gaze. You do this so that you can be confident they are fully hearing and understanding what you’re saying.

You need to do that same thing (minus Dad Voice®) when you say “I love you” to your wife, or pay her a compliment.

Maybe you can take her hands in yours, or put your hands on her shoulders while you hold her gaze. It’s IMPORTANT that she knows you really mean the words coming out of your mouth.

“No. I don’t think you’re hearing me. Please. Hear this. Feel this. Know that I mean it: You are [insert special thing about your wife here], and I love so much that you [insert special things she does here]. You’re awesome. You’re beautiful. I couldn’t love or appreciate you more,” you say, in your own authentic and sincere way while maintaining eye contact.

Every day. EVERY day. When you say something kind and meaningful to her meant to convey your love and appreciation, make the extra effort to make sure your message is being properly received.

4. Send Flirty Texts

There are a million reasons your wife might not feel sexy or desirable. And some of those things are NOT your fault. But as a man who vowed to faithfully love her forever, in good times and bad, it IS your responsibility (and hopefully, your pleasure) to make your wife feel good. Remember the “Your wife is different than you” speech from before? That applies equally to her sexual chemistry, and your life will be INFINITELY better sexually if you figure this out. (This book, even though it’s largely about dating, will be a great resource for you, but make DAMN SURE you openly communicate with your wife about why you want to read it.)

One of the ways your wife isn’t different from you sexually is that she likes feeling pursued. Desired. Wanted.

When you get one of those random and inconvenient Tuesday-afternoon erections at work because of the lunar cycle or whatever? That’s an excellent time to let her know you’re thinking about her, physically.

She likes knowing that, instead of working diligently, you’re hard and achy at the office thinking about her. Tell her: “Babe. I’m seriously trying to work here, but I can’t stop thinking about that noise you make when my tongue slides up your inner thigh. I’ll understand (and behave like an adult, even though I’ll secretly want to die) if it doesn’t work for you tonight. But I’d really, really, really like to hear you make that noise later. And maybe do a few other things.”

While I’d never insult you by suggesting I know how to make your wife feel good physically, I might be able to help you with the text-flirting part. If you want to talk about it, fire me a note.

5. The Next-Best Thing to “I Got This”

“I got this,” followed by you completely taking care of something big or small so that your wife doesn’t have to, is the sexiest thing you can possibly do for her.

But you’re a guy, and your energy levels can swing wildly, and it’s really hard to be sexy 100-percent of the time, so here’s the next-best thing you can do: Ask your wife every morning (or every weekend about the entire week): “What can I do today that will be the biggest help to you?”

It’s VERY IMPORTANT that you recognize how bullshit it is that you’re asking this in the first place, so you might want to apologize while doing so. Simply asking this question demonstrates to your wife that you mentally default to a position of believing life management for your entire household falls to her. That you expect her to be “in charge” of organizing everyone’s lives—from keeping the schedule, maintaining the calendar, running errands, to making sure your kids have what they need for school, or your pets are properly cared for.

It’s an unfair burden your wife inherited by virtue of both of you being raised by mothers who did this without openly questioning the unfairness of that responsibility balance.

Maybe next year, you can graduate to “I got this,” and begin anticipating your wife and family’s needs without someone telling you what needs done next. In the meantime, asking your wife with heartfelt sincerity and appreciation for all she does, how you can be most helpful to her will enhance the bond between the two of you in ways that will reward your marriage, and all those connected to it, for the rest of your lives. Also, when she says “please vacuum the living room” or “fold the laundry” or “put the dishes away,” you actually do those things as well as you possibly can without complaining about it.

6. Listen to Her Without Trying to Fix Anything Unless She Asks For Your Help

This is VERY hard for me. I don’t know if it’s because of my ADHD brain, or my Y chromosome. But I have a very, very, very difficult time silently and patiently listening to someone tell me a story I didn’t ask to hear because I’m naturally disinterested in the subject matter, or because it has no impact on my life and seems pointless, or because I feel like I have an easy solution for the storyteller that will both end the discussion AND solve their problem.

This goes back to that whole she’s-totally-different-than-you stuff. Your brain and body are telling you that you don’t care. She’s talking to you about something. And, no matter what, you can’t care about it. You don’t choose to be disinterested. You just are. You can’t help it.

But THIS is your gift to your wife.

And the only thing you need to do? Look her in the eye and pay attention to what she’s saying. Here’s the reason to care about her otherwise-mundane story: Because she cares. This MATTERS to her. Maybe the story does, maybe it doesn’t. But the physical act of sharing the story, and having someone respect her enough—especially you—to pay attention without judgment or invalidating her feelings or opinions, is an activity that really matters to her. Being present with her and listening to her while she discusses these things you don’t care about makes her feel good in ways you can never understand because you are not like her. But so long as you understand that it DOES make her feel good, and that you like to make her feel good, you can practice patient, attentive listening with your wife.

As a nice bonus, doing so will make her want to play with your penis much more, and divorce you much less.

7. Unleash Adventurous Intimacy

This one’s tricky.

You might not understand this, because you might not understand (or believe) that your wife is unhappy. Maybe you don’t ask her about it, and you don’t make her feel safe enough to tell you. So you both just wear masks all the time, pretending in your own house and to the outside world that everything in your marriage is great, even when it’s not.

You might already have an adventurous sex life, not realizing your wife doesn’t feel comfortable, safe, trusting, or emotionally connected to you. If your wife feels alone in her marriage—the most-common marriage crime men make without realizing it—she starts questioning whether you love her, wondering whether you’re still attracted to her, and whether she can trust you (with life’s responsibilities as well as sexual faithfulness). These insecurities make her feel afraid. When she feels alone and afraid, she loses her sexual interest in you. If you want to give her the gift of sexual adventures, I hope you’ll trust me when I tell you that the path to uniquely adventurous orgasms begins with her emotional wellbeing.

But maybe you’re already an awesomely thoughtful guy. Maybe you were raised in a totally conservative, traditional, small-town environment like me. And maybe you just naturally feel uncomfortable having unfiltered and totally honest conversations with your wife about sex.

That’s fine. Just be brave enough to ask her about it. To assure her that you will not judge her no matter what she says.

And devote your attention to those things.

There is almost no limit to the depths this can go, and everyone’s psychological bent is going to dictate their particular interests. The only thing I know for sure is that if you’re completely honest with one another (and it’s the first time you have been), you WILL discover something new and exciting that can turn a random Wednesday night into a mind-blowing adventure.

Can we have too many of those?


8. Eliminate Behavior That Makes Her Feel Inadequate

Comedian Louis C.K. has a hilarious bit about how being behind the wheel of a car brings out the very worst of his personality. That’s when he’s the worst version of himself, he says.

To illustrate the point, he tells a common story of someone on the highway merging into traffic in front of him, and him yelling from inside his car with the windows up: “Hey! Fuck you! You worthless piece of shit!” Which he points out is a horrible thing to say to another person. “That’s someone’s son!” he says, before describing how that same thing would be much less likely to happen in an elevator. If someone cracks their elbow into yours while getting on an elevator, Louis C.K. says exactly zero people would ever put their face right up to the other person’s and say: “Hey! Fuck you! Worthless piece of shit!”

It’s funny because it’s true.

It’s important because this applies to your marriage.

No matter how “cool” you think your wife is RE: your physical attraction to other women you see on TV or at a restaurant or wherever, I promise you, she never wants to feel feelings of inadequacy.

Pornography is psychologically damaging to your mind and your marriage in ways you don’t fully understand and will likely deny. Someday, we can discuss those things.

Meanwhile, pornography and even just your ogling of women, or careless comments to your friends when you didn’t think she could hear you about how much you desire some woman that’s not your wife, WILL give her feelings of inadequacy. That her physical beauty and overall sexuality is not good enough to satisfy her husband. It will make her feel bad. When your wife feels bad, your relationship suffers. (And also, your wife feels bad! It’s healthy to want to fix that.)

Stop jerking off at your family computer or with your phone in the bathroom. Direct that sexual energy toward the actual human being who, if you treat her right and make her feel good, will provide an actual vagina for you to enjoy.


Stop saying things around her suggesting you wish you could have sex with other women. That a stranger you know nothing about somehow appeals more to you than the person who sacrifices daily for you. It’s a dickhead thing to do.

Besides, she probably watched Magic Mike and wanted Channing Tatum and/or Matthew McConaughey and/or both at the same time a lot more than she does, you, and thoughtfully never mentioned it.

But if you start giving these gifts to your wife? Every day?

Generously? With authentic, heartfelt sincerity?

Tatum and McConaughey wouldn’t have a chance.

Because you will be all she could ever want or need.

And since you already promised her to be just that, why not get started right now?

18 thoughts on “8 Christmas Gift Ideas That Can Save Your Marriage”

  1. So very insightful…and if it is done by just ONE husband, well done! (My ex would have responded with some BS about how I should have a list of ‘to do’s just the same because I was as much a part of the problem…all while doing half ass on a few and all but ignoring the others…but that’s neither here nor there now) well spelled out and actionable…I’m impressed.

    1. Thank you very much for taking the time to read it. It’s long and tedious, which means most people–especially men–are unlikely to read much of it.

      It was super-rushed and poorly written in spots because I just throw this crap up in a hurry too often. But save some poorly constructed sentences, and some incomplete thoughts that could have used more care, I stand by these things.

      I’m extremely confident virtually every marriage–even good ones–could benefit from a husband incorporating one of these behaviors into his daily life.

      Thank you for co-signing. I can’t even tell you how hurried I was writing this, so it’s gratifying to read someone who knows what it’s like to be a wife praise its contents.

      I’m grateful you took the time to do so.

  2. Reblogged this on Tatiana's Garden and commented:
    Calling all men of all ages. . .this is a must read for all husbands and boyfriends wether your a ten or zero in the great husband category. Somehow some way Matt has crawled into our feminine mind and just gets it! Then he writes about it in a way that men hopefully just get it too. . .

    1. Thank you very much for sharing, and endorsing the ideas. It’s nice on a personal level to know I’m on the right track, and it’s nice as the writer, to know I’m not leading any men who might be reading and caring, astray.

      Hope you’re having a great day!

  3. Nice post – as always you are talking to me, personally. How the hell do you do that? Seriously, things are looking up – have already tried some of these ideas. It’s a long road, and it took years to get here. Rome was not built in a day, either. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year – Peace on Earth and Goodwill toward men.

    1. Thank you, sir! I think anyone writing honestly and digging beneath the surface a little ends up striking some kind of chord with other people.

      Yes, we are all special and unique snowflakes. Sure.

      But also, we’re all human beings, and generally have the same basic wants, needs and motivations.

      I think it’s important to share ideas and stories and pleasures and pains positive experiences and negative ones so that other people can benefit in some way from it.

      Most people don’t, and never will, care.

      But it seems like there’s often someone who does.

      Thank you for caring a little. I really appreciate you reading and leaving a comment, and I hope you have a very happy and blessed holidays, good sir.

  4. Well dang! Don’t kill the poor woman. Just do one thing on that list or you might shock her whole system and she could keel over. 😉

    Seriously though Matt, every one of those things on that list not only create that intimacy, relationship, connection, that so many wives desperately need to feel, but they all create female sexual desire. Perhaps not immediately, but over time.

    You really nailed it here, “When she feels alone and afraid, she loses her sexual interest in you.”

  5. Thank you so much. I obviously don’t “know.” I just think. And it’s nice to read people say that they think these ideas are all correct and true.

    The more people say it, the more anyone reading might feel the nudge to try a little harder and communicate a little more effectively.

    That alone might be enough for some couples.

    Thank you for reading and leaving this note.

    1. Yeah. Way too long. If I wrote like an adult–you know, first drafts followed by thoughtful edits and revisions–instead of just spitballing whatever pops into my head like a child, I may actually learn how to effectively communicate some of this stuff one day.

      There’s always hope.

      Thank you for reading it anyway. Twice!

      1. You know I’ve never suggested to my husband that he read your stuff, cuz, preachin to the choir. You guys are remarkably on the same page. I might pass this one along though. I’m kind of curious what his take would be…

  6. Love it! I am in a relationship where my wonderful partner and I do not exchange gifts at times designated by public opinion. Although, we do give each other a lot. physically and emotionally.
    However, I was in a 30 year relationship that was not quite as happy. While ALL the “gifts” suggested by you would be gratefully appreciated by me, #5 “I got this” is the one that resonates with me the most. Perhaps this was because in the early days I didn’t think that he could do some things well enough, and told him so. Perhaps after hearing that a few times, he gave up? I don’t know. But I do know, after three children, I would have liked to hear “I got this” sometime.

  7. Overwhelmingly sad & lonely.

    I hope there’s a version of this (or even a re-post) coming for V-Day.

  8. This is my most favourite of your posts…even better than the shitty husband letters. I think this gives men specific tasks (which I think they need, generally) that are perfect for helping their wives/girlfriends to feel loved, appreciated, cherished, desired and valued. Thank you!

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Matt Fray

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