DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have been married to an amazing man for over two years now. He is very supportive and devoted. Part of how he likes to show his love is by giving me gifts; sometimes these gifts might be considered excessive.
I was taught that giving is a greater virtue than receiving, and while I am very grateful for the gifts, and I’m sure that there are many people who would love to trade places with me, these gestures sometimes make me feel uncomfortable in their excess.
My discomfort is compounded by unsolicited comments from friends and family about his giving nature. When I express to him that he doesn’t need to buy me things or take me on extravagant excursions, he gets upset and says it is how he expresses his love.
I am grateful to have an issue like this when there’s so much worse in the world, but I still want to be able to let my husband know that I don’t need all of this to know how much he loves me. He shows me every day in many ways, and I always make sure to acknowledge these actions.
What advice do you have for me to get over this and just learn to be thankful for such a “problem”? Each time I bring up my feelings about this, it never goes well.
GENTLE READER: The discomfort you feel is nothing compared to that of the husbands among those friends or relatives who forgot Valentine’s Day.
As you recognize, there can be worse marital problems. And unless he is spending the grocery money, your husband is not the problem. The problem is that you are listening to silly, if not catty, remarks and even expecting your husband to change accordingly.
What you should be responding with is a firm, “Yes, he is a dear. I’m very lucky.” And what you should be saying to your husband about these gestures is “thank you.”