worst gifts to give a woman

The 5 Worst Gifts to Give Your Wife

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While Tony Stark, a.k.a. Ironman, is a technological genius, he is a terrible gift giver. If you’re looking for the worst gifts to give a woman, follow his lead. In Ironman 2, he brings Pepper Potts strawberries. When she explains to him that she is allergic to strawberries, Tony replies, “This is progress, Pepper. I knew there was a correlation between you and this.”

The right gift lets your wife know you know her and you’ve been paying attention.

While Tony’s challenges to give a good gift to Pepper make us laugh, for many men, this struggle is very real. Getting your wife the right gift builds your relationship. The right gift lets your wife know you know her and you’ve been paying attention. Getting her the wrong gift can have the opposite effect. To help us all avoid Tony’s mistakes, here are 5 of the worst gifts to give your wife.

1. The Gift You Want

Gift-giving is an opportunity to think of the wants and needs of another in the place of our own. There can be a temptation, though, to get something for your wife that’s actually something you want. This could be an upgrade to the den where you spend more time than she does or a fishing rod even though she never goes fishing. Whatever it might be, buying her the gift you want tells your wife that you’re not thinking of her but of yourself.

2. Self-Help Books or Fitness Equipment

In the midst of daily life together, it’s possible your wife has mentioned some aspect of her life that she wants to improve. Maybe she’s even said she’s considering a particular self-help book or piece of exercise equipment. You can—if your family’s budget allows—go ahead and buy these for her. Just don’t make it the gift you give on a special occasion. Instead of telling her “I love you” with your gift, you risk instead sending her a message that you wish she were different.

3. Makeup or Clothes

It’s possible that one of your wife’s favorite things could be makeup or new clothes. But these can be among the worst gifts to give to a woman. In the same way that a self-help book risks sending the message that we wish she acted differently, makeup and clothes can send the message that we wish she looked different. A better option is to make sure there’s room in the budget so she can spoil herself from time to time. If makeup or clothes is really the gift you want to give, consider giving her a gift card for them. And offer to go with her when she uses it.

4. Thoughtless Gifts

When I worked in retail, I marveled at the change in whom I would see coming into our store as we got closer and closer to Christmas. By the time we got to Christmas Eve, almost only men were still shopping. At times, a man would walk in and say “I need something for _____.” They would then buy the first thing presented to them, regardless of what it was or what it cost. When we buy gifts in this way for our wives, gift-giving becomes just another chore and not an opportunity to express our love for her.

5. Cliché Gifts

There are a number of cliché gifts men buy for women, like flowers and chocolate, which we usually buy as a request for forgiveness. While these have their place as gifts, they risk falling into the category of a thoughtless gift, chosen simply because you couldn’t think of something else. Instead of only giving her chocolate or flowers, consider giving one of these in addition to something else you’ve picked out deliberately to show you love and care for your bride and are attentive to her.

Sound off: What’s the worst (or best) gift you’ve given your wife?

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?”