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Struggling for the Perfect Anniversary Gift
Feel like you canít match your spouseís superior gift-giving abilities? Donít worry. Our expert offers simple ways to make every occasion a home run.


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Don't let your struggles for the perfect gift stop you from trying to surprise your spouse.


A lack of communication breeds assumptions of what the other is thinking or feeling; and assumptions are, more often than not, incorrect. ”
I was recently delighted with a special surprise evening. For our 20-year wedding anniversary, my husband insisted on planning a "Johnny Walker Surprise" that was not revealed to me until we reached the destination. (Yes, my husband's name really is Johnny Walker).

"A surprise? But, I don't like surprises," I replied. I say that, often, yet I have never actually encountered a surprise of his that I didn't like.

So, why do I whine that I don't like them?

Maybe because he is far better at making special plans than I am? He is a prodigy when it comes to planning special evenings or presenting special gifts.

When I try to think of things to plan on my own, or gifts to buy or make him, everything I come up with in my head simply withers beneath the towering shadows of the awesomeness that is Johnny Walker.

Simply put, my brain says, "It's not good enough."

I have struggled with this dilemma for years. Some years, I may overcome this delusion I've somehow created for myself, but I still struggle somewhat. But, at times in the past, I'd become so overwhelmed by attempting to plan something special or trying to come up with a special gift that I wasn't even able to pick out a simple greeting card.

I had become cursed with the words that the "Misty mind" was insistent upon repeating, "It's not good enough. It's not good enough."

Don't get me wrong. It's not at all about trying to compete with his plans or his gifts. It's all about my head saying, "It's not good enough... for him."

The "Misty mind" complex began when our relationship did, 23 years ago. He is the world to me, and it's hard for me to come up with a surprise or a gift that can stand up to something so profound.

What's interesting is that for my friends, picking out a card or a gift is easy. Of course, they are special to me as well, but they are not my dear husband.

Devastation Through Paralysis

Without knowing the reasons behind the non-actions for special days, you can imagine the hurt that this can inflict on one's spouse; the husband watches his wife quickly and easily pick out special gifts for friends, and for him, there is nothing when it comes around to his special day.

Without communication, one spouse's internal complex can inadvertently subject the other spouse to their own internal complex. A lack of communication breeds assumptions of what the other is thinking or feeling; and assumptions are, more often than not, incorrect.

If you have difficulty thinking of special surprises or gifts for your spouse, don't let yourself become overwhelmed with the decisions and just take it one step at a time. If you have issues with "Misty mind," as I do, allow yourself plenty of extra time to think about it. Putting it off until the last minute will only make it harder for you.

If your spouse is one that seldom buys things for themselves, but you often hear them say, "Oh, I like that!" You can simply keep a running list of things you've heard them comment on. By the time a special day rolls around, you'll have a whole list of things to choose from and can choose one that would be appropriate for the occasion at hand.

Some spouses may be quite hard to buy for simply because if they want something, they've already bought it for themselves by the time a special occasion comes around. So expand your options.

Your running list can also include places your spouse has mentioned they would like to go or maybe specific activities that they've expressed an interest in doing.

"Doing," rather than "buying" may also be an alternative option for you when you want to do something for your love on a special date or occasion such as anniversaries or birthdays.

The Big Reveal

For my special "Johnny Walker Surprise," I was only given a suggestion of appropriate attire for the evening. (Of course, that's one of the first things that I asked when I was told it was a surprise. "Well, what should I wear?")

Our first stop was dinner at a restaurant that I had been wanting to patronize. At the end of our meal, I was presented with a special anniversary cake for dessert. On top was a beautiful porcelain topper of a husband and wife that, together, formed the number 20, the number of years we've been married.

In secret, he had gotten the cake and topper separately and took them to the restaurant earlier that day. I also received a nice anniversary card.

Following dinner, we were off to our second destination of the evening and I was surprised with a special overnight getaway at the Hilton. Our room was adorned with rose petals on the bed, champagne, grapes, strawberries, and chocolates (as well as chips, salsa, and soda in case I wanted a snack later). He had even secretly packed an overnight bag for me.

When you put it all together, it could be seen as just dinner and a room at a hotel. I would have been happy with a picnic in the park and a trip to Target to grab rainbow socks for bowling. It's not the amount of money you spend or where you go, it's the effort, and it's the surprise.

Don't let the "Misty mind" fool you... it is good enough.

Misty Lynn Walker had endured a lifetime of tragedy by the time she was five years old. A missing person's case, a horrible car accident, and a losing battle with leukemia had taken her Mother, Father, and only sister in two year intervals. After marrying her high school sweetheart in 1991, making a family of her own, doing a stint of stand-up comedy, and writing a book (non-fiction) "Little Misty: My Big Red Button," she shares her thoughts and life experiences. For more about Misty, visit "Mistyís Big Red Button".

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