As a service to my loyal readers (both of you) I would like to share some husband-lore I have gathered over three decades of marital bliss. There is no need to thank me (at least until you read my column), I am happy to share what I know.
To quote a famous politician of our day, "The unknown is known to us and the known sometimes remains unknown." I have no idea what that means but I think it applies in this instance.
If my guess is correct, there still are some husbands wrestling with that infamous "unknown" - what to get your wife for Christmas. You are down to the last few days of the Christmas shopping season and have yet to come up with some kind of idea as to what to purchase for her.
Let me remind you this is the most important purchase of your marital career. Screw up here and the rest of the year is kaput! If you know what I mean.
Your wife's Christmas present is second only to her birthday present. Woe be unto the husband who confuses the two. I can never forget my wife's birthday. It comes two days after mine. If she forgets mine, I forget hers.
If she remembers mine, I still have a day to run out and get something equivalent to the present she bought me. Nothing could be more convenient. I knew there was something about my wife I liked.
Christmas presents are another story. My entire year rests upon this one acquisition.
Here may be the one tip you get this year that will keep on giving you dividends throughout the New Year.
Begin with a short conversation with your wife. Here's the secret: if you start the conversation, the novelty of it will knock her off her guard.
Simply tell your wife, "Honey, I really don't know what to get you for Christmas this year. What do you want?"
With her guard down, she won't know what to say and will respond with something like, "Darling, that's okay. It's the thought that counts."
When she says this, you're in trouble. The novice husband might think she means, "It's the thought that counts."
Contraire, mon frére.
What she is really saying is; "It's what I think about it that matters." And believe me, it really does.
First, you can never go wrong with clothes, that is, if you know how to go about buying clothes for your wife. Most husbands don't and get into no end of trouble in this department. If you don't do it right, you could lose your shirt.
When you purchase that sweater or skirt, wrap it in a big colorful package. Use plenty of wrapping paper, because the wrapping is almost as important as the gift inside.
Anticipation is your friend. Use it to your advantage in this instance, with layer after layer of wrapping paper.
Here is an important tip. Never put the gift under the tree for more than two days before Christmas. Wives can unwrap a present and rewrap it without even Santy knowing it. I've never figured out how they do it, I just know they do. This would sabotage your plan.
Ideally, place the Christmas present under the tree the night before Christmas.
Now, the stage is set for the final phase of wife gift-giving 101.
When you give her that Christmas present on Christmas morning, say as you hand it to her, "Honey, when I saw this I was reminded of the first time I saw you and fell in love."
She'll stop and look at you with tears in her eyes.
At this point, the novice husband thinks he's on a roll and will feel the need to elaborate.
Any further comment on your part could undo this carefully laid plan. You've thrown the ball into her court, now let her take the ball from there. Believe me, she'll know what to do.
Some guidance on purchasing that garment is in order. Be careful the garment is not one size too small. She'll think she's gaining weight and there goes the Christmas dinner and the New Year's dinner you've been dreaming about for months.
Also, make sure it does not fit perfectly. If it does, she'll wear it to the next social function and tell everyone the story behind it and believe me, she will add details to the story you've never thought of, let alone said.
The garment must be at least two sizes too big. This is crucial.
As she tries the garment on say, "Oh, my dear. You must be losing weight. It's a good thing I've kept the receipt so you can exchange it tomorrow."
Now, everyone wins. You've bought a Christmas present she likes.
She thinks she's losing weight. (This by itself is worth a fortune to any husband.)
And, most important, she gets to return something to the store; a goal of all wives at Christmas. If you don't believe me, go to the mall the day after Christmas.
Fortunately, for all concerned, God's way of giving is not so complicated.
The Bible is explicit in declaring God's love. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16 KJV.)
God's gift cannot be earned, only received. "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9 KJV.)
God's gift is sure to please everyone.
The Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, 1471 Pine Road in Silver Springs Shores. He lives with his wife, Martha, in Silver Springs Shores and can be contacted by calling 687-4240. Rev. Snyder's Christmas book, "Christmas Through A Parsonage Window," is available. Call for details. His e-mail address is Jamessnyder2@worldnet.att.net. The church web site is www.whatafellowship.com.