Exchanging Thoughts instead of Things

Marriage has been one of the greatest learning experiences (read: challenges) of my lifetime. Justin and I didn’t know each other all that well when we tied the knot less than a year after we met, so much of our getting-to-know-you time happened in warp speed. Eight years later and I can confidently say that we’re still very much in that phase. That said, I’m not completely sure what I expected from our first Christmas that I celebrated with Justin after Jack was born, but when I opened a box of Brita filters, I was – shall we say – displeased. To this day he insists he had gifted me something else and the filters were simply wrapped, labeled and placed under the tree so that I could have something else to open. We were necessarily frugal at that time, so I appreciated the thought even though I knew I’d never let him live it down.


I love shopping and gift giving. Not necessarily for the acquirement of things, but because I actually just really enjoy the act of looking at new treasures and thinking about how they might change someone’s life or my own in some, however insignificant way. Completely the opposite of me, he hates spending money, and processes each purchase and decision at length. So when it comes to thoughtful, meaningful tokens of love and appreciation, we’ve chosen to go the less traveled route of writing cards and exchanging thoughts instead of things. That’s why, for the fourth time he passed again on the “push present” tradition and wrote me a card when Evangeline was born. I wasn’t expecting him to go on the iPad and choose the kid’s Creatacard app to do it with, but it was really sweet and sentimental. He doesn’t get creative all that often in this way, so it was a lovely surprise.

Walking home from the hospital after having Beau, nearly three years ago.


with Evvie in the hospital last month

Over the years, our differences have divided us, but nothing so intense that those differences didn’t eventually build a bridge right back to each other. It’s taken a lot of listening and really thinking about how our actions and words will make the other person feel. Those Brita filters really broke my heart at one point, but the art of gift giving with my husband has definitely had an impression on our marriage and communication. I love wrapping sentimental gifts up in gorgeous paper and presenting them, while he chooses flowers and cards as the vehicle from his heart.


He went through and picked some photos out from Evvie’s birth for use on the Creatacard app, and then chose to reveal his surprise of going to Le Bernadin while we are in NYC later this year-something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time. I can actually see the time and energy he put into this gift, and that was everything to me. This card will definitely stand out amongst the store-bought versions that I’ve collected from him over the years; my own personal cache of memories and moments throughout our marriage.

Thank you to Creatacard by American Greetings for sponsoring this post, and thank you for reading!

Join the Conversation


  • I have always chosen gifts with care and thought myself, but I know from my last relationship, how much taking the time to put words to paper can mean so much and often even more because they truly come from the heart. What a special person you have to be your husband and best friend in your life’s journey.

  • Getting a husband to give the right gift takes time…lots of it. My husband knows never to pick out a gift for me without checking first with me or my teenage daughter. One of my friends got a George Foreman grill from her husband for Mother’s Day. Furious, she threw it threw the kitchen into the garage. We laugh about it still.

  • That is the sweetest idea, and way to say he’s proud of you and loves you! Buuuut, my biggest question is…How in the heck, did you walk home from the hospital after giving birth?!?!?!?!? xo 🙂

    • I have no idea!! It was exactly 24 hours later, too. I guess I really wanted to get home 🙂

  • Best. Hubby. Ever.

    Yet also the luckiest. Your writing is beautiful.

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