Gift-Giving in a New Relationship

Our son Kyle creatively asking a girl to Homecoming!

I’ll never forget buying my first boyfriend a gift for Christmas.  I agonized over each hint the young man dropped and mulled on all his interests.   I finally settled on an expensive cologne I knew he desired and hoped he would love it. 

He did…

Whew!  I was sixteen years old and it felt like the weight of the world was on my shoulders if I got the gift wrong. 

Did you know the #1 search internet search engine term during the holidays is “Best Boyfriend Gift” and “Great Gift for a Girlfriend?”  Apparently, I’m not the only one who struggles.

Why is picking a gift so painful?

The truth is a gift reflects the state of our heart and the value we place on the relationship.  Now I’m not talking about spending an inordinate amount of money to impress someone, although that will certainly send a message, but with a gift –it really is the thought that counts.

When Tim and I started dating, Valentine’s Day crept up fast.  We had only been dating about four weeks.  The relationship was new and fragile at best.  I knew Tim wanted to ask me to be his girlfriend but I was stalling him (as women often do) until I worked out a few issues in my heart (mainly –getting serious with a pastor).

But Valentine’s Day was THE turning point.  Tim exceeded all my expectations.  His GIFT literally turned my head.

A Thoughtful Gift Speaks Volumes

I will never forget the day.

My little daughter Faith opened the front door to fetch the newspaper around 6:00a.m. Valentine’s morn and she started squealing with delight.  My son and I ran to the door and discovered a bounty of Valentine’s love.

There were chocolate kisses and rose petals sprinkled all over the door stoop.  A three-foot hand-drawn card drew my attention depicting Tim and I holding hands with a note asking “Will you be my Valentine?”  A glass vase burst forth with a bouquet of vibrant red roses and a giant chocolate kiss accompanied it.  But the best part of all the treats was the multitude of cut-out hearts with affirmations sprinkled across my door mat.

They read, “#1 Mom,” “Beautiful Smile, and “Clever”…and so forth. 

I was overwhelmed by his solicitous attention and lavish love.  He called me shortly afterwards, playing dumb and invited me to a nice restaurant for dinner. Of course I said YES!

Well done Tim Keller!

At around 4:00pm, another man pursuing me sent me a text saying, “Happy Heart Day.”  That was it –a crappy text message.  Really? 

It couldn’t be clearer.  I knew who the man was worth keeping.  And to this day Tim continues to surprise and astonish me with his love and thoughtfulness.

The Best Gift in a New Dating Relationship

As Tim showed, it wasn’t the amount of money he dropped on a present, although roses and chocolate aren’t cheap, but it was clearly the time and energy he invested in making the card and affirmations, and then schlepping it all over to my house in the middle of the night.

His effort was priceless.

A great gift is a thoughtful gift.  It’s a gift that surprises and makes someone feel special.  It’s a gift that honors.  One of Tim’s favorite gifts was a blog post I wrote for him on his birthday called “10 Reasons to Celebrate Tim Keller on His 41st Birthday.”  It certainly wasn’t pricy but it did take some concentrated time and effort on my part to pull it together.  Tim felt respected in front of all his friends and that was big win for me.

So as Christmas approaches and you wonder what the heck to get the great person you just started dating, remember to think OUTSIDE the box.  Pray about it.  Talk with friends and unleash your creative spirit. 

Your extra-thoughtful gift this year just might be the turning point to start a lasting relationship.

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