I sometimes hear from spouses who want to offer some sort of gift to indicate how sorry they are for cheating or for having an affair. And yet, everything that they consider seems wrong. They want to get the perfect object that shows their sincerity in moving forward. But they aren’t sure what is appropriate.
I heard from a husband who said: “I cheated on my wife and she found out. Honestly, I was considering leaving my wife and being with the other woman. But once my wife found out and I saw the pain that my actions caused her, I changed my mind. Seeing her so vulnerable made me remember the woman I first fell in love with and I decided that I owed it to both of us to try to save our marriage. Much to my shock, she agreed to give me that chance. The fact that she is willing to take another chance on me humbles me. I want to get her something to show her how grateful I am. I asked one of her best friends what she might like and the friend told me that I am treading on thin ground because my wife is going to read too much into anything that I might chose. Is she right? I don’t know what to do at this point.”
What Your Spouse Really Wants: While I think it’s touching when a spouse wants to show their love for the other, I agreed with the friend that the wrong choice could make the situation worse. I need to be honest right now. As a spouse who has been cheated on, I can tell you that what your spouse wants isn’t jewelry or one more trinket. What your spouse really wants is to have their marriage back. They want to feel like they can trust you again. They want reassurance that you still desire them and that you won’t cheat again. They want to feel your genuine affection. They want for you to do whatever you need to do in order to help them heal or to recover from this. Frankly, these things would be more meaningful than any trinket could even be.
Make Sure That Any Gift Shows Your Spouse How Much You Understand And Appreciate Them: I do understand and respect that you want to make a gesture to show your spouse how important they are to you and how committed you are moving forward. In that case, you need to give this serious consideration. You don’t want to send the wrong idea. You don’t want to just give them a “guilt gift” that you didn’t think very deeply about. Many men will think that they will be covered if they just buy their wife expensive jewelry. I suppose this works for some women, but many wives will assume that you think that you can just buy your way out of this and that is not the message that you want to send.
It’s my experience and opinion that you are going to be better off if you can find something that shows your spouse that you know her intimately and want to connect with her in that way again. Perhaps you could find something that is a symbol of your early relationship. Maybe you can find something that reminds your spouse of your honeymoon or a trip or a hobby that you two of share that is meaningful to you. Frankly, this is going to be very individual for every woman. The gift should show her that you know what is important and meaningful to her because you listen to her and because you understand her.
I’ll share with you one of the most meaningful gifts my husband has ever given me. Shortly after his infidelity, my mother became very ill. I had to spend a great deal of time in hospitals and this was emotionally draining, although there is no where that I would rather have been because I wanted to support my mom. My husband called my step father and asked him to relieve me for just a day or two. When I arrived back home, my husband had put up a hammock in our back yard and had purchased a book that had been meaningful to us early in our marriage. He meant for me to take some time to enjoy the book in the hammock. This gift wasn’t at all expensive. But it showed that my husband really understood what would be restorative to me. And he cleared his calendar so that we could share some time together in that place. This meant more to me than any piece of jewelry ever could.
Obviously, what is meaningful to your wife is going to be different than is what meaningful to me. But if you listen to your heart and discover what might mean something to your spouse, then that is a gesture that would probably be greatly appreciated.