(This was taken from Lesson 9 in Happy School Advanced at JulieNGordon.com.)

As you know, all women love birthday gifts, Christmas gifts, anniversary gifts, Valentine’s gifts, and Mother’s Day gifts. (In Husband School, these days are called The Big Five and there is a whole chapter devoted to teaching men how to properly celebrate women’s special days. As you might already realize, husbands are often in the dark as far as how women feel about these special days. Click HERE to read more on this.) 

There’s another kind of gift talked about in Husband School called SUGs, Surprise and Unexpected Gifts. These are very powerful and leave a stamp on the heart.

I remember where I was when I heard a talk by author and apologist Ravi Zacharias in which he discussed the power of gifts. He said to give gifts to repair and build relationships. He said if you’ve given a gift and it hasn’t worked, then give more. Maybe he was thinking about Proverbs 18:16, “A man’s gift makes room for him, and brings him before great men.”

Just know that gifts delight, heal, and strengthen the bond between the giver and the recipient. Don’t cop out on presents, just because they are a lot of work. The Queen of Sheba brought Solomon gifts and what could he possibly have needed? We must intentionally think about those we care about, and give them gifts. But remember, gifts must “hit.”

I remember one time when one of our sons was 9. I gave him four science experiment kits for Christmas (I thought I was grooming him to be a doctor). Later in the day, he stacked them all up, handed them back to me, and said, “Thanks but I don’t want these.” I didn’t hit the mark for sure! (That son loves music, not science. I got smarter later and bought him a guitar.) 

Some people have an innate sense of gift-giving, like Elaina. She gives me workout clothes, warm, comfy jammies, non-toxic, organic perfume, and Paleo cookbooks. I feel so known when she gives me a gift. And that’s the secret, finding something in another’s heart that you know will delight them. 

Don’t neglect giving gifts of service. Babysitting, dog sitting, bringing a meal, doing someone’s laundry, all make powerful deposits. One of my sons, who is in the pest control business, was recently in town for a visit. He said, “You’ve got a lot of spider webs outside. I’ll get a broom and get them down.” I think he was outside for a mere 15 minutes with a broom, but to me, it was a gigantic gift. The gift hit.

A friend of mine said her mother-in-law gives them cash for all of their gifts. This friend feels like it is terribly lazy of the mother-in-law. But to others, cash is what they want. (Cash is always the right color and size, right?) You’ve got to carefully think about the recipient.

One girl’s mother-in-law gave her a trampoline because she wanted her to lose weight for her son. One husband gave his wife a leaf blower for her birthday (I laughed out loud at this one). For Christmas, another mother-in-law gave her adult son and his wife tickets to a tennis tournament (the daughter-in-law is not interested in sports, only the son.) 

Stories of bad gifts go on and on. A woman in one of my groups said, “I’ve tried to give to my daughter-in-law, but she’s so ungrateful and such a snip. I’m sick of trying.” Well, it is disappointing when someone is ungrateful, but you have to be humble. You have to try again. Take the blame for not hitting the sweet spot. 

I remember Dr. Adrian Rogers telling a story about how he found out what his wife wanted for her birthday. He would recommend something and she would say, “Oh, no, I have one of those.” And then he would recommend something else, and she would say, “Oh, I don’t need that.” After these recommendations though, she would say, “You know, possibly what I’d like is…” You have to keep trying.

If gift-giving is a burden to you, then know that it is really only merely thinking hard about others, and trying to delight them. You don’t want to miss this powerful method to build affection and good will in others. 

Solomon knew what he was talking about when he wrote in Proverbs 19:6 says, “Many entreat the favor of the nobility, and every man is a friend to one who gives gifts.”