Get ready for it….
Just tell him exactly what you want and ask him to do it.
He doesn’t know if you don’t tell him. He is not a mind reader.
Okay, so I realize this is not always the solution. But, I spent way too many birthdays and other special days feeling sorry for myself because my husband hadn’t done anything “special” for me before I finally (dope slap) realized he was all too happy to please me every way he could — he was just clueless about what would actually make me feel appreciated. Then he would get stuck. Not wanting to make a wrong choice and therefore defaulting to nothing.
So, I started telling him. Not just in passing. I would email him. Or text him. Or send him an amazon.com link. Or post a list prominently on the refrigerator of gift ideas and outing ideas that appealed to me. I made sure to state specifics of my preferences. “I like daffodils” is better than “bring me flowers” (unless you just love ALL flowers). Include clothing sizes and color preferences if applicable. Point being, he WILL forget the exact details. But if I provide a written version he can refer back to, he will remember that there is a special day and make an effort by referring to my suggestions.
I, in turn, heap on the gratitude when he makes an effort. Oh how he loves me.
This same technique is effective when I’m experiencing emotional trauma or frustration. In his uncertainty over how to handle his emotionally fragile wife, he may revert to offering advice. Often that’s not what I need. So I tell him. I just need a hug. Or “will you please research this and let me know what you find”.
Specific. Specific. Specific. And he responds beautifully.
And I’m amazed that it can be so simple.
And shocked at how long it took me to figure it out.