Thursday, December 02, 2004

The Danger of a Grand Gesture

Maybe its just a guy thing, but I love to give my sweetie extravagant
gifts. Maybe I hark back to the caveman days when bringing home a
squirrel would keep you from starving but not much else. However, a
woolly mammoth will keep your sweetie well fed and warm for a quite
while. Also, its an ego boost to have my sweetie show off my latest
purchase.

Come to think of it, its not just a guy thing. My sweetie loves to
lavish me with expensive gifts and toys. Maybe its just that we get
such enjoyment out of seeing our sweetheart happy. And obviously the
more money I spend the happier she will be. Right?

I have learned to keep these Neanderthal impulses under control.
Buying an expensive gift can do more harm to your romantic life than
it does good. Often, a small, but thoughtful token of love is better
than an expensive one. Seems counter-intuitive so lets explore.

First, take into account the family budget. If you spend so much on a
gift that it adversely affects the cash flow situation, the grand
gesture is going to backfire. When your sweetie sees or thinks about
the budget-busting gift, they will not be happy and grateful. Rather,
your sweetie will feel guilty and ashamed. This is not what you
wanted. For long-term happiness, avoid the budget-buster. Remember
this wise saying: There is no better aphrodisiac than a balanced
budget.

Second, consider the idea of "points". When you do something nice for
your sweetie, you are said to have scored points with them. Now the
weird thing is that points are not proportional to money spent.

Consider the story of a wise friend of mine. He got his wife a new
car. He also got her wedding ring upgraded for their anniversary. A
foolish man would think that he would have scored enough points to
last a long time. He would think "I spent so much money she is going
to be happy and I won't have to worry about any of that romantic stuff
for a long time". My wise friend realized that these points would
only last a few days. Once she had shown all her friends and family
the car, it would go back to being just a car. The same applies for
the ring.

Which leads us to emotional memory. Our emotions have no memory.
Emotions only exist in the NOW. It doesn't really matter how I felt
last week, last year or 5 minutes ago. What matters is what I feel
NOW. So the joy that your sweetie feels with the gift only lasts for
a short time, regardless of the size and price of the gift. Some
gifts can bring repeated joy to the recipient, but that is a topic for
another day.

The bottom line is: You can score more points with small romatic
gestures randomly strewn throughtout the year than with a single grand
gesture. Emotions are fleeting. What was exciting yesterday becomes
routine and boring today. Do unexpected, simple, and inexpensive
gestures often to remind your sweetie how much you love each other.
Post a Comment