The first Christmas Larry and I were dating, I went over to his house and noticed he had one present under the three. “Oh, you get all your presents on Christmas morning?” I asked.

“What do you mean?” Larry replied in surprise. “I only get one gift for Christmas.”

Oh my. I should have known then that if we got married Christmas would be a point of contention. Because in my family, each of us three kids would usually end up opening something like twenty gifts from various family members including Santa. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if my sister reading this would reply, “Twenty? I think it was more like thirty!”

Regardless, it seemed like a lot. And those gifts meant love to me. I felt very loved seeing those gifts and receiving things! So you can imagine the difficulty when our children were young. Larry thought one gift would be sufficient and I felt compelled to buy them lots of gifts to–you guessed it–make them feel loved.

It took many years for me to change my perspective to a large degree but wanting people to feel loved still lies at the root of my gift buying.

But the truth is I can’t be in charge of or make anyone feel loved. At least not the kind of lasting love that only God can give. Maybe I’m even trying to substitute for Him through my gift buying.

Do you have a gift buying story from your marriage? Or how do you resist making gifts into love? Or maybe you think that’s OK. Share your perspective with us. I would love to hear it and it’ll help me.