It's hard to believe that the Christmas season is upon us. During this season I tend to move into overdrive with shopping, wrapping, baking, and entertaining. And often I accomplish my "to do" list to the neglect of my marriage. Have you been trying to figure out just the perfect gift for your spouse this year? I have. But today I changed my perspective. Today it struck me that my husband doesn't really need another sweater, what he needs from me are real gifts from the heart.

As you ponder what to give your spouse this Christmas, join me in committing to give these gifts that deeply touch the heart.

I want to give the gift of listening for Christmas. I want to make sure that when my husband speaks to me, I stop what I'm doing and look at him. I want him to feel that he is special, not "in the way" of what I need to do. Nurturing our relationship is what I need to do. Lord, let me give the gift of listening today.

I want to give the gift of time this season. When Mark calls and says, "Can we do lunch?" I want to be able to say yes. I want to make time management decisions that leave enough margin in my life to have planned or spontaneous fun in my marriage. Lord, let me give the gift of time today.

I want to give the gift of touch this Christmas. A marriage thrives on affectionate, loving, non-sexual touch. Oh sexual touch is so important, however if that's the only time we are extending the gift of touch, we're missing a viable part of the intimacy of our marriage. I want to give a hug or a back rub that stands alone -- no expectations. Where we've let the simplest acts of affection like holding hands or putting our arms around each other become a thing of the past, I want to restore those touches to our marriage. Lord, let me give the gift of touch today.

I want to give the gift of encouragement today. I want to make sure I tell my husband that I appreciate how hard he works to support our family. I want to thank him for fixing the sink last week. I want to tell him how proud I am of the way he leads our family. Sometimes the people we live with receive the least verbal encouragement from us. Lord, let me give the gift of encouragement today.

I want to give the gift of Jesus this season. Since we are celebrating His birthday, I want to make sure that we invite Him to the celebration. When I'm tempted to skip church on Sunday or that Christmas Eve service because I'm too tired or have too much to do, I will resist that temptation, gather the family, and make sure we take time to worship together. Lord, let me give the gift of Jesus today.

Yes, Christmas is right around the corner. There's shopping and baking and entertaining to do. But the most important gifts to give can't be placed in a box and wrapped in red and green paper.

Come on, join me. Fix yourself a cup of hot chocolate, sit down, put your feet up, and gaze at the Christmas tree lights for a few minutes. Think about the incredible blessings God has given to you in your spouse. Thank Him. And then generously give gifts that can't be wrapped to the one you love. Lord, thank you for the gift of marriage you have given to me.


Jill Savage (www.jillsavage.org) has been married to the love of her life, Mark, for 21 years. The Savage's live in Normal, IL, with their five children. Jill is the author of Is There Really Sex After Kids? as well as several other books. She also serves as the Executive Director of Hearts at Home (www.hearts-at-home.org).