My Top Ten Wedding Gifts

I recently attended a bridal shower. The bride bubbled with radiance, beauty, and optimism. Her mother looked on with gratitude and hope. Her friends hugged and congratulated her. It was a moment not to be forgotten. But as I watched her, I couldn’t help but think back on my own bridal shower—how I’d felt and what I’d imagined for my future life with my husband—and at the same time, I also saw bits of my twenty-two years of marriage—the trials, the heart ache, the times of true joy—and thought, “Knowing all this, can’t I offer a wedding gift that represents more than this moment? Something that can help them reach their ultimate goal of oneness with each other and with God?” Yes. Which is why I have created this “Top Ten” list of practical, yet meaningful, wedding gifts:

10.    Gifts that keep on giving, such as a year or two’s subscription to the Ensign. Many young couples struggle financially and may determine church magazines are something they can’t immediately afford. And yet, those magazines often bring much needed counsel from our prophet and other leaders on how to strengthen our marriages. The benefits of such knowledge learned and applied prior to marital difficulties can be incalculable.

 

  1. Household items with a meaningful note. Some of my most memorable gifts have been letters or Thank you notes from dear friends, so why not combine one of the wedding couple’s requested items, like kitchen appliances or bath towels, with a heart-felt letter? Likewise, if you don’t know what household articles they need, food storage or other preparedness items, like a fire resistant safe, are always beneficial. Your message could say something like: “You’re Safety is important to us . . .”
  1. Similar to number nine are gifts which symbolize a message. For instance, how about a basket of spices with bits of “marriage spicing” advice attached to each container? Often, the suggestions or ideas from other married couples can bless the new couple both now and in the future.

     7.  Self-help books, especially those that help through the sure-to-come “tough times.” Let’s face it. The process of
         
growing from a single One to a married Two and finally on to a married One is a difficult transition, but knowledge
         about our individual humanness and increased understanding of our eternal-long journey can help married couples
         weather their storms. I received one such book as a wedding gift, turned to it for help in the coming years, and 
         later bought another which focused on my specific issues. This link offers several, marriage advice books by LDS 
         authors.

  1. Gifts that encourage the couple to continue dating each other after the wedding day can not only help the new couple ease into their new-found routines, but also help them maintain their marital priorities. Movie, restaurant, or other activity gift certificates are a few good suggestions. So is an extensive list of inexpensive dating ideas.

  1. Forgive a monetary debt. This was a gift my husband’s parents gave us on our wedding day. It was both meaningful and practical to us because it relieved us of a burden, helped us start our new lives together with a clean, financial slate, and increased our gratitude and love for them. It was a gift I’ll always remember.
  1. A “Remember When” recipe book. A friend of ours gave my husband and me a custom-made book of her favorite recipes. It also included an anecdote with each recipe that told which family member or friend the recipe came from and described a memory associated with the dish. Now, whenever I open that book, I not only know the recipe will be excellent, but I also remember the woman who gave it to me, and that memory makes me want to be a better person.
  1. Any useful or beautiful items made by a family or friend who has a special skill. Such items may include quilts; afghans; already-filled, photo/scrapbook albums; embroidered pillowcases, and carpentry work like furniture or picture frames. Although these gift ideas are highly practical, they are also meaningful, because they represent both the love the giver has for the couple and the hours upon hours of service he or she gave in the couple’s behalf. A humbling thought.

    2.   Separate, individualized gifts for the bride and groom. In 1982, Hugh W. Pinnock wrote an excellent article 
          titled, 
“Making a Marriage Work.” Included in his message was this statement: “Husbands and wives should 
          allow each other freedom for personal growth and expression. When both marriage partners are able to develop
          their talents and interests, the marriage is less likely to suffer from boredom and narrowness.
Furthermore, in the 
          April 2008 General Conference, Elder M. Russell Ballard said to the sisters (I believe it applies to the men,
          too) “. . . find some time for yourself to cultivate your gifts and interests. Pick one or two things that you would 
          like to learn or do that will enrich your life, and make time for them. Water cannot be drawn from an empty well,
          and if you are not setting aside a little time for what replenishes you, you will have less and less to give to 
          others . . ." 
          Isn’t that one of marriage’s greatest challenges, to replenish and enrich our spouses and families? A “half 
          example” of this gift idea is a memorable wedding present my husband and I received from one of his college
          professors. It was an electronics tool. 
          “She,” the professor said, pointing to me, “gets everything else here, but this one’s for you.”

          From that day forward, I’ve considered that tool to be one of the best gifts we—my husband—received; it was
          practical (it helped my husband use his newly learned skills), it was meaningful because it showed that the giver 
          had truly thought of “us,” and most of all, it lifted my husband’s spirit even higher than it had already been.

     1.  Gifts of Service. Too many times, young couples make it through their hectic  wedding days only to find 
          themselves overwhelmed by sudden, day-to-day responsibilities. Easing that burden by helping them paint a
          room, move into their apartment, clean or repair their car, or cook one of their first meals can lift their hearts and 
          inspire them to find the joy that comes from serving others.



    That’s my top ten, wedding gift list. Yet, there is one gift I left off because it is not tangible; nevertheless, I believe it is greater than all the others. It is: forgive the couple. Far too many times, once cherished relationships are destroyed by anger, resentment, or unbending pride. I’ve known and experienced several examples of this, sometimes to the point where loved ones refuse to attend or even acknowledge the couple’s marriage. However, in President Spencer W. Kimball’s book, The Miracle of Forgiveness, he states, “The essence … of forgiveness is that it brings peace to the previously anxious, restless, frustrated, perhaps tormented soul (363).” As most married couples know, forgiveness of their spouse is critical to maintaining a peaceful, lasting marriage; so, perhaps, if we forgive the couple, maybe they will, at some future time, remember our example, forgive each other, and continue on their road to true joy. That is, after all, what we most hope for.

 

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