The answer to http://joltleft.com/jewish-bridal-in-new-york/when-saying-it-with-flowers-doesn-t-work-should-you-move-on-to-jewelry
Ms. Maven Responds:
Good move about the flowers. I refer not to their purchase but to your restraining yourself from correcting your wife’s underestimation of their cost. The writer is very seriously in need of guidance, and I don’t mean about jewelry.
You may have the best intentions, but as you should have learned from the fiasco you described, harm can result even without the intent. You didn’t mean to have your car towed, and you didn’t mean to cause your checks to bounce. But those things did happen, and there was a price to pay. So your wife, who was already anxious about money, saw several hundred dollars fly out the window as a result of your lack of responsibility. In addition to that, she may have felt embarrassed about having bounced the checks, even though she had written them in good faith. The practical question now is how to get her to not stay upset about it. You saw that flowers didn’t fix the problem and seem to believe that the right piece of jewelry will do the trick. But before you plunk down a wad of cash, or, more likely, your credit card, for such a purchase let’s carefully consider the facts and analyze exactly what is the cause of the problem here so that we can come up with the right solution.
One of life’s essential lessons is that not everything is solved by throwing money at it. It really is tempting to take care of everything with just the effort involved in pulling our one’s wallet. But that motion is not always effective or even appropriate. In light of your wife’s resolve to save money, your proposal to buy her a piece of jewelry expensive enough to break you budget is both counterproductive and insensitive. As your wife does not come across as an irrational woman, why should you think that all her concern about your negligence in this matter will dissipate at the sight of a diamond she knows you cannot afford? What you are proposing is the equivalent of saying, “my wife is upset about my actions that resulted in the needless loss of money, so I will rectify the situation by purchasing a diamond and incurring debt.” The fact that an expensive bouquet did not have the effect you thought it would should have indicated to you that you were not on the right path. It is unlikely that she is t to be swayed by a bribe that is ultimately coming out of her own pocket. I do hope that comprehension is beginning to dawn on you. Exacerbating the financial situation by buying a piece of jewelry that is beyond your means at this time is exactly what you should not do.
Now let’s move on to what you should do. You should apologize sincerely and plan how to improve the situation for the future. Think of the components of teshuva – regret, confession of wrongdoing, and resolve for the future. First, you have to fully appreciate the impact from your wife’s point of view and not just in terms of dollars. Granted, you did not intend for all this to blow up in the way that it did. Nevertheless, in fact, you showed disregard for your wife. She may read this as a lack of respect and consideration for her and a trivialization of her concerns. You also hid your actions from her, and though your intent was to spare her stress, you have to realize that surreptitiousness does not nurture trust. Keeping her in the dark in this case resulted in her embarrassment at having her checks returned. You can’t just buy that back with baubles, no matter how stunning. You have to earn your way with behavior that proves your worthiness and shows your respect and consideration for your wife.
To work on reducing her stress, offer her something that contributes to her tranquility and shows you care — without a credit card statement looming over the horizon. Here are some options: Treat her to a special dinner – not at an expensive restaurant – but at home, prepared and cleared up by you. Set up a relaxing bath for her (not too hot for her condition). Prepare her brown bag lunch for her and enclose a note or a sweet. Take care of some of the tasks she may normally handle, like laundry, grocery shopping, vacuuming, dusting, sweeping, mopping, or paying the bills. Just be sure to keep the bank book balanced. And be sure to keep up such gifts after the baby is born when you can add on tasks such as feeding, diaper changing, bathing, and entertaining the baby when the new mother needs a break.
That is not to say that a husband should never buy his wife jewelry or flowers. However, one has to be perceptive enough to judge if such a gift is appropriate to the occasion. Keep focused on the goal, which is to show you care for and appreciate your wife, not to take her breath away and then have her worry about the expense. To mark special occasions, like you anniversary or the birth of your baby, you can buy jewelry valued for its sentiment rather than its metal and jewels, balloons, inexpensive flowers, or even blooming plants that will remind her of your gift as they blossom into flower year after year without doing long term damage to your household budget. Effort, thought, and consideration are more meaningful than dollars spent. The key thing to remember is that shalom bayis is not something that could be easily bought, though it could be well earned.