Relationships

The PERFECT V-Day Care Package

Photo Credit: Wisconsin National Guard

Some people say that Valentine’s Day is one of the most romantic days of the year. Right…tell THAT to a military spouse who is flying solo due to a deployment or separation! For some of us, V-Day is the pits! Here we are trying to stay connected to our service member through email or the occasional Skype chat while the rest of the world is just OOOOZING with lovey-dovey kisses and hugs. Sometimes, it might make you want to vomit.

You are absolutely allowed to have this mind set. I would be lying if I didn’t say that I myself have allowed jealousy to creep in once or twice when I would see pictures on Facebook or Twitter of my friends with their husbands and wives cuddling together for a V-Day selfie.

Then I remember that THIS IS MY LIFE. Like all things related to military life, I just have to get creative when it comes to maintaining the spark in my marriage. Care packages are just another one of those creative things we get to do! (Check out Macy’s quick gift guide.)

Now I don’t know about you, but I am a horrible gift-giver when it comes to my husband. (Although these Etsy gifts for servicemembers on GIJobs.com are seriously amazing…) I can never quite figure out what it is that he wants. I would send him cards with lipstick kisses on them. I would write lengthy love letters pledging my mushy-gushy love to him. Once, I even sent him a Beanie Baby. (Yea…THAT happened.)

Wrong, wrong, WRONG!

Those are all the things I would have wanted from him (minus the lipstick cards!). What I SHOULD have done was thought about what I would have wanted if I were HIM. Recently I was perusing a back-issue of the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology (because that’s what I do for fun on a Saturday night!) It was titled “Give them what they want: The benefits of explicitness in gift exchange.” If you’re a geek like me, you can find it here.

What stood out to me in one of the articles was where it stated that, “the gifts that recipients appreciate the most are the ones that they’ve explicitly requested.” Imagine that!

So I decided to get some feedback from some service members who are preparing to deploy, and I asked them what they would like to see in their own care packages. Here are their answers combined with my tips for the PERFECT Valentine’s Day care package:

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