Sometimes I hear spouses wanting to offer some sort of gift to indicate how sorry they are for cheating or having an affair. Still, everything they consider seems wrong. They want to get the perfect item that shows their sincerity in moving forward. But they’re not sure what’s appropriate.

I heard a husband say, “I cheated on my wife and she found out. Honestly, I was thinking about leaving my wife and being with the other woman. But once my wife found out and saw the pain that my actions caused her, I changed my mind. Seeing her so vulnerable reminded me of the woman I first fell in love with and I decided I owed it to both of us to try and save our marriage. To my shock , she agreed to give it to me. The fact that she is willing to take another chance with me humiliates me. I want to give her something to show her how grateful I am. I asked one of her best friends what she might like and her friend he told me I am walking thin ground because my wife will read too much in whatever I can choose. Is she right? I don’t know what to do at this point. “

What your spouse really wants: While I think it’s heartwarming when a spouse wants to show their love for each other, I agree with the friend that the wrong choice could make the situation worse. I have to be honest right now. As a spouse who has been cheated on, I can tell you that what your spouse wants is not jewelry or another trinket. What your spouse really wants is to get his or her marriage back. They want to feel like they can trust you again. They want to be reassured that you still want them and that you will never cheat again. They want to feel your genuine affection. They want you to do whatever you need to do to help them heal or recover from this. Frankly, these things would be more meaningful than any trinket.

Make sure any gift shows your spouse how much you understand and appreciate it: I understand and respect the fact that you want to make a gesture to show your spouse how important they are to you and how committed you are to moving forward. If so, you need to take this serious consideration. You don’t want to post the wrong idea. You don’t want to just give them a “gift of guilt” that you haven’t thought about very thoroughly. Many men will think they will be covered if they just buy expensive jewelry for their wives. I suppose it works for some women, but many wives will assume that you think you can just buy yourself a way out and that’s not the message you want to send.

It is my experience and opinion that you will be better off if you can find something that shows your spouse that you know her intimately and want to reconnect with her that way. Maybe you could find something that is a symbol of your first relationship. Maybe you can find something that reminds your spouse of your honeymoon or a trip or hobby that the two of you share that is meaningful to you. Frankly, this will be very individual for each woman. Her gift should show her that you know what is important and meaningful to her because you listen to her and why you understand her.

I will share with you one of the most meaningful gifts my husband has ever given me. Shortly after her infidelity, my mother became seriously ill. I had to spend a lot of time in hospitals and that was emotionally exhausting, even though there is nowhere I would have preferred to be because I wanted to support my mother. My husband called my stepfather and asked him to relieve me for just a day or two. When I got home, my husband had set up a hammock in our yard and bought a book that had been meaningful to us at the beginning of our marriage. He wanted me to take some time to enjoy the book in the hammock. This gift was not expensive at all. But he showed that my husband really understood what he would be remedial for me. And he cleared his calendar so we could share some time together in that place. This meant more to me than he ever could have made any jewelry.

Obviously, what’s meaningful to your wife will be different than what’s meaningful to me. But if you listen to your heart and find out what something could mean for your spouse, then this is a gesture that would probably be greatly appreciated.

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