I am lucky to have a very cute 3 years old daughter. She gets lots of compliments in the playground from other parents saying how beautiful she is. To improve her social skills I gently teach her to look at the person who gave her the complement, smile and say thank you as a token of her appreciation.

What I really want to discuss with you today is how you can receive more gifts and help from your husband. Receiving sounds simple but many women have hard time accepting gifts. Learning to receive gifts with grace and sincerity will give your husband the satisfaction of making you happy and make your life easier.

Here is a story of a lady that recently consulted with me. Gorgeous Sandra lives with her husband and two beautiful primary school age kids in a lovely house in Sydney’s lower north shore. Sandra works part time as a marketing professional and looks after the kids and the house. Sandra is overwhelmed with the amount of chores she has to juggle, often feels exhausted and unhappy. Her husband Tom is a busy executive. Sandra complains that Tom never helps her with anything related to the kids or the house and cringes at her smallest requests. Needless to say Sandra feels resentful towards her husband for not helping enough and doesn’t feel very close to him. In addition she complained: “He NEVER gives me any gifts!”

I won’t bother you with all the details of our conversation and instead will bring you right to the point of today’s topic….

During our conversation Sandra and I have discovered that Tom brought her a cute T shirt from his latest trip to NZ and sometimes takes the kids to the beach on the weekend so she can get a break (of course she uses this time to clean the house). Obviously Sandra didn’t even notice these gifts because she DIDN’T ASK for them or thought she should be getting SOMETHING ELSE.

There are a few reasons why you might struggle with receiving presents, help or simple tokens of kindness:

  1. Sometimes you forget that you are simply awesome and unconsciously feel you DON’T deserve the gift. You might feel obliged to reciprocate and that makes you feel uncomfortable to receive.
  2. You parents taught you to be MODEST, and as many of us you struggle to receive compliments. Husband says to his wife: “You look so relaxed and beautiful today…” wife replies: “No, this is just my makeup. I am very tired because I worked very hard all day”.
  3. Receiving makes you feel vulnerable as you are caught by surprise and not in control of the situation. You didn’t tell your hubby what to do; how to do it; or what specifically you wanted from him.  My lady, you probably decided long time ago that vulnerability means weakness and this is so NOT who you are. Feeling vulnerable is really uncomfortable to you.
  4. You were raised FEMINIST. You are totally independent and fully capable of taking care of everything on your own. Receiving a gift or a help is a threat to your core value of independence. You might be perceived as incompetent. Ouch!

Coming back to Sandra… Sandra admitted (to me) that she really needs help with kids and the household. She doesn’t want to feel resentful towards Tom and rather have more fun with him.  She realised that in order to teach her husband to help more and encourage him to surprise her (with special night out, massage, or a piece of jewellery) she should be open to receiving from him with GRACE and GRATITUDE.

We worked out the following plan.


She will make a list of all the positive things Tom does, including making good money, playing with kids, bringing her water, ordering take away…Every time he does something that resembles help (even if she doesn’t like the way he completed the chore) or a present (even if she doesn’t really like it) she will:


  1. Look him in the eyes.
  2. Smile.
  3. Say “Thank you.” (add nothing else unless you sound really enthusiastic and excited).

For my advanced clients I add the following instruction:

  1. Give him a passionate kiss.

Learn to receive with “Grace and Gratitude”. Remember the 3 steps and you can even advance to step #4. Gratitude is the antidote for unhappiness and resentment. Bringing gratitude into your heart on a daily basis will make you feel fulfilled and abundant.

As for today’s homework (if you choose to take the HAPPY RECEIVER challenge…):

I invite you to make a list of all the presents, positive gestures and help your husband offered you in the last 3 months. Making the list will bring the events to your immediate memory and will help you notice his daily contribution to you. Acknowledging your husband for his help will compel him to deliver to you even more because he will feel successful in making you happy.

Thank you, as always, for reading.

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  • Thanks for sharing your story.


  • I’m still trying to work on receiving, i’m more of a giver, giver giver haha, thanks for this article.


  • my husband never gave me gifts, but the respect he gave me is priceless


  • Sometimes you are just so busy being busy you miss all the little and big things that others are doing for you or helping you with.


  • I am fortunate in that I have a very caring and thoughtful husband. This was demonstrated in the past in those times when I was quite sick and had to have quite a lot of help around the house. He is really understanding and this is what makes me appreciate him even more. I do not expect gifts from him as his everyday actions are worth so much more than money can buy.


  • I receive lots of gifts from my husband – hardly any of them are the kind you buy… cuddles, kisses, hugs, cups of tea and a chat, an offer to get pizza if I look too tired to cook after a big day, a good laugh about an absurd situation, something fixed that has stopped working, a flower from the garden, consolation when things aren’t going well…All these are given and received with grace.


  • I love receiving gifts but unfortunately I never receive any


  • Gratitude and grace are important and valuable attributes to master.


  • Great tips.. And I’ll try feel more comfortable about receiving gifts!


  • thanks for the reminder, I could probably try a bit harder to encorporate these more


  • What a great the list making is.


  • something we should all take note of


  • I am far more awkward about receiving


  • I feel embarrased when I have been given a gift ,


  • Wonderful advice, a very motivational article.


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