Marriage and the Husband-Wife Relationship/Husband acting like a spoiled brat


I was wondering if you could help me deal with a situation. So today was Christmas, I was so excited cause it was my daughters first, but my husbands actions ruined it for me. I'm a stay at home mom who works a part time seasonal job at the college I went to. This year I decided to put the bulk of my earnings towards my husbands gift and really go all out. I bought him a Xbox one, cause he really wanted one and I wanted to spoil him cause he works so hard so I can stay home with our daughter. When he opened the gift I got no reaction until I asked if he liked it. He said it was nice but I should have bought the 1T one instead. I was so hurt! I spent all of my money I earned on this gift and I was so excited to see his reaction. I told him how I felt but he blew up saying he can't talk to me like this and this is why he hates the holidays. The also said he appreciates the gift but I should have put the money towards something we needed.. I'm so hurt.. We've barely spoke to each other today because of it and what hurts the most is this is how I'll remember my daughters first Christmas... What should I do?

Hi Stacy,
Surprise gifts and Christmas are a tricky combination. In fact, I think that surprise gifts are usually not a good idea at all, especially for your spouse and even more so if it involves significant cost. The reason is that the giver has expectations as to how the receiver will/should react, and if they don't (as in your case) it only causes disappointment, hurt and worse.
To deal with your feelings, think about it from your husband's point of view. He is only being honest about how he feels. If it's not what he wanted - well he can't change that fact. How would you react if you got something you didn't want from him, especially something expensive?
Think through all the reasons why you are upset. How did you want him to react? Is it fair to have expected that from him and be annoyed if he didn't act the way you wanted him to?
Yes, you put some real effort in trying to please him. But I think you have a big opportunity here, to improve your relationship and yourself (in other words, not to be upset when people don't act the way you think they should).
See this is an opportunity to make future gift giving a better experience for you both. I would suggest you apologise to him for getting upset, saying that of course you realise that if it's not something he wanted then that is fine and you don't expect him to keep it. Talk to him about what you can both do to make the holidays and gift giving more pleasurable. How about discussing together what gifts you might give each other in advance, and even choosing them together. Buying gifts together - so that you both are totally happy - is much nicer and less stressful for couples in my experience.
So tell your husband you are happy to return it to the store and see what else might be suitable that would be nice for him (if he wants something at all, and it's fine if he doesn't ) that would also fit in with your budget. In other words, an outcome you are BOTH happy with.
This way you get to make the holidays something that you both look forward to, rather than something which he (like a surprisingly large number of people) dreads.
And why do so many people dread the holidays? For the same reason you are hurt: things don't go the way you want and expect them to. Advertisers are great at creating wonderful expectations around gift giving and celebrations. It gets us to buy a lot more, but also be disappointed when, inevitably, the reality of Christmas isn't the same.
Hope this helps.
All the best

Marriage and the Husband-Wife Relationship

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Liam Naden


I specialise in helping couples save their marriage and rebuild it after major hurts such as an affair. Creating intimacy, removing hurt, dealing with sexual and communication problems. I have two relationship-saver programs and a free podcast which are available from my website and a free report, "The Five Keys to Saving Your Marriage Now" at


Relationship coach with own relationship coaching business. Author of several books on marriage and intimacy. I offer two relationship saving programs: "Stop Your Divorce" and "Save Your Marriage" which have helped many couples save their marriage and rebuild their love and intimacy.

Publications Amazon Kindle: Author of the ""Growing in Love for Life" series of ebooks for saving and strengthening marriage.

Master of Arts (First Class Honors)

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