A husband once gave his wife a ring for her birthday. They were married for 25 years and she felt very comfortable being honest with him about her feelings. She gently told him that while she appreciated the gift, it didn’t suit her style and she would prefer something different. The husband was understanding and told her where he had purchased the ring and suggested that she look for something else she really liked.
When she went to the store to exchange it, the jeweler told her how her husband spent weeks designing her ring. He had brought pictures and all kinds of drawings to show how he wanted it done. He even oversaw every detail in its creation. When she understood the emotional investment her husband made in his gift to her, she realized that she made a mistake. She felt terrible. She realized that she had been so focused on the practical side of the gift, she overlooked the most precious part about it – the love and devotion that had created it.
After understanding the effort her husband made and the meaning behind the gift, she suddenly viewed the ring as the most beautiful and precious gift. But, her response was too late and the damage had already been done.
The Chasidish Rebbes of yesteryear describe beauty as “the result of harmony.” When there’s a fusion of two separate, independent entities and they find balance and harmony, the result of that harmony is beauty. In Judaism this is called, “Tiferet.” The ultimate expression of Tiferet is the fusion of a two opposites, namely man and woman. This is the very beauty a wife and husband are celebrating on their anniversary – their fusion and harmony together. This is the kind of beautiful expression that matters most in a relationship. The gift is merely a symbol of something deeper.
We don’t have to love the gift, but we continue to love our husband.
We can always save the gift for “special” occasions if we’re not comfortable wearing it on a regular basis. We can always tell our husband that in the future, choosing a gift is something you would like to do together. If that doesn’t work we could have a friend let him know about that “something special” we’ve been eyeing. But most importantly, whenever we look at the gift, we should try to look beyond the style and see the meaning behind it. If we look at it with the right focus, it just might become beautiful before our eyes.