It sometimes feels, however, that there is no thought behind the gift.
My wife gave me a custom made string tie for my birthday. I have no idea why she would think I would want a string tie. We live in the northeast. Neither of us is into country music. Where am I going to wear a string tie? This was a milestone birthday, BTW.
A few years ago, she surprised me on my birthday by taking me to the Renaissance Fair. She had previously talked about the Renaissance Fair over the years and I had repeatedly made it clear that it did not sound like something that would interest me. It was a case of giving Marge the bowling ball. (Our son has tried this on her--attempting to get me to buy a video game system for him to give to his mother!)
I always try to buy something that shows that I listen and know who she is. For her last birthday, for example, I got tickets to one of her favorite singers at an intimate venue. Many of her gifts have felt like she is actively not listening to me.
BTW, I still haven't gotten the gifts she promised for Father's Day and our last anniversary.