Author Jay Cradeur shares the one surefire thing you can do to make her day, open her heart, and see her smile. It is easier than you think and it works every time.

“Books make great gifts because they have whole worlds inside of them. And it’s much cheaper to buy somebody a book than it is to buy them the whole world!”     Neil Gaiman

This is an article about gifts and generosity. It is about giving, and not expecting anything in return. Let’s begin with a movie. I have watched the film Finding Forrester at least 10 times. As a writer, every time I watch this gem of a movie, I continue to gather little nuggets of wisdom about the creative process. Sean Connery stars as William Forrester, an older man who wrote just one book in his career, a Pulitzer prize winning book called Avalon Landing. After some 30 years, he had never written another book. Instead, he became a bit of a recluse due to some unresolved personal issues, and lives in a small inner city apartment across the street from a basketball court. He reluctantly takes on Jamaal Wallace (played by Rob Brown), a young black man, as his protoge.

“You can always tell what kind of a person a man really thinks you are by the earrings he gives you.”  Audrey Hepburn

For all the writers out there (and aren’t we all writers?), William Forrester emphasized the importance of writing more and thinking less. As he said, if you sit at the typewriter or keyboard, Type! Begin typing even if you don’t have anything to type.  Soon something will start to develop.  I have put this to good use.   Second, William Forrester said the best part of writing comes after the first draft is complete.  Once the first draft is done, he could then go and read it through for the first time. When I heard this, I completely agreed. There is no better feeling that to pound out a 1,000 word article and then stop, take a short break to make a fresh cup of coffee or tea, and then get back to the screen to read through the first draft. It is one of the best life experiences. Only a writer will appreciate it, but appreciate it we do.

“But, I learned a few things along the way which might be of help with this young lady you’re always talking about.”

However the biggest takeaway from the movie is a little bit of dating advice he gives to  Jamaal. William and Jamaal were talking about writing, and presenting to a group, and then William said, “But, I learned a few things along the way which might be of help with this young lady you’re always talking about.”  William Forrester then  said something I have never forgot and I don’t think you will either:

“The key to a woman’s heart is an unexpected gift at an unexpected time.”  

William Forrester in Finding Forrester

“Unexpected gift, unexpected time.” Those words are now locked into my memory. I recommend you lock them in too. I have included the YouTube video of this two minute scene at the bottom of this article for your viewing pleasure. Better yet, rent or download the movie. It is a classic.

William’s advice does raise a question as to what is the most appropriate gift to give to your partner. According to author Gary Chapman in his book, The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate, there are five different ways that we can communicate love, but only one or two for which your partner will respond. The five love languages are:

Gifts –

Your partner most appreciates physical gifts like books, earnings, chocolate, jewelry, or flowers.

Quality Time –

Your partner most appreciates it when you spend time together without interruption, so a gift of a weekend out of town (read this article on Weekend Getaways if this is you), or even an afternoon at a spa where you can get a couples massage.

Words of Affirmation –

Your partner appreciates when you say or write and share words that let her know how much you love her. You might write her a poem, or simply tell her how amazing she is and how lucky you feel having her in your life.

Act of Service –

Your partner appreciates it when you do the dishes, paint a room, change the car oil, etc. “Honey, I love you and I want to paint the baby’s room, which color do you like?”

Physical Touch –

Your partner wants to feel you, and feel your touch. I recommended giving her a 30 minute (or 60 minutes if you are up to it) massage. Or maybe taking a walk and holding her hand will do the trick.

Stroke my hair and I will purr like a cat. Tell me I amaze you each and every day and I will rearrange my life for you.

Figure out which one your partner best hears and appreciates. Also figure out which one you hear and respond to most clearly. It is wonderful to have this understanding so you know when you give that unexpected gift at the unexpected time, your partner will really feel it and appreciate your generosity and consideration. Personally, I am a touch and word guy. That is what I like. Put your arms around me and tell me how you feel. Stroke my hair and I will purr like a cat. Tell me I amaze you each and every day and I will rearrange my life for you. That is all I need. Gifts, time and service don’t do much for me. We are all different. Don’t make any assumptions. Ask your partner the question.

That is it. Let it rip. Find out what she likes. Get the gift. Surprise her with what she most wants, when she least expects to get it. You will be pleased with how well this works. If you do offer your partner an unexpected gift at an unexpected time, come back here and comment how it went over. Tell us what type of gift you gave and what kind of response you received. I wish the best of luck to you all.

Finding Forrester Video Clip:

The article originally appeared on the Good Men Project Website.