There are several special times throughout the year when you will give Abby a greeting card for her birthday, Valentine’s Day, your anniversary, or some other occasion.

The philosophy about giving greeting cards, the process of selecting the right card, and the method of presenting it to the recipient, vary widely from marriage to marriage and person to person. It is an interesting study in human motivation and behavior. Take a look at a few carefully chosen case studies.

The “Rocket Shopper”

Ace considers himself to be one of the fastest shoppers on the planet. He is capable, at least in his own mind, of flinging open the door to a store, storming in, selecting what he came for, paying for it, and exiting the store, all before the door he entered has even closed. That’s fast, folks.

Being a Rocket Shopper has its advantages, for sure. Our friend, Ace, saves enough time with his speedy shopping to accomplish twice what a normal person can in a day.

Being a Rocket Shopper also has potential drawbacks. For instance, take the time that Ace roared into the card shop to buy a birthday card for his wife. He spotted a great-looking card from ten feet away as he approached the birthday card section. Ace gave the card a quick once-over and was on his way out of the store in less than one minute. True Rocket Shopping.

Ace scribbled his wife’s name and “I Love You” on the inside of the card, signed it, and proudly presented it to his wife. Ace’s wife opened the envelope with a big smile on her face, and was greeted with a card that said in bold glitter, “HAPPY BIRTHDAY – TO MY MOTHER.”

Instead of the normal response of “Thank you for the lovely card,” his wife’s response to this card was, “You Dumb Shit.”

Here’s a little advice for all the Rocket Shopping Aces of the world: you can get by with something like this once, providing your wife has a reasonably good sense of humor, but from now on you’re walking on eggshells. Take an extra minute and actually read the card before you buy it. You might be surprised by the wonderful things it is saying to your wife that you will get credit for.

In case you haven’t figured it out, “Ace” was actually me, your Grandfather, and the foul-mouthed recipient of the card was your Grandmother.

The Happy Shopper

Andy loves his wife and eagerly looks forward to selecting just the right card for her birthday, anniversary, or Valentine’s Day that delivers a meaningful message of everlasting love, gratitude, and commitment.

Andy reads every card in the store, looking for just the right one that will convey the feelings that are in his heart. There are so many well-written, beautiful cards that it is often difficult to pick the very best one.

One year, Andy narrowed his selection for an anniversary card down to two choices, both of which carried beautiful heartfelt messages. He couldn’t decide which card to buy, until inspiration hit – why not buy both of them!

After reading both cards, Andy’s wife broke down in tears. She will never forget that anniversary, she will keep the cards forever, and she will repeat the story a hundred times about how she received two anniversary cards from her wonderful, loving husband.

Joel, in this story, Romantic Andy is, once again, me, your Grandfather. I was trying to make up for the Rocket Shopper escapade described previously.

In case you haven’t figured it out, “Ace” was actually me, your Grandfather, and the foul-mouthed recipient of the card was your Grandmother.

Happy, Happy Valentine’s Day

Grandma and I have a unique Valentine’s card ritual that we do every year.

On Valentine’s Day, we go to a card shop together and carefully study the cards. After serious contemplation, we select a card for each other. We exchange cards on the spot and read the card carefully selected for us by each other. We thank each other for the wonderful, meaningful card and share a hug and a kiss right there in the card shop.

Then, we put the cards back on the rack and go to our favorite bar and buy some cocktails with the money we would have spent on the cards. And, that’s how Grandma and I have a Happy, Happy Valentine’s Day.

The World’s Most Powerful Greeting Card

The preceding examples are presented to stimulate your imagination in selecting meaningful greeting cards for your wife, and in presenting them to her. The goal in selecting a greeting card is to find one that says exactly what you would say to your wife if you had written the card yourself.

Whoa, Nellie! Why not! Why not junk the idea of buying a card from a card shop and write the card yourself! But, you’re not a writer, you say. Poor excuse – just write from your heart.

But, you don’t know what words to use. If you’re hinting that I should write a greeting card verse for you to plagiarize, that’s not going to happen – you’ve got to write your own card for your own wife. But, I will give you some pointers, sample words and phrases, and examples that will get you started in the right direction.

But, what if you do such a lousy job that Abby will hate it and you’ll make a fool of yourself. Well, you’ve heard the saying, “It’s the thought that counts.” This is probably the situation the guy who created the saying was thinking about. Your wife will absolutely adore it, even if your writing isn’t anywhere near the standard of the writing in the store- bought cards. She will love it and every loving, meaningful, sincere word you write will hit her straight in the heart like a sledgehammer.

This is the one card that Abby will treasure above all others. She might even carry it in her purse the rest of her life and many years from now, when she passes on, she might even request that it be placed in the casket with her so it will be with her forever. It’s that powerful.

You can do it and I will guide you to help you get started with my simple card-writing system described below.

Wonderful words for your greeting card: As promised, here are some words and phrases that you might work into your greeting card: “Dear,” “Dearest,” “Darling,” “Love,” “Love you,” “Love of my life,” “Lover,” “Forever,” “Best,” “Best thing,” “Ever,” “Every,” “Everything,” “Can,” “Cannot,” “Nothing,” “Always,” “Happened,” “With,” “With you,” “Without,” “Without you,” “Beside,” “World,” “In the world,” “Me,” “To me,” “We,” “Us,” “You,” “I,” “My,” “You are,” “Will,” “Will be,” “When,” “What,” “Wonder,” “Together,” “Blessed,” “Possible,” “Fortunate,” “Partner,” “Soulmate,” “Friend,” “Wonderful,” “Live,” “Life,” “Think,” “Think of you,” “Dreams,” “Plans,” “Above,” “Beyond,” “Inspiration,” “Thank,” “Thank you,” “Being there,” “Only,” “Fly,” “Soar,” “Eagle,” “Sun,” “Sunshine,” “Moon,” “Moonshine,” “Stars,” “Universe,” “High,” “Higher,” “Heart,” “Soul,” “Mind,” “Head,” “Hands,” “Full,” “Total,” “Complete,” “All,” “The,” “That,” “Then,” “Than,” “This,” “Is,” “Are,” “Am.” You can add some to the list if you want, but these may be all the words you need.

Writing your message: Start your first sentence with one of these words, The, You, My, I, When, We, or any similar word that comes to mind. Then, string together some of the words and phrases from the above list until you have a loving sentence that will astound even yourself.

Here’s an example: “My Darling, You are the Love of My Life. With you, everything is possible. I can fly like an eagle and soar above the moon with you beside me.” (Please note: All of the words in this example are from the list above.)

How about a little practice before you write your greeting card for real. Using words from the list above, complete this sentence:
“You – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -.”
Also complete this sentence:
“I – – – – – – – – – – – – — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -.”

See! It’s not hard at all. Now, organize your thoughts, try to have a central thought or two, and write your greeting card message, and before you know it, you is an author.

All professional writers go back over their work and proofread, edit, and polish what they have written before it becomes the final draft. You should do likewise.

Your message will be great and Abby will love and cherish it forever. You’ll see!

Creating your greeting card: Take a standard sheet of paper, measuring 8 1/2” by 11” and fold it so it resembles a greeting card. You might use colored paper.

Print a heading on the front of your card – something like, “HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO ABBY, THE LOVE OF MY LIFE.” Next, write or print your greeting card message on the inside of the card in your own handwriting.

You might consider drawing or sketching a meaningful object on the cover or inside of the card. So what if you’re no Leonardo Picasso – Abby will love your drawing and, maybe, the worse it is the better she’ll like it.

This is going to work and you will be forever grateful that you did it because it will please your wife so very much, forever.


Excerpt is from Marital Advice to my Grandson, Joel: How to be a husband your wife won’t throw out of the window in the middle of the night