Outsourcing: How to Buy Gifts for Your Wife

3 min readJan 13, 2022


A husband grateful to have a daughter who keeps her room unlocked surprises his wife with a last-minute birthday gift. | Photo by freestocks / Unsplash

I’m in trouble. My wife’s birthday is in two days, and I don’t have anything for her. I need something heartfelt, something that shows I really know and appreciate her, and something that, judging from her reaction to last year’s gift, in no way resembles a tape dispenser.

Not that I am-excuse me while I take a few breaths into this paper bag-worried about it. What’s the worse she could do? Be disappointed? Get angry with me? Take out a large life insurance policy and slowly poison me with her cooking?

That’s absurd. Her cooking would kill me much too quickly. In fact, she has tried to cook for me before. But so far, I have been able to dodge these attempts on my life with clever excuses:

These attempts on my life aside, I must turn back to my point. I never know what to get my wife for her birthday. She is difficult to shop for. All she ever wants is a close relationship with people she cares about and who care about her. What am I supposed to do with that? How am I supposed to shop for that?

The truth is, I can’t. Last year, I tried to select a gift for my wife using nothing but my own intuition and experience. I don’t know how I could have been so reckless. But this year will be different. This year I am turning to the strategy that husbands have been using to shop for their wives since the Middle Ages: outsourcing.

Outsourcing is, essentially, a strategy by which you get to abdicate all responsibility for something and make it somebody else’s problem. It is perfect for husbands.

Let me explain how outsourcing works. Take, for example, the arduous task of thinking up an appropriate gift for your wife. Finding the right gift requires you to know a few facts about her-her hobbies, her tastes, whether she has an abundance of Cellophane tape and no way to dispense it, etc. Yet you may have a small problem, which is that the only personal and intimate thing you know about your wife, at least among the things that truly matter in life, is that her car is due for an oil change.

Enter outsourcing. Through the advanced software engineering technique of desperately typing “last-minute gifts for wife” into Google, you are immediately besieged by dozens of Amazon-affiliated relationship bloggers who have written sympathetic, nonjudgmental blog posts with titles like “The Good-for-Nothing Husband’s Guide to Last-Minute Gift Ideas for Wives Who Frankly Could Do Better.” And just like that, you are provided with dozens of great gift ideas that will show your wife just how much you care about keeping a lid on the price.

That’s all there is to it. With just a little technical know-how, you can successfully outsource the task of thinking up an appropriate gift. In fact, as I was writing the previous paragraph, I surveyed a few of these blog posts while thoughtfully considering my wife’s needs and, after opening my eyes to see which item was beneath the finger I pressed to the screen, I selected the perfect gift: a cookbook.

Originally published at https://www.matthewdelight.com on January 13, 2022.