So, I’m going to be brutally honest with you: when I first heard that “receiving gifts” was a love language, I thought it was a gimmick. I mean, who’s going to turn down gifts, am I right? So now it’s a love language and there’s a reason why some people speak the “gift” language more than the rest of us??
Ok, I know that was rather brutal, but I warned you that I needed to be honest. When we completed our love languages assessment, this language was one of his top three. I could’ve told you that – no assessment needed! And not that it’s a bad thing, but I constantly get asked why I didn’t get a gift for this reason, or do something special for that occasion, or just do it “just because”. But then when I did give a gift (which I felt came from the heart and was sometimes homemade), it wasn’t always received in the way I hoped it would be.
I think what really bothers me is that if I were on the receiving end of my gifts, I would be ecstatic!! I don’t just throw gifts together last minute – I spend weeks (even months) gathering ideas and materials in order to make the absolute best gift ever. Each one is a masterpiece in my eyes. Take, for example, the music compilations I would put together. These started the first Christmas together as we were preparing to drive home and meet his family for the first time. We had a good 5-6 hour drive, so I decided to put together mixed CD’s of our favorite music. I even went as far as to pull songs from his cranky old computer that moved slower than a sloth. Or, there were the scrapbook albums I made every year my husband and I were dating. I would spend months collecting pictures, keepsakes, and the right scrapbook pieces to construct something that could capture the beauty of the year we had spent together.
Now, I get that guys aren’t sentimental and so maybe these gifts weren’t as awesome. As I thought. But when you put that much time, energy, and love into a gift, you really can’t help but to believe it is THE ONE. This is going to be the gift that they are just crazy for! Sometimes I got the response I was hoping for and I thought, “OK, he understands that I love him and these gifts are an expression of love.” But other times, I didn’t get the thrilled response. I think this constant pressure and the possibility of nagging is probably why I have such a negative outlook on this language to begin with.
So, I decided I needed to re-set my brain on this concept. I went straight to the source – my copy of The 5 Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman. And right off the bat, Dr. Chapman disbands the idea I have that this love language is selfish. He says, “A gift is something that you can hold in your hand and say, ‘Look, he was thinking of me’ or ‘She remembered me.’ You must be thinking of someone to give him a gift.” Further along, he says, “Gifts are visual symbols of love.”
And that’s absolutely the case. If you don’t feel love or compassion for someone, you’re probably not going to be itching to pick something up for them. It’s like that family member or co-worker that you really don’t want to buy a gift for, but you feel that you have to. No one wants to begrudgingly receive a gift! It’s almost like it’s tainted with distaste and hatred. How would you feel if you received a gift like that? If someone gives me something, I want it to be because they want to, not because they have to. Giving a gift – a true gift – takes time, thought, and love.
When it comes to what kind of gift to give, it really depends on the recipient. Choose a gift that you know they will enjoy. If your wife hates all things video games, buying her a new Playstation or Xbox probably won’t go over very well (just saying). Choose a gift that shows that you were thinking of them. Don’t stress about the size or the cost (unless it’s going to put you in serious trouble). Just give with a pure heart. That is what the gift-receiver is actually looking for – that you put thought and love into something!
One final thought I have to share before getting to the good part. In the book, Dr. Chapman does mention this:
“If she has been critical of your gifts in the past and almost nothing you have given has been acceptable, then receiving gifts is almost certainly not her primary love language.”
Well, that sure does make me feel a lot better!
10 Ways to Share Gifts
- Pick a random day – no holiday or special occasion required – and surprise your partner with a gift.
- Give a gift from the heart by making it from scratch. Whatever your talent is, channel it to make something special for your partner. This is an excellent example of “it’s the thought that counts”!
- If you are gone for a business trip or some other reason, try to find something that you can bring home to your loved one. This not only shows that you were thinking of them while away, but will also spark memories and stories in years to come. Note: you don’t have to spend money – if you went to the beach, bring them sand or a shell. If you went to mountains, bring them something from a hike or even fall leaves!
- If your partner is the cook in the family, surprise them bringing home dinner one night! They’ll love you even more that you give them one night off in the kitchen!
- When you’re out running errands, bring them home something just for them. It can’t be something they put on the grocery list – that doesn’t count!! If I’m out and I see Cinnamon Toast Crunch or Oreos, I typically grab some as those are two of my husband’s favorite things.
- Choose a unique way to celebrate an occasion. Make it a yearly tradition. My husband started the tradition of pink balloons the first year we dated, when I turned 27. He’s never stopped.
- Choose a random day and pick up a card (or make your own). Inside, share all the things you love about them or are grateful for in them. Then, find a way to surprise your lover with this loving note!
- Bring home flowers or chocolate or beet or their favorite snack – just because!
- When your partner is trying so hard to get to a certain goal, be sure to recognize it. Maybe they’re saving for a new vehicle or need a new pair of work pants, and every penny they have is going towards this goal. If you have the means, give them a little something extra to put towards their goal.
- Listen to your partner when they talk. You never know when they might share something that spurs a thought for a gift! For example, my husband raved about the artist Deadmau5 for months and how he couldn’t wait to hear his new album. The day the album finally was in stores, I made sure to bring him home a copy.
One final tip I want to leave you with, especially with Spouse’s Day and Valentine’s Day quickly approaching:
Take care not to neglect significant events. When you first start your relationship, it’s a wise decision to talk to one another about expectations when it comes to these events: anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, birthdays, Christmas, etc. Don’t assume because you’re a thoughtful giver that your partner is the same way. It’s never fun to show up on an anniversary with only a card while your spouse has gone all out. Here are a few things that you should discuss.
- What should be celebrated? Our first date, maybe. Our first kiss – probably not.
- How should we celebrate? Cards? Gifts? Dinner?
- How much should we spend? This is especially significant if too many holidays and special days are clumped together. You don’t want to go broke trying to express your love!!
- What should we avoid? These are always helpful tips to avoid annoying each other. For example, I hate public attention and therefore don’t want the restaurant singing happy birthday to me. My husband hates surprises and would rather know what we’re doing versus going ing blindly (plus he has to dress to the occasion).
I hope you found a few cute ideas to use with your gift-loving partner. Be sure to share with us your favorite ways to express love through receiving gifts!! See you next week!! ❤️