The 5 Love Languages – Receiving Gifts
When we first start looking at all the 5 love languages, it would seem that they all have to do with giving something to your spouse. Everything from Words of affirmation to Quality time to Acts of service to Physical touch is a way for someone to give of themselves to show their partner that they are loved. Google Dictionary defines a gift as “a thing given willingly to someone without payment; a present” which could include any of the love languages. However, receiving gifts is different in one specific way. Receiving gifts is all about giving your loved one something physical. These include visible symbols of love. Giving someone a card, or a present tells the receiver that you were thinking about them. At this point, it can be very easy to make the present about the gift itself instead of the person or thought behind the gift. This is not the case. When someone’s love language is receiving gifts, for them, the gift has so much more to do with knowing their loved one was thinking about them.
Mom thought of us
My mom would offend go to conferences and seminars for work when I was younger. As a social worker, one of her responsibilities was always to continue her education. This meant that she would be away from home for a couple of days while my sister and I would usually be with my mother’s parents. The best part of her trip, for my sister and I was when she would come home and pour out a pile of pens and magnets. While pens and magnets are not big and expensive, we understand that our mom was thinking about us while she was on her trip. The gift itself was not what held the meaning.
Likewise, this past spring, I had a chance to go to the Grand Canyon, which was awesome!! While I was on my trip, I was thinking of my (at the time) two girls. While I was there, I bought my wife and girls something because I knew they would enjoy the gift and so they knew that they were important enough to me that I was thinking about them while I was having fun on this awesome trip.
The gift is NOT what matters
As you can see, the love language that was being communicated had nothing to do with the gifts that my mom or myself gave away. Instead, it had everything to do with telling them people who received the gift that they were important enough to us that we were thinking about them while we were away from home.
For people who hold this love language, it has nothing to do with the gift (how big or expensive it is), but instead, these people want to know that they are on your mind. They want to know that they hold value to you. The gift is a symbol of thought, which means that they are loved by you. A lot of times, no money is required in giving meaningful gifts. The main idea behind the gift is that you thought of him or her. This thought and love is being expressed by a gift as a symbol of someone’s love.
But I’m a horrible gift giver!!
Becoming a good gift giver is one of the easiest Love Languages to learn. This is the good news. The bad news is that it will take some intention things on your part: Listening to your spouse/children and understanding what different things mean to them. If you understand that butterflies mean something to your spouse, then buy them things with butterflies on them. If you know that your children are passionate about help the Earth, help them to plant a tree. There are many ways to give gifts that mean something. While I was at the Grand Canyon, I picked up some rocks that I thought would be interesting to my kids. These rocks that I picked up did not cost me anything, but my children loved them.
At this point, you might be wondering about some ideas to make that special someone feel loved. Some ideas:
- Always be on the look out for small gifts. Whenever you go somewhere, show the people you love by bring them something back
- Make sure that gift giving holidays (like Christmas, Birthdays, and Anniversaries) are a HUGE deal. The last thing they want to see is everyone else getting a fun gift without something exciting coming their way.
- Do NOT get lazy with your gift giving! No matter how important receiving gift is to you, understand how important it is to your loved one.
- Take the time to wrap their gifts. Unwrapping gifts is half of the excitement.
- Make them a mixed CD and explain every song that you picked.
A list that I found on Step Momming included a great list which included:
- Scrapbook, photobook, or photo album.
- Star dedication.
- Gift certificate to his/her favorite restaurant.
- Tickets to see his/her favorite sports team.
- T-shirt/sweatshirt/etc for his/her favorite sports team, college, etc.
- Concert tickets or CD/MP3 for his/her favorite musician.
- What has he/she been not-so-subtly mentioning needing/wanting?
- A new book he/she’s been dying to read (or written by a favorite author!).
- A new video game – just released!
- Jewelry (sparkle always makes a great gift).
As you can see, these gifts can be as cheap or as expensive as you make them. Do yourself a favor and pay attention to what your wife and children like.
At this point, many men will go out and buy their wife flowers (because its easy). Your wife may be a woman who does not like flowers. This is the point where you sit down and have a conversation with your wife to see what she enjoys. If you buy her flowers, when she really wants a book, then your showing her that you do not really listen to her wants and needs. This will end up hurting your relationship more than helping!! Take the time to sit down and listen to your wife. Take the time to listen to your children. This will help build a bridge and improve your relationship.
After all, your wife and kids are worth it!!
Challenge question: When is the last time you bought your wife or children something that they would treasure? When is the last time you put more thought into buying your wife and children something then sporting events, cars, or your current home projects.