Love Language #3: Receiving Gifts

by | Aug 26, 2009 | love, relationships

This post is part of a series about The Five Love Languages. For more information read my Sunday, 8/23 post and click on the title above to visit The Five Love Languages website.

Receiving Gifts is the third love language, and as I mentioned it in yesterday’s post, it is a secondary love language for me. To me it’s not as important as Quality Time, but it is important.

Dr. Gary Chapman says, “A gift is something 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. The gift itself is a symbol of that thought. It doesn’t matter whether it costs money. What’s important is that you thought of him. And it is not the thought implanted only in my mind that counts, but the thought expressed in actually securing the gift and giving it as the expression of love.”

This can be difficult for those who don’t like to spend money. But as Dr. Chapman says, “By saving and investing money you are purchasing self-worth and emotional security. You are caring for your own emotional needs in the way you handle money. What you are not doing is meeting the emotional needs of your spouse. If you discover that your spouse’s primary love language is receiving gifts, then perhaps you will understand that purchasing gifts for him or her is the best investment you can make.”

Gifts don’t have to be expensive. A fresh picked flower from the garden will do…Bill picked a lily from our flower garden one day this summer and set it in a vase on our kitchen table for me. It showed me he was thinking of me and that he loved me. Gifts can be made…a piece of paper, folded in half and made into a heart with “I love you” hand written on it is a simple act of showing love. 🙂 It’s not so much the cost of the gift, but the thought and love that goes with it.

Early on in our marriage Bill didn’t understand how important gifts were to me. Until after our first Christmas…I had LOTS of presents for him under our tree that year and he had only one for me. I was so excited for him to open them…I couldn’t wait for his reaction with each one! When it came time for my turn, I opened the one from him, and well, I was a little crushed. It was a small piece of lingerie. (Which makes sense now that I know his love languages…I will share more of that in Love Language #5.) I felt that gift was more for him than for me. He never gave me only one gift again. 🙂

I vividly remember Christmas 2006. It was just ten days after Mom passed away, and Christmas wasn’t the same without her. I was numb, exhausted and wanted to crawl in a hole. But Bill, Ali and Zach made Christmas extra special for me that year. They gave me some wonderful gifts…none of them were very expensive, but their act of love brought me such joy in a time of such grief. They did the same thing for my birthday, which is the day after Christmas. I remember pulling wrapped gift after wrapped gift out of this large gift bag. They made me feel so special just by those simple gifts!

But to someone whose love language isn’t receiving gifts…that wouldn’t have meant as much. My friend Jeanie does not have the language of gifts, so even though I want to purchase gifts for her (because that’s what I like), I need to remember to do something for her (Love Language #4) or give her a card instead. She makes sure she gives me gifts every now and then…she gave me a beautiful pair of earrings to go with our new Mary Kay suits last month. Last year I remember she gave me a heart shaped box of four chocolates for Valentine’s Day…I loved it! 🙂 Simple things like that make all the difference for someone who’s love language is receiving gifts!

Dr. Chapman also says there’s the gift of self or gift of presence. “Being there when your spouse needs you speaks loudly to the one who’s primary love language is receiving gifts. Physical presence in the time of crisis is the most powerful gift you can give if your spouse’s primary love language is receiving gifts. Your body becomes the symbol of your love.”

I believe that’s true. Even for someone who may not be your spouse. I had a tough few days last week…school starting, Steve’s funeral, a doctor appointment, an MRI, extra things were on my plate, etc., etc., etc. I was overwhelmed and at the point of breaking down. Bill and Zach surprised me by stopping by where I was at the time, they took me out to eat and also took a few things off my plate. Their presence was my gift. 🙂

How should you communicate with someone who’s love language is receiving gifts? Be positive and share fact-oriented information. Actions? Give gifts on special occasions and not-so-special occasions. What to avoid? Forgetting special days.
Does someone in your life like to give you gifts? Do you notice your children giving you gifts, making you things? Does a neighbor or a co-worker give you things for no reason at all? These people might be Gifts people. Find something small to give them and watch the reaction. If you don’t get much of a reaction, then he/she is probably not a Gift person. (This reminds me…I haven’t given Tina a gift in awhile, but she brought me three gifts from their vacation earlier this month…I loved them! One of her languages is gifts too!)

Tomorrow we’ll talk about one of Jeanie’s love languages…Acts of Service!
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