By Tawny May
At the heart of all five golden love languages is giving.
Think about it:
I’d like to make a distinction here that’s true about all love languages, but particularly this one. Love languages are real and awesome and super accurate (in my humble opinion)...but one thing I wish were more widely understood about love languages is that they’re not always bilateral. Meaning, you may not always give love the same way you receive love.
Here’s an example. My sweet father (who would die if he ever know I called him “sweet” on the worldwide web!) is a gift giver but not a gift receiver. Allow me to demonstrate this with a personal anecdote--one Christmas, I was a bratty teen who was depressed because she didn’t receive some of the gifts she’d really wanted. What did her papa do? He went out and purchased the calendar and perfume she’d asked for and left it in the passenger seat of her car as a surprise. That was a gift my father gave me as a symbol of his love for me. But it doesn’t really go the other way around... He didn’t come from a family where gifts were given (plus he lives simply and has all he needs), so he doesn’t thrive on gift receiving. Does that make sense? I’ve learned that giving him gifts doesn’t say, “L-O-V-E” as loudly as spending quality time with him.
You may say, wow, these gift receivers are snobby and materialistic if that’s the only way they can receive love. If so, please forgive me for painting that picture with my dumb teenager self and story. Please don’t misunderstand--gifts don’t need to be lavish in order to get the point across. I was touched when my dad gave me the calendar and perfume, and I almost literally melt when my man surprises me with flowers on the kitchen table or suggests we get a shake. Expensive? No. Gifts come in all shapes and sizes; the most important part about gift giving is the love which serves as the motive for the gift giving. For a wife whose love language is receiving gifts, you can give her a pearl necklace or a chocolate bar and she’ll be thrilled. It’s 100% the fact that you were thinking about her enough to get her a gift and this does the majority of the talking. Cost matters little!
So I hope you learn three things from this article --
1. Just because your wife likes to shower you with gifts, men, doesn’t mean she’s asking you to do the same. Remember, love languages are not always bilateral (though sometimes they are). She may show love by giving gifts, but receive love by your physical touches.
2. If your spouse’s love language is receiving gifts, speak that language more often! I understand that you may feel like it’s a daunting, expensive, inconvenient way to show your love...but I promise it’s not. Get creative! You can write your spouse a little letter, leave a treat on your lover’s windshield to greet him or her after work, pack your spouse a cookie or a favorite lunch for work, surprise attack and visit your honey at work (or wherever), or keep a little notebook where you can jot things down your sweetheart says he or she wants. Then you can give one of these gifts for Christmas, a birthday, an anniversary, or any old day of life and be amazed when you’re referred to as “thoughtful” (because you are!).
(Some of the inexpensive or free gifts will bleed into the “acts of service” love language, and that’s okay. If you try to show love to a gift receiver this way, you’ll still succeed. We’ll talk more about acts of service next week. Just remember the difference between the two is that gift giving will result in a tangible gift for the recipient to cherish.)
3. If receiving gifts is your love language, but you feel conceited or demanding in asking your spouse to speak your language more often (i.e. BUY ME GIFTS RIGHT NOW DANGIT), don’t feel badly. Remember that gifts don’t need to be expensive, and sometimes your sweet spouse might need some ideas for how he or she can display love for you without breaking the bank. (And tune in down the road for my article about just speaking your mind, ladies, instead of waiting for your hub to just figure it out.) Grammar lessons are okay--we all really need to be fluent in more than one language!
So, happy gift giving and receiving! Just in time for the holidays. :)
Photo Credit: Top Photo Caitlinn Mahar-Daniels
“Marriage is a mosaic you build with your spouse. Millions of tiny moments that create your love story.”
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