Before we get to the nitty-gritties of the gift giving love language, let us try to understand what love language means. You probably express your love and affection to your partner in different ways on a daily basis. But have you ever noticed the way in which you express that love or wondered if your partner is happy and satisfied with how you show or communicate your feelings?
A love language is an individual’s way of expressing and receiving love in a relationship. It is their way of showing affection to their partner. Every individual has a different love language through which they express their feelings or prefer to receive love from their partner. The concept was developed by marriage counselor Dr. Gary Chapman and has since changed the way people view and perceive love.
Chapman’s 5 Love Languages
Discovering your partner’s love language helps build a healthy relationship. It helps you understand what you need from each other in the relationship. Sometimes, love gets lost or is not conveyed if partners use different love languages. They might misunderstand each other, leading to conflict. Therefore, to help you understand the concept better, let’s explore the 5 love languages identified by Dr. Chapman in his book The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate.
Based on his experience as a marriage counselor, Dr. Chapman identified five ways romantic partners express and receive love from each other – words of affirmation, physical touch, acts of service, quality time, and receiving gifts or the gift giving love language. Let’s understand these 5 love languages a bit more in detail. It might just help you identify your and your partner’s love language.
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1. Words of affirmation
People who practice the ‘words of affirmation’ love language usually show affection toward their partner through praises, compliments, spoken words, or any other verbal expression of love. They may also show support and appreciation by saying kind and encouraging words or through love letters, notes, or text messages.
Basically, such people compliment their partners through verbal communication (saying “I love you”, thanking them for doing the chores or a simple “you look great in that dress”) to make them feel special, loved and appreciated. So, if you find your partner verbally expressing his feelings or affection, know that this is his love language.
2. Quality time
Quality time love language is about spending proper, meaningful hours with your partner without the regular distractions of technology, gadgets, TV or work. Undivided attention is all they give and ask for in return from their partner. You may practice the gift giving love language but, for them, the gift of time is most precious. Actively listening to what their partner has to say and feeling heard and understood themselves is what such people look for in a relationship.
A romantic dinner date, snuggling on the couch, cuddling after sex, taking a walk along the beach, grabbing some ice cream from a nearby store, having a meaningful conversation or just fooling around after a drink – anything that helps them spend quality time with each other. In fact, it also helps resolve conflict and clear misunderstandings in the relationship.
3. Physical touch
Like the name suggests, physical touch is when a person shows love and affection through physical gestures like holding hands, kissing, caressing, cuddling or having sex. They could also express love through touching your arm, placing their hands on your legs, or even giving you a nice massage at the end of a tiring day at work. They want to be physically close to their partners.
4. Acts of service
Actions speak louder than words – heard of it, right? For some people, it’s not the words of affirmation or physical touch or gift giving love language that works. They believe in acts of service. Whether it’s doing household chores, running errands, managing the kids, taking care of your partner when they are sick – it’s these little gestures and actions that matter. They aren’t big on words or gifts as a love language. Little things make them feel loved and appreciated.
5. Receiving gifts love language
The gifting love language is when a person shows affection by giving gifts to their partner. It doesn’t have to be lavish or expensive. It’s the time, effort and thought put behind picking out the gift that appeals to partners. Such people will remember every gift they receive from their partners ranging from the smallest of tokens to expensive and valuable stuff. They, themselves, invest a lot of their time and thought into picking out the best gift for their loved ones – it is their way of showing love.
Dr. Chapman believed that people usually gravitate toward one of the 5 love languages when showing love and affection. It doesn’t mean that you don’t believe in or use the other four. It just means that your primary love language is giving or receiving gifts. It shows how you express your love to your partner and how you would prefer to receive love from them.
Related Reading: Physical Touch Love Language: What It Means With Examples
What Does It Mean To Have Gift Giving As A Love Language?
Out of the 5 love languages developed by Dr. Chapman, the gift giving love language is probably the most misunderstood one. Like stated earlier, the love language of gifts is one where partners show their love and affection in the form of gifts, be it simple or expensive. It is their way of expressing care and closeness to their partner. They are also the happiest when they receive the same through gifts.
It’s usually assumed that partners who believe in showing affection only through gifts or tangible items are materialistic but that’s not really true. It’s just their preferred way of giving and receiving love. The gifting love language is a gesture that shows that your partner has been missing you or thinking about you in your absence and probably wanted to do something to put a smile on your face.
The gifts might be beautiful but it’s the thought behind them that really matters to your partner. Those presents are just a way to show you that you’ve been on their mind. The size or price of the gift doesn’t matter. Partners that use gifts as a love language feel loved and cherished when they receive thoughtful presents from their special ones. The gifts remind them of the shared love and care.
Someone who uses the love language of gifts understands and appreciates the time, thought, and energy you put into picking out a gift for them. It shows them that they are worthy of your love and that they matter to you. But, mind you, haphazardly putting together presents or last-minute gift ideas that were bought just for the sake of it will upset partners with the receiving gifts love language. So, make sure you’re doing it the right way.
How To Determine If Your Partner’s Love Language Is Gifts
The gift giving love language is one of the oldest and most common expressions of love and a tradition across cultures. Giving and receiving gifts has been in practice for centuries. People use the gift love language for all kinds of occasions – weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, milestones, festivals, surprise parties, or any other kind of celebration. All of it involves giving or receiving gifts as an expression of happiness and love.
Partners usually speak the love language they want in return. Therefore, if you want to know whether your partner believes in the gift giving love language, notice what their primary way of showing affection is. For example, if they buy you that red dress you’ve been eyeing for a week, a book that you’ve told them you want to read or a new wallet after hearing you complain about how your old one is torn and tattered, know that your partner speaks the love language of gifts. Here are a few signs to watch out for:
- See how they react to being given gifts. If their face lights up with joy and happiness, it’s likely that your partner uses gifts as a love language
- They are not bothered by the size or cost of the present – small trinket or a luxury car – but the thought behind it
- They are big-time gift givers. Sending flowers on special occasions, buying tickets to your favorite movie or concert, food coupons to a restaurant you want to visit, or getting your favorite food delivered to your home or office are all signs of the gifting love language
- They never discard or throw away your presents. Every gift of yours is safe with your partner even if you gave it to them a decade ago
- They appreciate the time and energy you invest in buying them a gift or giving them surprises. It makes them feel loved
- They buy you something special and thoughtful for every occasion (birthdays, anniversaries, milestones, holidays, festivals, etc.) and feel hurt when you don’t do the same for them
- They buy you presents randomly and for no reason just because they were thinking about you
- If your partner is okay with you not being able to spend time with them on birthdays or anniversaries but gets upset if you don’t buy them a gift, then it’s a sign of the receiving gifts love language
These are signs that will help you determine if your partner uses the gift giving love language to convey their feelings. The gift love language has often been criticized for being a shallow way of showing affection, or that partners who use gifts as a love language are materialistic and will never date someone who is broke or not financially well off. But that’s not the case.
For someone with the giving or receiving gifts love language, it is less about the gift and more about the thought that goes into it. Such people are able to differentiate between a ‘last-minute’ or ‘just for the sake of it’ present and one that their partner genuinely invested their time and energy into. If they were materialistic or shallow, they wouldn’t be upset by the former or elated by the latter. This brings us to another important point – how to show love to a partner with gift giving love language.
Related Reading: 15 Super Cute Ways To Express Your Feelings To Someone You Love
Gift Giving Love Language: How To Show Love
Partners usually do not gravitate toward the same love language when expressing affection. But it is important that you understand each other’s love language to build a happy, fulfilling, and meaningful relationship. According to Dr. Chapman, learning your partner’s love language improves communication, prevents conflict and arguments, promotes better understanding between couples, and strengthens love.
The gift giving love language may not be your style or come naturally to you but you can always try to learn if it’s the one that your partner prefers. This does not mean that you stop using your love language to show affection. It just means that you care about their needs and preferences too. If you aren’t inclined toward the gift love language but your partner is, then there are a few ways you can show love in your special one’s preferred love language:
- The first way is to just ask your partner about the kind of gifts they like. It’ll show them that you care about their preferences
- Pay attention to the kind of gifts they give. It’s likely that the kind of presents they give you are the type they want to receive
- Be mindful of what you are giving. If it’s haphazardly put together for the sake of it, it’s better to not give them anything at all. People with the receiving gifts love language like presents that are thoughtful and have emotion attached to it
- Start small – buy them their favorite flowers or pastry, or have food delivered to their workplace. No grand gestures. Just a little something to show that they’ve been on your mind and that you miss them when they aren’t around
- Set a reminder a few days ahead of important occasions like birthdays or wedding anniversary. This way, you’ll have enough time to shop for the perfect gift
Try giving them a present every fortnight or month. Nothing extravagant or flashy. Instead, just a tangible something (pair of earrings, flowers, or their favorite food) to show that you were thinking about them in their absence. Earn brownie points by getting them something special just because you wanted to. Like a surprise gift to make their random, mundane day special. Do it and see them smile ear to ear for a whole week
Always remember that gift giving is your partner’s primary love language. It is their way of showing care and concern. Words of affirmation, compliments, kissing, cuddling, helping with chores, or spending quality time together may be sweet but not as significant or important as giving or receiving something tangible as a symbol of love. You buying a gift for them is how they know that they are special to you.
It is advisable to have a conversation about money, if you see it as a potential constraint or cause of conflict from your end. Sure, the price tag does not matter. It’s the gesture that counts. But it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Money can be a cause of conflict in relationships, which is why it’s best to address the elephant in the room before things get worse.
Love languages help partners communicate better. Couples usually use all the 5 love languages to express love and care but tend to gravitate more toward one than the others. You and your partner may use different love languages to convey your feelings. But, to build a happy and satisfying relationship, it’s important that you make the effort to embrace each other’s love languages. By communicating in ways that appeal to the other, you’ll find that there is less conflict and more love and understanding in the relationship.
If you are inclined toward the receiving gifts love language, it means that receiving gifts from your partner makes you feel loved, cherished, and appreciated. It is your primary way of giving and receiving love. A tangible item makes you feel special – whether it’s a tiny trinket, a dress, or a luxury car.
There are two kinds of gift love language – giving and receiving. Usually, partners who like giving gifts also like receiving them. But, in rare cases, it may happen that your partner likes to give gifts but is not too fond of receiving them. Gauge their reaction when you give them a gift. If they seem enthusiastic, you’ll have your answer.
Have an open and honest conversation with your husband about it. There’s a possibility that he hasn’t been able to understand what your love language is. Explain it to him and tell him what makes you feel loved and special. Also, try learning his love language.