In 1992, author Gary Chapman revolutionized the way many of us view love with his #1 New York Times best-selling book, The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate. In the book, he developed the theory that there are five primary ways romantic partners give and receive love, and that we all speak certain languages better than other languages in our romantic lives.
A Brief Overview of Chapman’s Five Love Languages
Before digging into the love language of receiving gifts, specifically, let’s first review all five of Chapman’s languages. They’re as follows:
- Physical Touch, which means that we show and receive love through affirmative touching such as holding hands, cuddling, kissing, and even sex.
- Quality Time, which means we need to spend meaningful time with our partner to feel loved. This quality time can range from chatting over dinner to going for a long walk.
- Acts of Service, which translates to showing and feeling love through helpful service, such as cooking a meal or cleaning out the car.
- Words of Affirmation, which means that more than anything we feel loved or show our love through verbal praise, compliments, and expressions of love.
- Gift Giving, which means we “speak” our love through presents ranging from small tokens to surprise deliveries.
“Approaching relationships from the love language perspective is really productive. By learning how to ‘speak’ each other’s love language, you’re ensuring both people in a relationship feel supported and seen,” says Mark Williams, a licensed mental health counselor and relationship coach.
It’s possible, and even likely, that you and your partner don’t speak the same love languages, so learning how to speak their preferred language becomes even more important. In fact, Chapman argues that it can improve your understanding of each other, prevent arguments, and foster deeper love.
he Receiving Gifts Love Language
If you’re here, then either you know or suspect that one of your partner’s strongest love languages is the act of giving and receiving gifts. Or perhaps gifts are your love language and you’re simply looking for a better way to communicate your needs to your partner. Whatever the case, we’re breaking it all down for you.
Of all the love languages, the act of gift giving is arguably the most often misconstrued. To some, it can seem greedy or as if the recipient is fixated on things versus love itself. That’s not the case.
“If you or your partner’s love language is gifts, that means you feel loved [or that you’re demonstrating love] with a tangible item,” says Williams. “Whether that item is a tiny trinket from a thrift store, or a 50-foot sailboat is inconsequential. Either convey the same message: I was thinking about you when I saw this. You’re always on my mind.”
In that sense, Williams explains that the true meaning of gift giving isn’t extravagance, it’s sentimentality. A person who feels loved through these items might cherish the gift, however small, more than another who speaks a different love language. Every time they see it, it will serve as a reminder that they are loved.