Gift giving is more fundamental to relationships than dating.
It’s more universal than dinner and a movie, more specific to how a couple relates than dancing and older than the language I’m writing in now.
So why do we do it so badly?
Finding gifts for a significant other is one of the most common questions that leads people to this blog. What can I get for my boyfriend, what will impress my girlfriend, what can I get my wife for our thirtieth anniversary that I haven’t got before? On all ends of the relationship spectrum people are looking for better gifts.
And usually that is what I write about (For example I have a series of training emails about how you can give more effective gifts without spending a penny more), but I think we should also back up and talk about the role of giving gifts in a relationship. All the things that I started this article with are true, but it’s also super easy to go wrong with gift giving and not come out of it with anything other than a higher Visa bill
Speak my language
For looking deeper into gift giving in relationships I am going to borrow the language from Gary Chapman’s books on love languages. Chapman is a marriage counselor and author whose big idea is that different people express and receive love differently. You might feel loved when you are told that you are loved but your boyfriend might try to express his feelings by suggesting that you go on a drive together. You can learn more about the love languages at his main website and I suggest you do, it’s an idea that seems obvious after you read about it. A sure sign of quality.
More About Gift Receiving
Here, though, I only want to talk about one of the forms of love language – gift receiving. Everyone feels loved when they receive a gift to a certain extent so don’t worry if you think that your spouse is a different type, but how do you know if their primary form of love is gift receiving?
Chapman suggests that one of the surest signs of how someone feels about gifts is to look at how they’ve reacted to past gifts. Do they attach a great deal of importance to gifts you’ve given them in the past? Do they keep cards? Do they show a great deal of appreciation for small gifts of flowers or time? Again there is more in the book?
And If They Aren’t Gift Receivers?
Everyone actually speaks all the languages according to Chapman, it’s more a matter of relativity. I am a cuddle man, for instance (physical touch) but I also enjoy receiving a kind word (words of affirmation) or a thoughtful gift. Everything I am going to write in the next article applies to your partner, but you may need to put forth more effort on this front if gifts are their primary form of affection.
Gifts of Love
This article has been an overview of the idea of Love Languages and specifically Gift Receiving that I will refer back to. Next time I am going to get more directly to the question of how you show love using gifts… and without going broke.