In every culture, Chapman, author of The 5 Love Languages studied “gift giving was a part of the love-marriage process.”
He defines a gift as: “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 is important is that you thought of him. And it is not the thought implanted only in the mind that counts, but the thought expressed in actually securing the gift and giving it as the expression of love.” (pp.74-75)
Types of Gifts
Gifts come in all sizes, colors, and shapes. Some are expensive, and others are free. According to Chapman, if your spouse’s primary love language is receiving gifts, you can become a proficient gift giver. In fact, it is one of the easiest love languages to learn. He shares that “you may have to change your attitude about money.” If one partner‘s goal is to save and invest, he points out that “to invest in your spouse is to invest in blue-chip stocks.”
Crystal’s Love Language: Receiving Gifts
My wife’s primary love language happens to be receiving gifts; however, it is not mine. The challenge for me is to remember, even after all these years, how important receiving gifts is to her as an expression of my love. The gifts don’t have to be expensive. If I bring her home a coffee which she isn’t expecting, that counts.
There is another dialect of gift-giving that sometimes speaks more loudly than a gift that can be held in one’s hand. Chapman calls “it the gift of self or the gift of presence. Being there when your spouse needs you speaks loudly to the one whose primary love language is receiving gifts.” (p.78)
Chapman’s Seminar Participant Example
In the last part of this chapter Chapman recounts the tale of a miracle that occurred to one of the participants of his seminars. The man recounting what had happened explained:
“I had listened to your lecture on love languages at the seminar and I realized that her love language was gifts. Also, I realized that I had not given her a gift in years, maybe not since we had been married. I remembered that when we were dating I used to bring her flowers and other small gifts. Although, after marriage, I figured we couldn’t afford that. I told her that I had decided that I was going to try to get a gift every day for one week and see if it made any difference in her. Admittedly, I had seen a pretty big difference in attitude during the week.
I told her that I realized that what she said was really true and that learning the right love language was the key to helping another person feel loved. Apologizing for being so dense for all those years and also mentioning I had failed to meet her need for love, I told her that I really loved her and that I appreciated all the things she did for me and the children. I told her that with God’s help, I was going to be a gift-giver for the rest of my life.
The Change in Him
… His wife chimed in: “Dr. Chapman, I don’t think he has missed a single week in three years. He is like a new man. You wouldn’t believe how happy we have been. Our children call us lovebirds now. My tank is full and overflowing.” (pp. 83-84)
Can you guess the love language of the man? Remember what he said: “I appreciated all the things she did for me and the children.” Next week we will look at his love language – Acts of Service.