Imago exercise #4: Gift Giving
Valentine’s Day is now behind us and my hope is that it was a wonderful day for both of you. In our culture, it seems to me, Valentine’s Day celebrates the romantic side of any relationship. For one day a year at least we can forget the heavier issues of a relationship – whether financial, health, in-laws etc, and celebrate, often with a gift.
The Five Love Languages
A book by Dr. Gary Chapman may help you with your gift-giving, not only on Valentine’s Day but throughout the year. In his book, entitled The Five Love Languages, Dr. Chapman points out that we all communicate in many different ways, but that one method of communication tends to be the primary way each of us expresses and receives love. He likens it to speaking different languages. If I am speaking English but your primary language is French, Spanish, German or Italian it makes it difficult to communicate. The love languages Dr. Chapman identifies are physical touch, quality time, gifts, acts of service, and words of affirmation.
If my partner’s primary love language is receiving gifts but the way I express love is with acts of service, I can unknowingly miscommunicate. I am busy doing all kinds of good things around the house, which my partner certainly appreciates, but for her, it doesn’t mean the same thing as if I were to bring home something as simple as a Tim Horton double-double, or perhaps, the Globe and Mail on a Saturday morning. Remember Valentine’s Day is just one day a year. In a conscious relationship, you can give gifts, expressed in your partner’s primary love language, every day of the year!
Have a conversation with your partner and explore what each of you think is the primary way you both receive and give love. This week, give your partner a gift every day in the love language that he or she has identified as primary.