As we continue in our series, I hope that my thoughts and ideas are helping to strengthen your understanding of the Five Love Languages. In my last post, I spoke about the Words of Affirmation love language. This post will focus on my own primary love language, Receiving Gifts.
Those who speak the Receiving Gifts love language are the ones who feel affirmed of your love for them through the act of giving. It isn’t the gift itself that make these people’s hearts grow, it’s the physical representation that they were on your mind.
The individuals who speak this love language are not materialistic; in fact, they are, in many ways, just the opposite. These are the people who love the flowers that you bring them, who beam when you walk in the door with their favorite candy, and who hold onto the silliest of items because of the sentimental value. The gift-lover feels appreciation and love through the meaning behind the gift.
My primary love language is Receiving Gifts, so I have a lot to say about this language! Not only because gifts mean so much when I receive them, but also when I give them. So here are some of my favorite ways to affirm love for the gift-lover.
Make even the most ordinary of days a holiday.
You don’t verbally tell your loved one how much they mean to you only on special occasions, so why only physically affirm your love on special occasions? Those who speak this love language need gifts (small, physical representations of your love) often! This is what keeps them feeling loved all year long. Maybe your loved one has had her eye on a new necklace… so surprise her with it on a random Tuesday!
Create something special.
Homemade gifts mean the world to gift-lovers! Why? Because they speak volumes how much thought you put into the gift. And, to the gift-lover, the thought is the expression of love. You know the saying, it’s the thought that counts? That is a motto of the gift-lover. To us, your expression of love comes not from how well you can craft a scrapbook, but the thought that you put into creating the gift.
Bring something home from vacation.
Nothing says “I missed you and was thinking of you while I was away” than a souvenir from a vacation. Even if you’re only away from your love for a few days, it would mean the world if you returned with a small gift. Bring them a shell from the beach, or a leaf from the New England fall trees. You can tell them that you missed them a thousand times, but still, nothing will speak louder than that physical representation.
Pick up something special for them when you’re at the grocery store.
I do this for Connor every time I go to the grocery store. Depending on our budget, it can be anything from his favorite candy bar to steak for dinner. But by picking up something that is out of the ordinary and off of the grocery list, it shows that I was thinking of him even when running my errands.
Surprise your loved one.
Life is busy, and it can be difficult to remember to give gifts. But, surprising your loved one with small gifts goes a long way! Don’t wait for you gift-lover to continually hint that they are needing some reassurance. Rather, always keep an eye out for something special.
Give the gift of time.
Technically, this falls under the Quality Time love language, but the gift of time is still one of the most important gifts to me. When Connor was at West Point, nothing made me happier than when he actively set aside time to talk to me. Again, it all comes back to the thought behind the action. The gift of time says “I am willing to sacrifice something to spend time with you, because you are more important.”
Don’t neglect significant or meaningful dates.
Anniversaries, holidays, and special events are all very important days for the gift-lover. Receiving gifts on these days affirms that these days are a celebration of love. Honestly, neglecting these days could be detrimental to your gift-lover. That may seem silly, but to us, neglecting a special day says “it, and you, just aren’t important enough to put thought and effort into it.”
Give with your heart.
Giving gifts just to do it and get it over with will not fly with those who speak the Receiving Gifts love language. Like I said, it’s about the thought, not the action itself. Giving with your heart is a way of affirming your loved one that they are special. Your loved one will be able to tell when you are being genuine, and that will make the world to them.
When Your Loved One Is Feeling Down…
When the gift-lover is feeling a little down, it may be a good idea to do some extra gift-giving. Since I am the resident expert at the Receiving Gifts love language, I asked myself what I would like others to do when I’m feeling a little down. My thoughts?
Make something special, like a card or photo collage, to remind me how much you care about sentimental things.
Flowers, candy, any cliché romantic gesture isn’t so silly when I need a little boost.
Consider getting me something that I have wanted for a while… nothing big, but enough to let me know that you are paying attention to my needs.
Give me the gift of time… like I said, sometimes all I need is for you to sacrifice your time to let me know that I’m important.
Don’t underestimate the power of even the smallest gift.
Receiving Gifts in Military Life
There are so many ways to affirm your military loved ones, and the act of giving gifts is one of the easiest and, often, most meaningful ways. Care packages are one of the best ways to remind your loved one how much they mean to you. Fill it with all the things that make them feel special! When your loved one is in the military, it can be easy to want to fill care packages with things they need (socks, gum, toiletries), but it is equally important to fill it with meaningful mementos. These are the gifts that will mean the most to the Receiving Gifts loved ones. Send pictures, cards, or their favorite candy to let them know that they are always on your mind.
Wrap the gifts in the care package individually, and number or date them, so that your loved one can open the gifts slowly, rather than all at once. This is a simple way to keep the gifts coming, without having to send tons of care packages. When Connor was at West Point, I would fill one care package with cards for each day of the month, tea if he got sick, and items to help him through finals. It was my version of an “Open When…” gift. He opened each gift individually, and was continually reminded of my love for him.
In my next post, I’ll be talking about speaking to the Quality Time love language. I hope you’ll join me!