The Love Language of Gift Giving

Relationship Rules
15 Jul 2023
8 min read
Gift-Giving Love Language - Some Straight Talk

The best way to illustrate when love language is gift-giving is this story. Once upon a time, there was a fairy princess. Her parents had arranged a marriage for her with a prince from a nearby estate. This would mean the combined two families would now be the most powerful in the entire kingdom. What a great power grab. Only one problem. The princess did not love the prince. He was egotistical, mean to his subjects and an all-around bad guy.

One day, while walking in the forest, she met a pauper fishing in a stream. They talked. suddenly, his line jerked a bit, and he pulled out a small silver box, dirty and corroded. He cleaned it off as best he could and gave it to the princess. Their eyes met, and it was love at first sight.

The princess took the box home and cherished it. Was there a fairy tale ending? No. She married the horrible prince, but she held on to that small gift all her life, knowing that it was a heartfelt commitment and a love language she could always keep in her memory.

Sorry this story did not have the typical fairy tale ending. But yours doesn’t have to end badly. Because you are in the 21st century, and your parents aren’t arranging a relationship for you. And when you fall for someone, you want to find ways to express heartfelt commitment to them. And that’s where love languages come into play, especially when your love language is gift-giving.

What Are 5 Love Languages?

“Different people with different personalities give and receive love in different ways. Discovering your own primary love language will help you better understand yourself, as well as teach others how to love you best.”

Gary Chapman, author of The 5 Love Languages book

Years ago, Gary Chapman, a Ph.D. educator, developed the concept of five love languages. Only one of five languages involves verbal communication – (1) words of affirmation. The others are all languages of actions and behaviors – (2) quality time, (3) acts of service, (4) physical touch, and (5) gift-giving. Simply put, these five love languages are the forms for showing affection and ways to perceive love in a relationship.

According to Chapman, everyone has a primary love language – the one they prefer to use and be used by their partner. This notion refers to people’s actual gift form to feel or express love. But people get together who do not have the same love language preference. If they’re committed to one another, they will, over time, discover their partner’s primary love language and honor that with their actions and behaviors.

Let’s talk about the love language gift giving, or the relationship when your partner and/or you love giving gifts.

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If Gift-Giving Is Your Love Language, It’s About Giving and Receiving

Those who don’t understand gift-giving language may believe such people are materialistic and selfish – always wanting to receive gifts from their romantic partners or cannot see themselves beyond the role of sugar daddies and mommies. The criticism can also imply that they won’t have anything to do with possible partners if they don’t have money. They believe that people whose love language is gift-giving should always have an opportunity to shower their partners with expensive gifts; otherwise, there is no love from them.

To coin an old term – this is simply “hogwash.” Let’s unpack a few signs of gift-giving and see that there is no imbalance – because, in reality, gift-givers love both giving and receiving gifts.

Love language gift giving

Receiving Gifts Is a Gesture of Love for You

If your language is gift-giving, just the act of someone giving you a gift makes you feel loved. If the gesture is from your partner, this is a sign of a heartfelt commitment to you. But here are the other key ingredients of this half of gift-giving love language:

  • It’s not about money: Gifts’ monetary value is unimportant. It’s not that you want valuable stuff – a single flower picked from their garden, for example, would be awesome.
  • There are no insignificant gifts: You value any little gift your partner gives you. If your love language is gifts, even an “I love you” card or a single rose is treasured.
  • Special occasions are essential: Holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries are important to you. You will feel hurt if you don’t receive even a small gift. Again, it’s not about the monetary value; it’s about the thought.
  • A personal touch is highly appreciated: You prefer gifts that have taken some thought and/or creativity. A generic gift doesn’t feel that personal. For example, candy and flowers as gifts on Valentine’s Day are nice – but not meaningful. You would rather prefer your favorite special meal when you arrive home.
  • A letter and a tiny trinket are great gifts: Love letters or tiny trinket items speak love to you. If your partner rents your favorite movie for a night in and brings your favorite snacks to boot – that’s very meaningful to you. You will hold on to these tangible items as treasures.
  • Time is also a gift: You love gifts that are small gestures of thoughtfulness. You are happy when your partner gives you undivided attention. But if they also buy your favorite brew, you feel their affection even more.

Related reading: How to Be a Good Girlfriend: Master the Skill

You Use Gifts to Make Others Feel Loved

When gift-giving love language is your preference, you also give special gifts to other people, making them personal to each receiver. That’s how people you love see that giving as a love language is as important to you as receiving. Here are the ways you can express your love:

  • Taking flowers to work to perk up a person having a hard time.
  • Giving great gifts for each person when special occasions roll around (holidays, birthdays, etc.). Gift-giving holidays are especially important to you, and you want each gift you give to be meaningful to your loved ones.
  • Being thoughtful and bringing a gift for each person (even the hostess) when invited to a party.
  • Finding little token gifts when on a vacation to bring back as meaningful gifts to others in your circle.
  • Carefully learning what your relationship partner likes and finding gifts that relate. The cost is not an issue. These can be small things such as their favorite foods or making a playlist of their favorite music or recording artists.
  • Showing people a physical representation of your affection through these little gestures.
  • Picking each tangible item thoughtfully instead of giving a generic gift.

Ultimately, if your love language is giving and receiving gifts, you appreciate thoughtful presents and giving a great gift to anyone. As a giver and receiver, you will always invest in meaningful gifts. And what if these small tokens are not the right gift for your person? Let’s take a look at other love languages.

Beyond gift-giving, other love languages exist

What to Do When Your Partner Has a Different Love Language?

If you are a gifts person and your partner has another primary love language, you must honor their perspective. Even though a loved one or partner’s love language is different, they often intersect in lots of ways. Let’s see where to find common ground when your love language is gifts.

1. Physical Touch

When your partner’s love language is physical touch, you may start with exchanging gifts together and accompany that with hugs, kisses, handholding, etc. This way, you can honor each other’s love language and connect strongly.

2. Quality Time

When quality time is your partner’s choice among various love languages, consider the depth of attention you dedicate to them. This way, you’ll make them a perfect gift while giving or receiving gifts from yourself. Choose the special place to spend time together – a restaurant, a park, the beach, or just at your place or theirs – to share your gifts, express your surprise/gratitude and feel loved. This is quality time perfectly balanced with gift-giving.

3. Being of Service

When your partner speaks an altruistic love type, or the love we express in higher purposes that get us outside of ourselves, it may seem harder to combine it with “materialistic” gift-giving love language. But things can be much easier than gift-givers may suppose:

  • Participate in a volunteering event together: If your partner volunteers (as a tutor, at the library, or an animal shelter) or is committed to an altruistic cause (animal rights, the environment, etc.), you can give your partner a wonderful gift by participating in the activities that matter to them. This gift won’t cost you money, but as you have had time together, you honor your partner’s love language to be of service.
  • Come up with a gift for an altruistic activity: If your partner speaks about something they might need for one of their activities, it makes sense that you could come up with that as a gift. This way, gifts love language meshes perfectly with the love language of service.
  • Consider each act of service as a gift: In your relationship, your partner may enjoy being of service to you – fixing your favorite meal, doing your laundry because you are busy, or showing up at the end of a bad day with a bottle of wine and your favorite pizza. A neck massage follows that. Just see them as giving you gifts; being a gift-giver yourself, you can reciprocate and satisfy your love language too.

4. Words of Affirmation

If your partner’s love language involves verbal communication, expressing feelings, appreciation, encouragement, support, and even congratulations is more important to them than materialistic objects. In other words, they want to receive love and affection through your words, not just your deeds.

Again, giving presents to this person won’t cost you a thing – but when put in the correct form, they will make your person perceive your love this way.

This is one of those love languages that can be combined with any other one. Suppose, for example, that your special person has decided to go back to school to pursue another degree. The perfect gift you can give your partner is your verbal support and statements of how proud you are of them for taking this important step in their career journey.

And you can add to those words of affirmation your gifts love language. These can be special presents that relate to their return to school – a new tablet with related software, for example. This way, you’ll use both love languages to express your love.

Related reading: A Guide on How to Be a Better Boyfriend

Will Everything Now Be Rosy with Gifts Love Language?

Gift givers tend to believe giving gifts to a partner will be enough to show their love and affection. The more they love, the more they go out of their way to give the best gift in the world. If gift-giving is your love language,  don’t forget to honor the other’s love languages.

Gift-givers may need to broaden their concept of what gift-giving really means. Sometimes, the best gift people can present in their relationship are non-tangible presents that honor their primary love language. Gifts people give do not always have to be physical objects.

So, be the wonderful gift-giver that you are. But in that giving, be mindful that your gift-giving can involve honoring your partner’s love language.

Relationships Author
Geoffrey Williams
After taking a required Intro to Psychology course as an undergrad, I have never looked back. Since my doctoral program, I have specialized in adult relationship therapy. Through my studies and clinicals, I wrote several articles for professional journals and currently in the midst of writing a book.

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