In 1992, author Gary Chapman revolutionized the way many people view love with his bestselling book, „The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate.“ In the book, Chapman shares five primary ways romantic partners give and receive love, adding that we all speak certain languages better than others in our romantic lives.
Understanding your own love language and the love language of your partner can help you both get what you need from the relationship. Here we will take a closer look at the love language of gift-giving and gift-receiving and what this means for your partnership.
You may know or suspect that one of your partner’s strongest love languages is the act of giving and receiving gifts. Or perhaps gifts are your love language and you’re looking for a better way to communicate your needs.
Chapman’s 5 Love Languages
Giving and receiving gifts is just one love language. It’s helpful to know all five of Chapman’s proposed love languages. They are:
- Physical touch: Showing and receiving love through affirmative touching, such as by holding hands, cuddling, kissing, and even sex
- Quality time: Needing to spend meaningful time with your partner to feel loved, such as chatting over dinner or going for a long walk together
- Acts of service: Showing and feeling love through helpful actions, such as by cooking a meal for your partner or cleaning out their car
- Words of affirmation: Feeling or showing love through praise, compliments, and other verbal expressions of love
- Gift giving: Sharing love through presents of all sizes, ranging from small tokens or trinkets to larger, more expensive gifts
“Approaching relationships from the love language perspective is really productive,“ says s, a licensed mental health counselor and relationship coach. „By learning how to ‘speak‘ each other’s love language, you’re ensuring both people in a relationship feel supported and seen.”
It’s possible that you and your partner don’t speak the same love language. According to Chapman, learning your partner’s preferred language is important. since it can improve your understanding of each other, prevent arguments, and foster deeper love.
The Gifts Love Language
Of all the love languages, gift-giving and receiving is arguably the most often misconstrued. To some, it can seem greedy, or as if the recipient is fixated on things versus love itself. But that’s not the case.
“If you or your partner’s love language is gifts, that means you feel loved [or that you’re demonstrating love] with a tangible item,” says Williams. “Whether that item is a tiny trinket from a thrift store or a 50-foot sailboat is inconsequential. Either convey the same message: I was thinking about you when I saw this. You’re always on my mind.”
Williams explains that, in this sense, the true meaning of gift giving isn’t extravagance-it’s sentiment. A person with this love language might cherish the gift, however small, more than someone who speaks a different love language. Every time they see it, it serves as a reminder that they are loved.
- Sending their partner flowers, even if it isn’t a special occasion
- Buying their partner’s favorite snack food while at the grocery store
- Getting their partner tickets to see their favorite musician or artist
- Giving their partner a gift certificate to a restaurant they’ve been wanting to try
Know Your Partner’s Love Language
“We often speak the love language to our partners that we ourselves want to receive,“ says Williams. „Meaning, if your partner buys you an album two days after you talk about how much you love a new band, or gets you a subscription to a magazine they think you’d like, it’s likely that their love language is gift-giving.”
Another good way to know if your partner’s love language is gifts is by gs says that if they feel embarrassed when presented with a gift, it’s likely not their love language. Conversely, if they’re highly enthusiastic, if they put the item on display, wear it every day, or gush to their friends about it, they likely feel very loved by the gesture.
How to Satisfy Your Partner’s Gift-Giving Language
If speaking the gifts love language doesn’t come naturally to you, it’s still important to try learning it if it’s the one your partner speaks. Research has connected using a partner’s love language with increased feelings of love and greater relationship satisfaction.
“Just like you put a filter on an Instagram post, look at things in your daily life through the lens of gift-giving,” suggests Williams. “If you pass a bakery every day on the way home from work, look at it through the lens of ‘My partner really feels loved when I bring them gifts‘ and stop in for a pastry before heading home.“
„They don’t have to be big purchases,“ Williams adds, „and they don’t have to be all the time. They’re just little reminders that they’re always on your mind, and the tangible evidence to prove it.”
Precautions for the Gifts Love Language
If someone’s love language is words of affirmations, hurling an insult will wound that person more than it might another. Similarly, if their love language is physical touch and you withheld affection for days, your partner would feel dejected.
“The dark side of knowing each other’s love languages is that you also become equipped with the knowledge of how you might hurt your partner,” says Williams. In the case of someone who speaks gifts as their love language, „not getting them a gift on an anniversary or special occasion would be acutely hurtful to them,“ Williams says, „as would approaching the gift-giving as more a chore than an opportunity.”
A Word From Verywell
Though the majority of us have one or two dominant love languages, each of us technically speaks all the languages to some degree. It’s ideal that we speak all five languages to our romantic partners-physical affection, quality time, acts of service, kind words, and gifts-making sure to prioritize their preferred love language.