Gift-Giving as a Love Language

If you’ve not already read The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, do it! What started out as a book has turned into an empire. There is now a “men’s edition” and an edition for parenting. There’s a couple’s study Bible and a series of children’s books.

Here it is in a nutshell: each of us expresses and receives love in one of five ways. (We may be multilingual, but we each have one dominant love language.) These love languages are: words, acts of service, touch, quality time, and gift-giving.

I must admit—when I first read this book, the gift-giving love language completely stumped me. Sure, giving and receiving gifts is fun and important, but can it really be placed in the same category as touch and words?

But then I had an experience. You see, I have a loved one who loves to give me gifts. For years, this has made me feel bad. She spends lots of money on me and then I feel guilty. She buys me expensive gifts that I don’t need. And she buys me many gifts.

Especially at Christmas. This wonderful woman buys (and individually wraps) at least a dozen ornaments for me. I mean, how many Christmas ornaments does one family need? (Although I do really love my holy family at manger Christmas ornament.) But still, on every occasion, she would get me gifts. And on every occasion, I would not understand.

On occasion, I even refused her gifts. On occasion, I even acted ungrateful. And I did an absolutely terrible job of giving her gifts in return. What a dummy, right?

One day, it hit me. Oh no! That’s her love language! She thinks I don’t love her! And just like that, I realized that I wasn’t letting her love me either.

And in that moment, I vowed to take my gift-giving and receiving a little more seriously. Now, I receive her gifts with gratitude and appreciation. Now, I spend way more time thinking about what to get her for gifts. (Right now I’m debating between the mother of pearl camel pin and the mother of pearl bracelet with cross. Shh…don’t tell!)

Today, I realize that gift-giving is a gift in and of itself. And even though it is not my love language, it is the love language of many, and from here on out, I will make an effort to honor that.