Love Language #3 – Receiving Gifts

Everyone reading this should consider it a gift of Mark’s Notes (similar to Cliff’s Notes but they’re mine). Hope you feel the love.

So how do gifts REALLY communicate love?? They say “he/she was thinking of me” to the person receiving the gift. The gift symbolizes the thought. It isn’t whether or not it cost money and it isn’t jus the thought itself. It is the thought, the securing of a gift, and the giving of it as an expression of love.

From the time we’re kids we’re inclined to give gifts to our parents (the flower picked from the yard) as an act of love. It’s in our nature for love to be communicated through gifts. Wedding rings “are outward and visible signs of an inward and spiritual bond that unites your two hearts in love that has no end”. That means they’re gifts, symbols that have emotional value. Unfortunately for a lot of people they don’t realize the value of those rings until they’re holding their spouse’s in their hand after the marriage has fallen apart.

Visual symbols of love (gifts) are more important to some people than others (different love languages). Some people will put greater value on gifts they receive and cherish them for years. They may even question love from their spouse if they’re not receiving gifts.

A disclaimer right here to keep manipulation out of the picture… A person who receives gifts as a primary love language will consider almost anything you give as an expression of love. So, if your spouse criticizes everything you try to give then their love language is not receiving gifts. If you’re the one doing this you’re not as smart as you think. Don’t be trying to manipulate your spouse to get you stuff by telling them that makes you feel loved if you’re just going to criticize every effort. Now if it’s a brand new manual can opener for the kitchen your spouse might need a little help understanding what a gift actually is, but almost anything better than that should be received well if your love language is really receiving gifts.

For those of us who don’t have receiving gifts as our primary love language we have to work at this. For me, working at it has a lot to do with being creative, because money doesn’t grow on trees at the Asbell house. (Although, I’m getting money under control with the support and encouragement of Joe Sangl). Remember, gifts can be not only bought, but made or even found as well. Then be creative with how you do it. Fru fru creativity isn’t my forte, so usually I buy small things that carry more significance to Shawna because of what it is not what it cost. It’s important to keep in mind that to people whose primary love language is receiving gifts the cost of the gift doesn’t matter much, unless it is really out of line with what the giver can afford. In other words – bringing home dollar store gifts when you can afford more will defeat the purpose. Here’s why…

All of us have different attitudes about money. Some are easy spenders and others are strictly savers. Gift giving is easy for the spenders but difficult for the savers. For the saver it’s easy to form excuses like “I don’t buy for myself why should I buy for them?”. What the saver is failing to realize is they ARE purchasing self-worth and security for theirself when they save, and they’re neglecting the emotional needs of their spouse if they refuse to loosen up and buy a few gifts. That’s pretty selfish. The savings minded people need to understand that investing in loving their spouse is one of the best investments they will ever make.

There is another dialogue to this gift giving thing – the intangible gift of giving of yourself. This is similar to quality time but different. It isn’t the time spent enjoying activity together and stuff like that, it is the time spent being there for each other during significant moments or just simply when one of you wants the other around. One extreme example of this is when there is a crisis. If receiving gifts is important to your spouse then your presence is very important during a crisis. Another example is when your spouse just wants you around for the sake of being there and having your company or your assistance. I recently signed up for our church basketball game. I’d like it if Shawna is able to come to some of the games just so I think she is pulling for me.

One thing to note right here is if the physical presence of your spouse is important, you should verbalize it to them. I have failed more than one time even when Shawna did try to verbalize it to me. Last night was one example. We have been busy almost every night of the week for a while, but last night we didn’t have any plans. She had asked me to help her do some things around the house. She was requesting my presence and asking for my help. Something came up that was more important to me and I took care of it (at least it wasn’t basketball). I made the mistake of not realizing how important the time Shawna requested was to her and it hurt her feelings. I was wrong and had to apologize.

The next love language is acts of service, which is another one of Shawna’s big ones (another reason me not helping with what she wanted was a dumb mistake), so hopefully I’ll see how good I’ve done since the last time I read this book … Check back later to see.

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