The Five Love Languages: Receiving Gifts

            Love languages continue to be a hot topic in sessions with my couples and today’s blog is about the third love language which is gift giving (Chapman, 2010). After reading the other blogs over words of affirmation and quality time you may already feel like you have found your primary love language, but maybe gift giving is something important to you- or your partner. In some cultures and families gift giving is how people show love and appreciation. However, this is not the case for all because gift giving may not mean the same to everyone. You and your partner may have had different upbringing as it relates to the meaning behind gift giving/receiving and it is helpful to have a conversation about what gifts mean to you as there can be perceptions tied to gifts, both positive and negative.

            Conflict and resentment can build when one only shows love through his or her primary love language.

Conflict has erupted in session before when one partner felt as if his partner was trying to “buy her forgiveness.” The husband shared “I was just trying to show her how much I cared about her by giving her a gift after our argument.” With this couple, this partner who gave the partner who gave the gift’s primary love language was receiving gifts, whereas his wife’s love language was physical touch. Quickly a seemingly nice gesture on one end can be met with great resistance and negative emotion. It can also be taken personally when one partner wants thoughtful gifts but giving gifts is nowhere on his or her partner’s radar. Your primary love languages may be different and that is OK!

            You may also be thinking, “yeah, I would love to give or get gifts but we aren’t made of money!” Naturally there can be concerns with gift giving when it comes to restrictions with budget, so let’s consider some ideas about how you can give gifts to your partner whose love language is receiving gifts in a practical way.

If you know your partner’s love language is receiving gifts, here are some ideas:

-       When at the grocery store (or out and about) stop and pick up his or her favorite beverage, treat, or snack. These little gifts are unlikely to cost much, and it is something you can do daily and/or weekly to demonstrate you were thinking about your partner.

-       If your partner mentions anything he or she wants or is thinking of buying, keep a running list on your phone/computer/tablet to have as a gift idea bank to pull from when you see the opportunity to give a gift.

-       Consider making a handmade gift of sorts- this can be a good way to save money, but also give them something that shows you took extra time to make with him or her in mind.

-       Look up tickets in advance for concerts, sports games, or any sort of event before your partner uncovers the event even exists. Surprise them with the ticket!

-       Buy or even pick a bouquet of flowers for your partner just because

-       When traveling for work, a small souvenir or momentum can go a long way to show your partner he or she was on your mind and you made the effort to pick them up a little something while gone

            If gift giving is your primary love language these are tips you can share with your partner. While getting diamonds might be nice every once in a while, small mementos can go a long way! If you notice your partner tends to buy gifts for you it could mean that receiving gifts is his or her love language. If he or she never shows interest in buying or receiving gifts, it is likely that receiving gifts is not on his or her radar with love languages. What if you or your partner is stressing about gifts in the relationship when maybe one or both of you do not feel more connected with them? Maybe there needs to be a shift in focus on to your partner’s primary love language and away from an assumption of what he or she needs.



Chapman, G. (2010) The five love languages. The secret to love that lasts.