Well it’s officially the time of year where my husband and I look at each other and ask: “So, what do you want as a holiday gift this year?” And, inevitably, we stare back at the other and say: “I don’t know.” Every year we rinse and repeat this cycle and always scramble to find something at the last minute. Does this pattern sound familiar to any of you? I shared this with a friend who told me that her and her partner never exchange gifts. “It’s not our love language,” she said simply. Huh…it might be worth looking into this.
The 5 Love Languages is a book written by author and counselor Dr. Gary Chapman and originally published in 1992. I was wildly unfamiliar with this topic in my single/dating years and became only vaguely knowledgeable after marrying my husband. So what are these languages exactly? The 5 Love Languages are different ways of expressing and receiving love:
1. Words of affirmation: Expressing affection through spoken words, praise, or appreciation.
2. Quality time: Love and affection are expressed through undivided attention. Putting down the cell phone, making eye contact, and actively listening.
3. Physical touch: Feeling love through physical affection (holding hands, an end of day massage).
4. Acts of service: A person feels loved and appreciated when someone does nice things for them, such as helping with the dishes or running errands. They love when people do little things for them and often can be found doing these acts of service for others.
5. Receiving gifts: Gift-giving is symbolic of love and affection for someone with this love language. They treasure not only the gift itself but also the time and effort the gift-giver put into it.
I showed this list to my husband and, in an instant, he said his love language was Acts of Service. Even quicker than him, I knew mine were Words of Affirmation and Quality Time. Neither of us felt any connection to Receiving Gifts. Oh. Wow. Neighbors, the lyrics to “I Can See Clearly Now” started to blare in my head. This meant…no more gifts! No more blank stares! No more frantically ordering something (ANYTHING) online at the last minute! We high-fived and went on our merry ways.
But wait, now what do I do about my kids, nieces, nephews, parents and in-laws? 😉