What Is the Love Language of Receiving Gifts?
- Sophia Bricker Contributing Writer
- 2021 17 Dec
According to Dr. Gary Chapman in his popular bestselling book, The Five Love Languages, there are five “love languages,” which communicate love to another person. Every person has their own “language” through which they feel loved. These different “love languages” include touch, acts of service, quality time, affirming words, and receiving gifts.
Based on the information in Dr. Chapman’s book, couples can invest in the quality of their marriage by being aware of their own primary love language and learning how their spouse feels loved through the five languages of love. While this method has been used by married couples, it also is beneficial in showing love to family, friends, and children.
One of the five love languages is receiving gifts. Those who identify with this “language” feel loved when they receive presents from others. Many people may misunderstand these acts as promoting materialism.
However, individuals who identify with this love language are not necessarily focused on the item they receive, but rather the tangible act of receiving an item that represents the other person’s love for them.
To help provide clarity to this topic, this article will look at what receiving gifts mean in regard to showing love to others, what this looks like in everyday life, how this love language correlates to Scripture, and why this information is important.
Representations of Love
A person whose primary love language is receiving gifts feels most loved when they receive gifts from those they love. These presents may be extravagant or simple, but a person with this “language” appreciates these keepsakes because of what they represent.
To them, the gift is much more than a material item since it reminds them that they are loved and cherished by someone. Oftentimes, people who most enjoy giving gifts to others, for special occasions or spontaneously, are the ones who have the love language of receiving gifts.
Throughout time, people around the world in various cultures have understood that giving and receiving gifts convey love to another person. Whether such gifts are jewelry, flowers, cards, poems, or music, gifts do have the power to tell another person, “I love you.”
Thus, those who know someone who values gifts as an act of love need to be aware of how important this is in their relationship. Regularly giving presents to a person who speaks this language is vital to ensuring they feel loved.
Even small gifts, such as a food item or a handwritten note, can make the other person’s heart fill up with the message that they are cherished. Doing this regularly out of a place of love for the other person will make a major difference in one’s marriage, family, or friendship.
With knowing the power of giving gifts, individuals need to be careful not to misunderstand or misuse this love language. First, the person who requires presents to feel loved is not being selfish or greedy.
Instead, they value gifts because of what the item represents. To them, presents have sentimental qualities and cause them to remember that they are loved by the person from whom they received the gift. In addition to avoiding any misunderstanding about receiving gifts to feel loved, individuals must also be aware of the danger of misusing this love language.
Potentially, a spouse or loved one could use another person’s primary love language against them by deliberately withholding acts of love.
Doing this can cause the other person to feel hurt and neglected, which is not a God-honoring way to act. Individuals should use the knowledge of love languages to strengthen their relationships with others instead of causing hurt.
How Can I Do This?
1. Remembering important days and holidays is essential. A wife whose love language is receiving gifts will eagerly await her anniversary and expect a present as a tangible expression of her husband’s love.
If he fails to remember the date and neglects to bring his wife a present, the message expressed to her will be, “I don’t care about our marriage.” However, if her husband remembers and provides a special gift, she will know that her husband does care about their marriage and still loves her just as much as the day they were married.
2. Giving gifts on ordinary days is also important. These gifts do not have to be lavishly expensive or dramatic. Instead, simple gifts on ordinary days of the week can also have a significant impact in expressing love. For instance, buying a friend a cup of coffee before heading to work can demonstrate one’s care.
Also, a parent can lovingly remind a child that they are thinking of him or her by packing a handwritten note in their lunchbox for school. Such gifts are simple, yet profound because it tells others that someone cares for them.
3. Giving gifts should stem from a heart of love toward the other person. A person whose love language is receiving gifts will benefit the most if they receive presents that are given from the heart. Truly, it is the “thought that counts” and not necessarily the gift.
Handing over items with a bad attitude or irritation will not make a loved one feel cherished. Instead, such an action would cause more damage than good. Thus, people must be careful not to present gifts to others by mere habit or duty, but rather from the sincerity of the heart (Romans 12:9).
The Connection to Scripture
Those who do not have the love language of receiving gifts as their own primary love language may find it challenging to understand how giving and receiving presents can be an expression of love to others.
However, the Bible also connects gifts with love, as shown in God’s loving gift of His Son and eternal life through Him. As John 3:16 states, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
God the Father gave His Son to die on behalf of mankind’s sins, which is the ultimate expression of love (Romans 5:8). Furthermore, salvation is a gift based on God’s grace and received by faith (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Based on Scripture, God clearly communicates in the love language of receiving gifts. He has graciously offered the gift of salvation to all who believe in Jesus’ death and resurrection (Romans 10:9-10). Truly, in Christ believers have been given all they need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). The love of God is evident in what He has offered as a gift to all humans.
Christians have been the recipients of the amazing love of Jesus. In discussing the topic of presents, however, receiving gifts must be kept in balance with giving to others. Jesus did say, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).
Because of the love He has freely given, followers of Christ can also freely give to others, both in the form of love as well as material needs or gifts.
Since those who value receiving gifts as a form of love are also often the ones who enjoy gifting others to show love, giving can often come naturally. All people, regardless of love language, should strive to give of themselves just as Christ did (John 15:13). In doing so, they can model the wonderful love of God to others.
Why Is This Important?
Generally, Dr. Chapman’s book on love languages has greatly impacted how married couples, families, and friends interact with each other and deepen their relationships.
Both secular and Christian counselors utilize the methods discussed in Dr. Chapman’s numerous books on the topic of love languages for couples, singles, teenagers, and children. Understanding how others feel most loved can enable individuals to love others better in a way that reflects God’s love.
Through knowledge about the love language of receiving gifts, people can be equipped to express love to those who have this primary love language.
Making an intentional effort to regularly bring presents to one’s spouse, family, children, or friend with this love language can tell them “I love you” and strengthen relationships through continued effort and acts of love.
Those who take the time to learn about the “language” their loved ones speak are demonstrating sacrificial love and concern for others, which reflects Christ’s love to a watching world (John 13:34).
For further reading:
Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/Tom Merton
Sophia Bricker is a freelance writer who enjoys researching and writing articles on biblical and theological topics. In addition to contributing articles about biblical questions as a contract writer, she has also written for Unlocked devotional. Holding a Bachelor of Arts in Ministry and currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Ministry, she is passionate about the Bible and her faith in Jesus. When she isn’t busy studying or writing, Sophia enjoys spending time with family, reading, drawing, and gardening.