The Perfect Gift to Say 'I Love You'
You may be surprised that although your Valentine's Day gift of candy or flowers is expensive and impressive, it may not communicate love to your partner.
That is because, according to Dr. Gary Chapman, counselor and author of The Five Love Languages, there are different ways to communicate love; and each person has a preferred mode of communication (a love language) in which he or she likes to receive love.
If you choose a gift which does not say “I love you,” in the other person's love language, you could fall short of your desired intent. Selecting the perfect gift for the right person is an art.
What are Love Languages?
Chapman cites five love languages. For our purpose of selecting the perfect gift, we may think of the language as the preferred dialect in which a person wants to hear "I love you." If your gift is presented in any other dialect, the message stands the chance of being lost.
Here are Chapman's five love languages:
- (1) Affirmation – words of appreciation or encouragement
- (2) Time – quality time spent together, focusing attention on each other
- (3) Service – acts of kindness which help to make life easier
- (4) Touch – physical show of affection, not sexual or self-gratifying
- (5) Gifts – not necessarily expensive, without intentions of a mutual exchange
The challenge is to identify your partner's love language (yours too). In case you cannot tell simply by conversation and observation, introduce the topic of love languages to him or her, and suggest that you both take the quiz to help you determine your love languages.
It is a fun activity, and understanding your love languages will empower your relationship way beyond gift-giving.
How Did Gary Chapman Come Up With These Ideas?
“If I had to choose between breathing or loving you, I would say 'I love you' with my last breath.” Shannon Dermott
For the partner whose love language is affirmation, consider something other than a plain box of chocolates. Attach an inscription which gives an assurance of love. It will be more meaningful than the chocolate.
- "You're the only one for me."
- "I would be lost without your love."
- "With you in my life, everyday is Valentine's."
It will mean even more if the inscription is hand-written. If you do not have the skill to produce the caliber of handwriting you will like to see, an office supply store can transform your sketch into something classy; or go all the way with something personalized from a gift store like PersonalizationMall.Com. Your partner will interpret your gift as genuine love.
"Spending time with you showed me what I’ve been missing in my life. The more time we spent together, the more I could imagine it lasting in the future." (Nicholas Sparks)
Next to your undivided attention, any other gift you give will be a pale expression of love. So concentrate on making your delivery within the gift of quality time—during a dinner for two at home or at your favorite spot, perhaps before or after a long drive to a concert.
If your relationship is long distance, schedule a chat by phone, or an instant messaging device. Postponing your celebration until after the birthday, Valentine Day, anniversary or whatever you're celebrating will be the worst idea. The partner who wants quality time, feels loved when you honor your schedule time for being together.
Fragrance, if you know your partner's preference may be appropriate, but the love will be interpreted in terms of the amount of time you spent trying to find it - time you spent thinking of him or her.
"When you love you wish to do things for. You wish to sacrifice for. You wish to serve."
— Ernest Hemingway
If your Valentine interprets acts of service as genuine love, it is because he or she thinks, “If you love me, you’ll help me. It’s as simple as that.”
Choose practical gifts that show your intention to help. Think of his or her everyday activities at home and on the job, also hobbies. If you purchase a camera, include an extra memory card. If your gift is a product that requires assembly, include a coupon offering help to assemble it.
Anything that says, “I want to help you,” will be the perfect gift for your partner.
“I was mistaken when I said you live in my heart. How absurd I was when you live in my fingertips so that everything I touch is you." ― Kamand Kojouri
For the person who interprets touch as a symbol of love, choose gifts that are evaluated by how they feel:
- plush towels
- woolly socks
- bubble baths
- huggable teddy bears
Your Valentine wants to be touched by love whether on his or her face, hands or feet. The need for touch is always a feel for affection, not always for sexual satisfaction. The cute teddy bear is the perfect gift--to hug, cuddle and squeeze. Even men appreciate them as gifts.
In an ABC report (August 24, 2010) Travelodge decided to follow up on the thousands of stuffed animals left at their hotels. Twenty-five percent of the men they surveyed admitted to taking their bears on business trips. Others said that they found cuddling the bear comforting and helpful in lowering the stress level. My guess is these are all folks whose love language is touch.
"The best gifts come from the heart, not the store.” - Sarah Dessen
Generally, everyone likes to receive gifts, but the person whose love language is “gifts” is serious about what the gift means. For him or her, flowers and candy are treasures not based on what they cost, or how long they last, but because they are specifically associated with heart-felt love on Valentine’s Day. The same is true of hand-made gifts which are motivated by love.
The sentimental, more than the monetary, value of the gift is a deciding factor in his or her acceptance. Deliver early so your partner can enjoy your expression of love all day.
© 2012 Dora Weithers