I’ve never been big on gifts. Perhaps it’s my minimalist nature that craves space and eschews excess. Or, the fact that I enjoy giving more than receiving.

But I’ve been meditating on gifts along two lines – as indicators of value and as expressions of love languages.

Value Gauge

When you love someone, it’s near impossible to not give them stuff. Even if gifts are not your thing, you will yearn to imprint your presence on your lover through tangible mementos.

And if they don’t collect objects or tokens, then wisdom will direct you to the more utilitarian items that they prefer.

I don’t know how else to say this, but not giving anything at all may indicate you are cheap, do not value others or take them for granted.

𝗨𝘁𝗶𝗹𝗶𝘁𝗮𝗿𝗶𝗮𝗻 𝗚𝗶𝗳𝘁𝘀

There are many things you can buy or create for the individual who loves simple things.

Let me use myself as an example. I once received a printed book about things someone liked about me, complete with hand-drawn illustrations they had commissioned. It’s one of the most thoughtful items I’ve received. It required them to not only pen their thoughts but to also pay for an illustrator and the printing. Yet, because it was the size of a journal, it easily fit in my nightstand, creating no clutter.

𝗛𝗲𝗿𝗲’𝘀 𝗮 𝗦𝗲𝗰𝗼𝗻𝗱 𝗢𝗻𝗲

Another example centers on my tendency to use things until they fall apart, such as my favorite pair of Converse sneakers. I can use a phone or laptop for up to a decade till it stops powering on.

So, those who know and love me simply replace my devices when they finally die. It’s similar to how a man replaces his wife’s car every few years. It’s a grand gift that’s also utilitarian and long-lasting.

Other low-hanging gift ideas that are thoughtful are things that are used regularly at home. One can never have enough diffuser scents or bed & bath products. And because those items have long expiry dates, they can be put to use all year round.

𝗖𝗿𝗶𝘀𝗶𝘀 𝗚𝗶𝘃𝗶𝗻𝗴

No one plans for crisis. So support your friends without being asked, if it comes.

When my parents died, I valued the financial tokens contributed by my friends. I appreciated the person who gave me his car & driver for the funeral, so I wouldn’t drive while grieving.

When friends are going through life’s circumstances, give unprompted. It’s your duty.

𝗚𝗶𝗳𝘁𝘀 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗟𝗼𝘃𝗲 𝗟𝗮𝗻𝗴𝘂𝗮𝗴𝗲𝘀

Let’s move on to the subject of love languages.

According to Dictionary(dot)com, a love language is the way a person prefers to express love to, or to receive it from a partner.

When someone speaks your language, your soul is nourished. You feel as if the person really sees you and because one of the greatest human needs is to be understood, it’s a thrill when someone finally “gets” you. Speaking someone’s love language meets this intrinsic need.

Sometimes, you can use gifts to communicate a different love language – like Acts of Service. My sister does this. Knowing how much I dislike shopping, she’ll buy something I can use for work that’s missing from my wardrobe. It’s a gift but I interpret it as an Act of Service. She’s saving me the pain of looking for the items myself. (I think she also suspects I won’t buy it if she doesn’t. ????)

𝗥𝗲𝗹𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀𝗵𝗶𝗽𝘀 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗟𝗼𝘃𝗲 𝗟𝗮𝗻𝗴𝘂𝗮𝗴𝗲𝘀

Over the years, I’ve seen how crucial it is for a beloved to speak your language. If not, you may become emotionally hungry.

I’m reminded of two men I once dated. One did not like chat messaging. As a woman who prioritizes words, I craved the easy flow of messages that began first thing in the day and continued as unrushed threads later. But, in his case, this flow was missing as he preferred physical hangouts to words.

While I love in-person quality time as much as the next person, those weekend hangouts weren’t enough for me. My lover was virtually missing from my life. The ebbs & flows and the moments that make up daily experiences.

It was even worse when we were both traveling separately for work. I would be starved of connection until the next meet-up.

𝗔𝗻𝗼𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝗢𝗻𝗲 𝗕𝗶𝘁𝗲𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗗𝘂𝘀𝘁

The second man loved to play. We would laugh and then talk at length, but not about anything serious. No matter how often I plumbed, I couldn’t find depth. I value substance, so this realization was quite disappointing. Since then, I’ve learnt to never confuse intellect with wisdom. Laughter is great but I need a mind I can explore in delectable detail.

After those two experiences, I concluded that there are many people in relationships who are emotionally disconnected, lonely and famished. They are single in a relationship.

So, dear one, whether your love language is gifts or something less tangible, please insist on it in a relationship. It’s hard to teach after the fact. You not only deserve to be deliriously happy, you should never go to bed emotionally hungry.

Thank you for reading.

PS: I just created a new Life Mastermind for those seeking substantial conversations about life, work and faith! Learn more

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