It was Valeria and Mark's third wedding anniversary. She had hinted for weeks that she wanted something special—a piece of jewelry with sentimental meaning, tickets to see her favorite band, a romantic weekend getaway. Anything to commemorate this milestone in their marriage.

But the day came and went like any other. No card. No flowers. No one appeared. Once again, Mark had forgotten.

"He's just not the gift-giving type," she told herself. Still, his oversight stung. She couldn't help but wonder, "Does he not care enough to make the gesture?"

Valeria is not alone in longing for more thoughtfulness from her spouse. We all have different ways of expressing and interpreting love in relationships. And for some, gifts hold a very meaningful place in their hearts.

The 5 Love Languages

Marriage counselor Dr. Gary Chapman developed the "Five Love Languages" framework back in 1992. His philosophy is simple but revolutionary: people express and interpret love in their relationships through five main "languages":

  1. Words of Affirmation
  2. Physical Touch
  3. Quality Time
  4. Acts of Service
  5. Receiving Gifts

According to Chapman, while we appreciate all of these expressions, each of us has a primary and secondary love language that really "speaks" deeply to us on an emotional level.

Problems arise when partners try to express affection solely in their own native language, leaving the other person feeling disconnected and unfulfilled. The key is learning your partner's love language and purposefully speaking it, rather than relying only on what comes naturally to you.

For example, Bruce may primarily feel cherished when his wife compliments him (Words of Affirmation), while his wife Jan craves Quality Time together. If Bruce tells Jan "great job!" when she does housework but then buries himself in his phone rather than conversing with her, Jan will feel neglected in her language.

What is the Receiving Gifts Love Language?

Now let's explore the Receiving Gifts love language more deeply. Those who resonate with gifts interpret a thoughtful present as a tangible symbol of love. The act of selecting or creating a gift tailored to them makes them feel understood, cherished, and seen.

Chapman notes that often these people enjoy surprises and may have fond memories of beautifully wrapped presents under the Christmas tree as children. Gift-giving evokes feelings of excitement and joy.

But Receiving Gifts is about more than just a dollar amount or extravagance. In fact, financial abundance has little to do with it. Rather, it's about knowing someone well enough to find the meaningful gift that lights up their eyes and heart.

Gift-lovers appreciate the symbol that the giver took the effort to consider what brings them happiness. It represents that their partner listens and knows what matters most to them—their passions and interests. A handwritten love note or homemade coupon book can be just as impactful as the trendiest gadget.

If gifts hold little importance to you but you have a spouse who thrives on receiving them, making the effort to speak their language really does wonders. It tells your partner, "I love you in the way you need."

Reasons Why You Have Receiving Gifts as a Love Language

There are several potential psychological and scientific reasons why someone may have Receiving Gifts as their primary love language.

Attachment style likely plays a role. People with insecure attachment styles (anxious, avoidant) may see gifts as a symbolic way to feel reassured of their partner's love and commitment. Gifts serve as a physical representation of devotion for those with attachment issues.

The love hormone response is also a factor. Receiving a thoughtful gift triggers the release of oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin in the brain. These "feel good" chemicals make the individual feel emotionally bonded and happy when gifts are exchanged.

Emotional intelligence could influence this as well. Those with high emotional intelligence often place greater meaning on symbolic acts and are very attuned to subtle expressions of care or neglect from others. A thoughtful gift is a symbolic expression they deeply appreciate.

Childhood influences matter too. If gift-giving was an important part of expressing affection in one's family growing up, it may hold greater meaning in adult relationships. Cherished childhood memories around presents can shape this preference.

Some people see gift-giving as an act of service and investment, inducing feelings of warmth at the care put into selecting something just for them. It feels personalized.

For busy partners, tangible gifts can represent undivided attention was given selecting it. It symbolizes that the giver intentionally took time to focus on them.

Gifts may activate the reward networks associated with sensual touch for some. Unwrapping a present evokes feelings of excitement similar to a loving caress.

Finally, research indicates women generally place greater emotional importance on gift-giving as an expression of love, potentially tied to oxytocin responses.

In summary, a convergence of psychological and emotional factors underlies why gifts can feel so meaningful and enhance intimacy for some people.

Characteristics of Receiving Gifts Lovers

Here are some common characteristics of people who feel most loved by receiving gifts:

1. Sentimental

Gift receivers cherish the thought and emotion behind a present over monetary value. They appreciate heartfelt sentimentality and tend to keep gifts that remind them of the giver.

2. Nostalgic

Those who love receiving gifts often feel nostalgic about presents from years past. They can vividly recall beloved gifts and the feelings those sparked long afterwards. This ties into their sentimental nature.

3. Feel Special

A meaningful gift makes receivers feel unique, important, valued. Thoughtful gifts reassure them that they stand out in the giver's eyes and occupy a special place in their hearts.

4. Express Gratitude  

People with this love language readily express sincere gratitude and appreciation when receiving a gift. They want the giver to truly know how much it meant to them that effort was made on their behalf.

5. Notice Little Things

Gift lovers tend to notice subtle hints their loved ones drop about wanting or needing something special. They pick up on little comments that reveal gift ideas their partners would truly appreciate receiving.

6. Value Surprise

Those oriented toward gift-giving/receiving highly value being surprised and delighted. Even if they had asked for an item, taking the initiative to have it wrapped up unexpectedly makes them beam with joy.

7. Associate Gifts with Affection

In the mind of gift lovers, presents equate with being cared for, thought of fondly. Gifts reassure them the giver wants to make them happy. Receiving sincere tokens of affection communicates devotion in a unique love language.

Misconceptions and Challenges for the Receiving Gifts Love Language

Here are some common misconceptions and challenges related to the Receiving Gifts love language:

Misconceptions

  • It's materialistic or superficial - A common assumption is that those who value gifts just want lavish or expensive items. But the meaning actually goes much deeper than price tags. Thoughtful gifts make them feel cared for.
  • Only for holidays and birthdays - Gift lovers appreciate surprises throughout the year, not just on special occasions. Small "thinking of you" presents anytime help nurture the relationship.
  • Easy to satisfy: Simply grabbing any random gift doesn't fulfill their need. Gifts hold greater meaning when selected intentionally rather than as an obligation.
  • Just wants to be showered with presents. Too many gifts actually dilute the meaning and make the gesture feel less genuine. Gift receivers value quality over quantity.

Challenges

  • Feeling embarrassed or picky about asking for specific gifts. They may downplay their preferences rather than seem demanding.
  • Hurt feelings when their love language is ignored or forgotten, especially on milestone dates. The absence of gifts feels like emotional neglect.
  • Disappointment when it seems their partner lacks care or enthusiasm for finding the perfect gift for them. Thoughtlessness stings.
  • Resentment can build when people continuously put effort into finding meaningful gifts but don't receive the same consideration.
  • Communication struggles if their partner doesn't understand that gifts hold deep symbolic meaning for them. Educating without judgment is key.

The right gifts make recipients feel deeply valued in a relationship. Thoughtful gift-giving provides love, reassurance, and connection.

How to Speak the Love Language of Receiving Gifts

Here are some tips on how to speak the love language of Receiving Gifts to your partner:

  • Make note of the occasions and events that are special to them—birthdays, anniversaries, holidays—and make sure you honor them with a thoughtful gift. Knowing you remembered will mean a lot.
  • Observe their unique interests and passions. Giving gifts that relate to their hobbies, favorite sports team, or collections they have shows you pay attention to what gets them excited.
  • Don't just default to generic gifts like chocolates or flowers. Try to make presents meaningful and personalized. For example, create a scrapbook of your relationship memories or find an antique related to their interests.
  • Presentation matters. Take time to creatively wrap gifts and pair them with a heartfelt card expressing what they mean to you. Make exchanging presents an enjoyable experience.
  • Surprise them sometimes with spontaneous "just because" gifts for no occasion at all. The unexpectedness and thoughtfulness will delight them.
  • For affordable but thoughtful gifts, you can create DIY presents like a photo book, playlist of special songs, book of love coupons, or home-cooked meal.
  • Remember, it's the gesture more than the cost that counts. Even small trinkets will make them smile if given out of love.
  • Plan experiential gifts like tickets to concerts, museums, or sporting events you can enjoy together. Sharing activities deepens bonds.

Regardless of the gift itself, it's the sentiment behind it that matters—knowing your partner was listening, understood your passions, and took the time and care to select something meaningful just for you. Even small trinkets can feel precious when they represent devotion.

Gift Gaffes to Avoid

Certain gift-giving approaches can backfire for those attuned to this love language:

  • OVER-Gifting. Don't smother your partner with presents, thinking more is better. It loses meaning. Keep it intentional.
  • Giving gifts YOU would want. Ensure it fits THEIR personality and interests, not yours.
  • Rushing the process. Last-minute gas station flowers don't have the same effect. Put thought into selecting a meaningful gift.
  • Neglecting occasions. Forgetting major dates and milestones hurts. Mark your calendar.

Ultimately, a gift represents devotion. As Chapman notes, "gift giving is one of the best ways to confirm not only your love but your thoughtfulness." So speak your partner's language, and let your presents express what's in your heart!

Benefits of Gift Giving

Multiple benefits to gift-giving include:

1. Increases Relationship Satisfaction

Gift-giving has been shown to increase overall relationship satisfaction between partners. Thoughtful gifts convey meaning, love, and understanding (Komter & Vollebergh, 1997). Partners who engage in frequent, considerate gift exchange report higher contentment in their relationship (Ruth et al., 1999).

2. Enhances Emotional Intimacy

Giving personalized, meaningful gifts demonstrates care and validates the recipient's interests and passions, fostering intimacy (Chapman, 2015). The act of gift giving produces feelings of joy and excitement in the recipient that strengthen positive emotions between couples (Mick & Demoss, 1990).

3. Improves Communication

Research has found gift giving enhances open communication and expressions of appreciation in relationships (Proper et al., 2009). Partners who give quality gifts have greater empathy for understanding each other's emotional needs (Otnes et al., 1993).

4. Reinforces Commitment

Gift exchange also signals that partners are investing in the relationship and the commitment is mutual (Ruth et al., 2004). Thoughtful gifts remind partners of the devotion between them (Chapman, 2015).

5. Boosts Overall Bond

Studies emphasize that gift giving has important psychosocial functions in nurturing closeness, affection, and meaning between romantic partners when done intentionally (Huang & Yu, 2000). It provides symbolic value beyond just the monetary worth.

Disclaimer about the Love Languages

While Dr. Chapman's 5 Love Languages model can provide useful insights, it does not capture the full complexity of human relationships and intimacy. The "languages" are presented as fixed traits, yet in reality, most people appreciate multiple expressions of love to varying degrees. Needs and preferences shift over time as well. Furthermore, struggling couples often need more than just tips on better communication; underlying wounds, attachment injuries, or personal growth issues may require addressing first through counseling or inner work.

The Love Languages should be seen as a helpful starting point for improving mutual understanding, not an absolute taxonomy or predictor of relationship success. The languages tap into real human emotional needs, but expressing care in these ways is not guaranteed to "fill the other's tank" if they have wounds obstructing intimacy. Use the model to inspire insight and self-awareness more than to diagnose your partner. Genuine presence and heart connection transcend any one love language.

At the end of the day, deep relationships are mysteries that call us to show up fully, live compassionately, speak truth, and let go of controlling outcomes. Rather than trying to constantly monitor love languages, aim to meet your partner where they are and appreciate what arises in each moment.

About the Author

Sheravi Mae Galang

Sheravi Mae Galang is a Content Coordinator for the Couply app. Couply was created to help couples improve their relationships. Couply has over 300,000 words of relationship quizzes, questions, couples games, and date ideas and helps over 400,000 people.

Sheravi enjoys wring and is currently studying at the Cebu Institute of Technology - University for her current pursuit of a Master's Degree in Clinical Psychology. You can connect with her through email (sheravimaegalang@gmail.com).