Tuesday, October 23, 2012

I Hate My Love Language

So there's this book by Gary Chapman called The Five Love Languages. It's about the ways we prefer to give and receive love and how to give others love in the way they best receive it. The five love languages are Quality Time, Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Physical Touch, and Receiving Gifts.

When my husband and I first got married, I thought my love language was Quality Time, and maybe Words of Affirmation was up there, too. You know what my language really is?

NOW I feel loved!
Receiving Gifts.

Yes, I'll admit to what feels like the most shallow of the love languages. I love getting gifts. And since Friday was my birthday, I knew my husband would get me a great gift! I thought it might be some earrings to match a garnet ring I got at an antique show in the spring—and it was!

And they were awful. Apart from them not matching the ring at all, they weren't even my style. Despite my reputation for being a good actress, I can't seem to mask disappointment in opening a gift. Curses!

Now, my husband is a very thoughtful gift-giver. He listens and tucks away in his brain things I've said or things he thinks I'll like. And that works at Christmas, but he's terrible with my birthday for some reason. Maybe he tries too hard at my birthday? I don't know. But I nearly let it ruin my day on Friday! Mostly out of guilt that I didn't like his present—yet again. He told me not to feel that way and that he'd rather know so we can get something I like and will actually use. Still. I felt terrible.

I spent the weekend thinking about why Receiving Gifts is my love language. When I was young, money was tight, but I always got at least one great gift at Christmas. Not necessarily the most expensive thing, but something I really wanted. I also loved it when my dad surprised me on Sweetest Day with a rose or something. When I got to high school, I dated my best friend for ten seconds, and we broke up right before Christmas. He got me a bath set in some nasty scent—freesia, I think. Really? My best friend can't think of something more unique to me than a bath set? I really don't like getting bath things. It's like, "Oh, you're a girl. You must like to bathe and smell clean. Here you go!" Blecch.

So maybe I just want the thoughtfulness required in gift-giving. Or because we didn't have tons of money growing up, maybe someone splurging on a gift for me is just exciting. Whatever the reason, that's my love language.

And I hate it.

I don't like feeling disappointed when I get what I perceive to be a sub-par gift. I don't like that my husband also has to feel disappointed when he gets me a gift he's excited to give me and it's not what I wanted. I don't like feeling materialistic!

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. - Ephesians 2:8

But you know what? I'm made in God's image. God loves gifts—giving them and receiving them. He's given us spiritual gifts to develop and use. He gives us blessings, both tangible and intangible. He's given us grace, which is pretty much the best gift he could give us. Our praise and worship are our gifts to him because we love him so much. We also give him our lives and our obedience.

And, being made in his image, I give at least as many gifts as I receive—probably more. Just like God. And is God disappointed in our gifts sometimes? Probably. When we don't put time or effort into them and simply give him our leftovers, I'm sure he's a bit disappointed. He wants our best gifts, just like I want someone's best effort. We all have something different to offer, but we can all offer our best. And then God will give us his best in return. And that's pretty awesome.

Hmm. Maybe I can live with this love language after all.

What's your love language? How is that language a reflection of God?


  1. My love language is acts of service - I don't feel more loved than when someone else cleans the toilet, washes the dog, etc...all the things I "have" to do. And my sweet husband is great at this!

    1. My husband's language is Acts of Service. Unfortunately, it's one I'm terrible at fulfilling. The whole "lazy" thing. I guess he and I both have work to do in speaking each other's language!

  2. I first heard about this book when I was a kid,(they have a childrens version) my parents did it with all of us kids to help us relate better to each other.

    My top 3 have always been...
    1. Gifts
    2. Quality Time
    3. Words of affirmation.

    I have never really thought about "why" I am gifts...How my language is a reflection of God will be definitely be a thinking point this week.
    Great post!

    1. I think Gifts and Words of Affirmation are my top two. So, please, buy me presents and then tell me how wonderful I am. :)

  3. Mine is gifts, but I have learned over the years to modify what "gifts" has to mean. A card, an "I'm thinking of you" email, a candy bar from the gas station... all these things prove that Keith (or whoever) was thinking about me, and that's all I want, really. I just want to know that someone is thinking about me while we are apart.

    So, for me, it doesn't have to be elaborate, or expensive, or even terribly well thought out. I just want acknowledgement that I am alive and important to that person.

    Kind of like God just wants us to acknowledge Him, even in the smallest of ways. He just wants to know we're thinking about Him.

    1. Agreed. I'm happy with the little gifts, especially when B makes them. Even little sticky notes around the house! But I like special gifts like my birthday and Christmas to be super thoughtful.

  4. I love the five love languages. I wish people would stop dismissing them as "pop psychology". They are VITAL in any relationship. Jesus exhibited all 5 languages in the Gospels. My top 2 are Touch and Words of Affirmation. So rub me on the back and tell me how great I am, and I melt. And I'm "good" at giving Acts of Service, despite my own laziness.

    One of my friends is #1 Gifts & #2 Quality Time. Her languages are last on my list, and my love languages are last on her list. We would be an absolute TRAIN WRECK in a relationship.

    Knowing what I know now, I don't even want to become involved with anyone that doesn't have touch in at least the #2 spot, and words in at least the #3 spot. Some people say "marriage is work", and I say, "People with incompatible love languages have to work WAYYY harder then others." :)

  5. I really appreciate this post. I've always thought my language was Acts of Service, because I think I just liked how I thought that reflected on me (enter my pride). When I took the test, and then retook it, and then retook it and each time the same Love Language "label" came as my result I felt disgusted with myself. Words of Affirmation. I need my ego stroked and my works validated. I felt shallow. I still do sometimes. It just didn't feel as noble as some of the other languages. But I love your approach to this. How is my gift a reflection of God? I'm not sure right this moment, but now I know the direction of my scripture study the next little while. Thank you for this direction of thinking!


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