Love languages: Receiving giftsLatest Issue, Where's the Faith? Thursday, March 30th, 2017
Social Chaos: Where's the Faith?
As a progressive Christian, I believe there are many names for God and many ways to a loving God; this article reflects one of those ways. Take from here what works for you. Celebrate life with joy and peace!
Love is one of the most basic of human needs. We need it to survive. What a powerful motivator. And we are all born with a need to love and be loved. We are happiest, most fulfilled, most productive and creative when our “love tank” is adequately filled. It’s when our “love tank” gets empty that we suffer the consequences in relationships and even our health.
Our current series is all about love, based on The Five Love Languages New York Times Bestseller book by Gary Chapman.
He asserts we all have an emotional love language that is most meaningful to us. And in his research he’s broken them in to five categories or five languages:
• Words of Affirmation
• Quality Time
• Receiving Gifts
• Acts of Service
• Physical Touch
No one language is better than the other, there is no hierarchy, no correct order; it’s about what speaks to us on a deep emotional level. Now, like any language, there are many different dialects. So it is with the languages of love, and the number of ways to express love within a love language is only limited by your imagination.
Let’s review, Love Language No. 1: Words of Affirmation reminds that there is power in your words, and verbally affirming someone can be actually life-giving. And what we say, and how we say it is so important. Our words can inspire courage to our loved one, helping them to succeed in an area where they didn’t even think possible. And remember, forgiveness is also an expression of love.
Love Language No. 2: Quality Time. According to Dr. Chapman, quality time means giving someone your undivided attention. Time is a precious commodity.
Today, we’re going to talk about one of the ways people feel loved is through the receiving of gifts. Anthropologists agree that gift giving is a fundamental expression of love that transcends cultural barriers.
A gift is something you can hold in your hand and say, “Look, he was thinking of me,” or, “She remembered me.” Aww, and it’s true, you have to be thinking of someone to give them a gift. The gift itself is a symbol of that thought. It doesn’t matter whether it costs money; what’s important is that you thought of them.
I remember on Mother’s Day, picking lilacs from our neighbor’s lilac tree and putting it in a little glass on the tray I and my brothers used to bring mom breakfast in bed! I’m sure it’s almost universal that mothers remember the days their children bring a flower from the yard as a gift. They feel loved, even if it was a dandelion or a flower they didn’t want picked. It’s interesting, from a very young age, how children are inclined to give gifts to their parents, which may be another indication that gift giving is fundamental to love. It’s innate.
Gifts are visual symbols of love. Most wedding ceremonies include the giving and receiving of rings. I’ve said often, “These rings are outward and visible signs of an inward and spiritual bond that unites your two hearts in love that has no end.” To me, this is not meaningless rhetoric. It’s verbalizing a significant truth; symbols have emotional value.
Gifts come in all sizes, colors and shapes. Gifts may be purchased, found or made. Some are expensive, and others are free. Dr. Chapman says, “To the person whose primary love language is receiving gifts, the cost of the gift doesn’t really matter…”
When you discover that your partner or friend’s primary love language is receiving gifts, then hopefully you’ll understand that purchasing gifts for him or her is the best investment you can make. (No matter how frugal you are!) You’re investing in your relationship and filling that special person’s emotional love tank.
And did you know that even your physical presence in a time of crisis or in a significant moment is the most powerful gift you can give someone whose primary love language is receiving gifts? Your body becomes the symbol of your love.
Remember, gifts don’t need to be expensive, and they don’t need to be given weekly. But for some individuals, their worth has nothing to do with monetary value and everything to do with love.
Learning the right love language is the key to helping another person feel loved.
Gifts are also mentioned all throughout the Bible. Look at the three Magi. In Matthew 2 we read, “On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.”
Another Scripture says, “A woman came to Jesus with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table.” You could tell by the reaction of some disciples that receiving gifts was definitely not their primary love language. I love what Jesus told those in the room, “Truly I tell you, wherever this good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her.”
And God speaks this language of love too as we read in John 3:16, that God so loved the world, that God gave us Jesus, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. Jesus is a gift of love. God expressed great love for us through the giving of a gift. God wants you to know and feel loved.
Through Jesus’ example, we learn that the greatest gift we can ever give or receive is the gift of self. Perhaps, the best gift you can give to someone whose love language is the receiving of gifts is the gift of giving yourself.
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