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Gifts and Love Language

Many of you now have heard about love languages. We have written about it before on a previous blog, but for a quick recap…

The social scientist Gary Chapman asserts the idea that we show our love in the way that we are used to receiving it. It is either the love we were shown as children, or the type of love that was missing, and we would crave, that can influence which love language we give and receive love in.

Chapman, in his book talks about 5 key Love Languages and if both partners can identify what their top one or two are, then they can try to show love in the way their partner will most feel it. You can take the quiz very easily here it takes about 10 minutes, but is definitely worth doing.

When it comes to Christmas, once these love languages have been identified then what a great and simple thing to base your gifts around! For those lucky folk who have also been on one of our retreats – you get an added bonus. Just cast your mind back to your ‘values’ session and some of the things your partner expressed there. In fact, if you combine both your partner’s love language AND something around their core values, into a gift or two, you’ll be ON FIRE!

So the Love Languages that Chapman identifies are these: Physical Touch, Acts of Service (doing jobs), Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, and finally, Words Of Affirmation.

If you take your partners’ primary love language, coupled with how in crisis the planet is right now, then there is a really exciting opportunity to get creative with the gift to your partner this year. In case it is helpful I will provide some suggestions. Feel free to ignore it all and come up with your own, but hopefully this will get you thinking.

Physical Touch

  • Create a voucher, which promises a foot/hand/back massage for either a period of time , a regular night or a one-off super-great session. Make or buy some natural (and plastic-free) massage oil as a sign of your promise.
  • Draw/paint/google a picture of a couple kissing and commit to giving a 6 second kiss everyday, come rain or shine. This has shown to make an enormous difference to a couple’s connection.
  • Depending on your budget you can now buy a Netflix gift card for however long you like – a month/a year? Plan in some film nights in the next few weeks, which gives you the chance to cuddle up on the sofa for hand-holding, lying on each other, arm tickling, or knee squeezing.
  • Book a cinema night purely so you can snog on the back row.
  • Buy some (ethical/fair-trade, obvs) lingerie/male undergarments/other naughty bits and pieces and plan a night of delights. You can make this up but try to use a few of the recipe essentials of your senses – smell, sound, touch, taste. Make sure the touch is majored on. Think about different types of touch and vary it.
  • Buy them a weighted blanket to have on them while sitting in the lounge or lying in bed. It provides the sensation of being ‘held’ or cuddled, which would let you off the hook for a few hours!

 

Acts of Service

  • Get a list of ‘DIY’-type jobs that you’ve both been meaning to tackle and commit to doing them. If you don’t know how, then ‘You Tube’ will tell you!
  • Create a voucher, which offers to do the washing/washing-up/childcare/cook dinner/shopping/ironing, which is over and above your normal fair share.
  • Commit to leaving work slightly earlier for one night a week/month to assist your partner in any work that they may have need of. Be that helping to sort out a garage, plan the weekend activities, fill the car with petrol, helping out with the kids, tidy the house or prep dinner.
  • Buy a lovely teapot as a symbol that you will commit to bringing your partner a cup of tea in bed as often as you are able to.
  • Take courage, and initiative, in finding a great play/film/comedy night/opera and organize it all – the diary, the booking, the transport and the food beforehand, so your partner doesn’t have to lift a finger in preparation.
  • Plan a room in the house that you’d both like to decorate and then be the one to take on the responsibility of doing the work!

 

Quality Time

  • Find some great UK walks through the internet, with choices ranging from mountains to rivers to seas. You could plan them by the seasons. Autumn is all about the trees, Summer about the sea, Winter somewhere flat but majestic and Spring alongside a river and flowers. Book each one in across the year and commit to turn off the technology while you are doing it. You could make each walk into a book with images of each season, the walking map and the date you’ll do it together. Personalise it so it feels even more special.
  • You could make or buy ‘A Year of Dates’ – 1 a month or 1 a week for one year.
  • Buy some (ethical/fair-trade) lingerie/male undergarments/other naughty bits and bobs and plan a night of delights – you can make this up but try to use a few of the recipe essentials of your senses – smell, sound, touch, taste. Make sure you take your time over each stage, making your partner feel treasured.
  • Get a voucher for a creative course in art/pottery/glass craft/printing etc that he/she can do on their own, or with you or a friend.
  • Depending on your budget you can now buy a Netflix gift card for however long you like – a month/a year? Plan in some film nights in the next few weeks,. You could tag on a lounge supper, or some of their favourite snacks and drink, which gives you the chance to talk first, and relax together before you cuddle up on the sofa.
  • DO NOT SUGGEST A TRIP TO IKEA.
  • Book a night of stargazing. You could do this yourself with an App or go to be with an actual professional (they run them in Wales, UK ) who will talk you through what you can see.

 

Receiving Gifts

  • Start a relationship with a local florist (no, not THAT sort of relationship) and pre-book a years worth of weekly/monthly seasonal, and as local as possible, flowers to be delivered to your partners home or workplace. Alternatively, gather a bunch together yourself and give it as a Christmas gift, and quietly commit to repeating it regularly. NB I am partial to dead/dried flowers at this time of year as they can be so beautiful. Just a thought.
  • Make a playlist of tunes that are important to your partner or memories that you share in together. You could go a step further and pair each tune with a photo, or drawn memory.
  • DO NOT BUY A GOAT IN AFRICA FOR THIS GROUP OF LOVERS (on this occasion).
  • Buy a voucher or actual jewelry from a local small business with your partner in mind.
  • Make a photo album of happy memories of that year. Either homemade or a professional job. It wont matter which one you do as both would mean a lot to someone who loves a gift.
  • Have a Personalised Photo Puzzle made of a beautiful memory that you have shared together.

 

Words of Affirmation

  • Sit down and really think about what your partner means to you. ONLY THE NICE STUFF. Write down the words that come into your head. Then either get them professionally made into a poster (something like Not On The High Street) or make it yourself on your computer using some different fonts. Get it framed.
  • Instead/as well as a Christmas card, make a Thank You card for your partner, listing ALL the things you are grateful for with them being in your life.
  • Buy (ethical retail though yeah?) a beautiful new dress/suit and when they try it on tell them how utterly amazing they look. Then don’t stop telling them all night. Then when the dress/suit comes off and any make-up/hair gel removed and the flannel one piece is donned, tell them they still look utterly amazing. Because you’ll mean it, because you love them for who they are.
  • Fill a jam jar with words or sentences that contain uplifting words, happy memories, reasons why you love your partner, the things that you know bring them joy. You could decorate the jar if you like, then wrap it up. In its accompanying card you could suggest they take one out each day and keep it with them, to remind them of how special they are.
  • Subscribe to Conversations On Love newsletter on Instagram, (its free!) for your partner. Natasha writes so beautifully and interviews a variety of amazing people on how they experience love. Equally you could buy one of these fabulous books full of beautiful words of affirmation – for other people! Love Letters of Great Men, Love Letters of Great Women and Love Letters of the Great War The words of love will speak to your partner and hopefully will be an alternative route to them feeling loved through the thoughtfulness of this ‘word’ gift.

 

You’ll notice that I have used the word ‘commit’ quite a lot here. This is because simply ‘offering’ is very lovely concept but is a word that suggests it might, at some stage, become withdrawn. By committing you are saying that, whatever happens, you will do this thing you have promised. Regardless of hangovers, tiredness, a cold, becoming busy with other things, an argument between you, whatever, you will show up for your partner as they are the most important thing to you.

Happy gift-giving!

“If we learn to meet each other’s deep emotional need to feel loved, and choose to do it, the love we share will be exciting beyond anything we’ve ever felt.” —Gary Chapman

 

Susannah Baker

After giving up a senior nursing role spanning 14 years, and moving to Devon, Susannah is the founder of One:Retreat, the owner of a holiday business; a founder and trustee of The Pickwell Foundation, a partner to Steve and a mum to two teenagers.

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