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It is NOT the Thought That Counts!

It is NOT the Thought That Counts!

So, I’m the only person who will admit it:  I sometimes feel like the biggest jerk when people give me gifts because I don’t like the gift.  I often hear, “It is the thought that counts” and wonder who in the world the giver was thinking about when choosing the gift!  Unfortunately, I am also one of those who is often betrayed by her facial expressions and body language; thus, I feel stuck.  I NEVER like to open gifts in front of people because if I don’t like it, I become a frustrated confusion of emotions.

Everybody’s “worst” gifts are different.  Mine include an ugly sweater, ice cleats (contraption that you attach to your shoes for increased traction in snow) and a study Bible.  Although I wanted the study Bible, I didn’t want that for a gift.  On the other hand, there is no way in the world I would’ve bought the first two.  Call me a jerk already!

Not long ago, I came across a book called, “The Five Love Languages.”  I was sold as soon as I came across the author’s main point:  you have to love people in the way they want to be loved and not in the way that it is easiest for you to give love.

The author, Gary Chapman, stated that people, men and women alike, usually prefer to be  loved in one of the  ways below.  Further,  Chapman said that people who receive love from you in a way that doesn’t speak to their preferences are likely not going to feel truly satisfied with the relationship.    He goes even further and says that  if you truly love the person that you will accept what it means to learn to speak their love language,  even if you don’t like  their love language.  For examples, lets play with a few stereotypes.  If you’re are dating someone who  likes gifts, you should give them to the person if you have to deal with your own emotions that suggests that a person who likes gifts is a gold-diggers.  On the other hand, you also may need to get over your feelings about fixing a plate or cooking every Tuesday, if that makes your partner feel loved.    Chapman goes on to say, that over time, any resentment that you have toward the other person’s love language will diminish over time (I don’t know how  much time I’m going to need to be happy about fixing that plate!).

The author of the book even conducted studies and tests to back up his work:  check out the quiz that’s designed to help you identify your love language.  Apparently, there is something to be said about specific things you can do to strengthen the bond between yourself and somebody you claim to care about.  Although the book was written with romantic couples in mind, the Love Languages are true in all of my relationships, romantic and platonic.  For example, all of my friends know that I feel extra loved when they spend time with me , and that I don’t feel loved at all by texts messages and emails!  I need real human connection.  To people who say  that electronic communication is just how people are now and that  I should change, I tell them to let electronic communication comfort them when they need me to do something for them.   When you’re sick and need  me to pick up your prescription, make that request to someone who loves your via text!

So, how many ways can I love you?

Love Language What It Looks Like
Physical Touch Not just sex, but they like to be touched, i.e., holding hands, hugs, etc., AFTER a sufficient bond has been established.
Acts of Service Making life easier for this person by doing things to take care of him or her.
Quality Time Making a point to spend time with the person and to be fully present (as opposed to spending 50% of your together time on your phone).
Words of Affirmation Reassuring the person; making sure s/he knows you’re proud of them.
Gifts Yes, it means giving gifts.  Depending on the person, the cost of the gift is unimportant.  The thoughtfulness and gesture are what resonate with them.

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