What is the Gift-Giving Love Language?

Does gift-giving mean you’re materialistic?
on September 07, 2023
Read time: 5 mins
by Moraya Seeger DeGeare

Gifts are not just about material things, they are about showing someone how much you care about them. 

At its core, this is what the gift-giving love language is all about. Instead of fixating on a pile of presents or a hefty receipt, the act of gift-giving is about showing your partner how well you know them — with a thoughtful gift putting your feelings into a physical expression! 

Since there are a lot of misconceptions about gift-giving, it’s important to understand and respect your partner’s love language in order to foster a healthy relationship. 

What are the 5 love languages? 

Love languages have become very well-known in pop culture, with the original theory devised by Dr. Gary Chapman in his bestselling book, The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts

According to Chapman, the five love languages should be recognized and respected in romantic relationships in order to fully meet the emotional needs of your partner. 

The five love languages are as follows: 

According to research, by understanding and adapting to your partner’s primary love language, you can significantly boost your overall relationship satisfaction. 

What does it mean if gift-giving is your love language? 

This love language is very straightforward. People with a gift-giving love language prefer to be shown love through the act of giving and receiving gifts. 

While quality time love language focuses on the little things around human interaction and physical touch relies on holding hands and physical intimacy — this love language is about more tangible items. 

The language of gift may seem fixated on monetary value, but the receiving gifts love language runs deeper than you may think. From small tokens to trinkets, if your partner’s love language is about gifting — the perfect gift is often not about the price tag but about the little details involved in this expression of love. 

What is the psychology behind gift-giving? 

While receiving a thoughtful gift can feel good — being the gift giver can also have huge benefits. 

No matter if it’s a small gift or a last-minute token for your significant other, buying a present is a great way to showcase your affection for your loved one. If you have a different love language, this concept may seem vain, but there is a lot more behind the psychology of gift-giving than you may see at first glance. 

Several studies show that spending money on someone besides yourself promotes happiness, as this triggers more interaction between the parts of the brain associated with processing social information and feeling pleasure.

According to research, the social interaction of gift-giving releases oxytocin, commonly referred to as the ‘warm glow'. Therefore, giving gifts to your loved one on their birthdays, anniversaries, or any other special occasion, can have just as much benefit for you as them! 

Signs your love language is gift-giving 

Even though Dr. Chapman identified five clear love languages, people usually have preferences for more than one in a romantic relationship. For example, you may crave some aspects of the physical love language and other aspects of other languages such as acts of service or words of affirmation. 

It’s important to identify your own love language in order to communicate this with your partner. While the love language quiz can help, there are some signs and behavior which also indicate a preference for expressing and receiving love through presents. 

  • Thoughtful gift selection which is personal to your partner 

  • Craving the excitement around giving presents 

  • Love for surprises — favoring spontaneous gift-giving for your loved ones

  • Emotional connection to gifts, leaning towards sentimentality 

  • Disappointment if gifts are careless or thoughtless, even if they have monetary value

  • Viewing gift-giving as an indicator of love 

  • Believing in the importance of special occasions, as opportunities for gift-giving 

  • Anticipating receiving gifts from your partner 

Misconceptions about the gift-giving love language 

This love language is often associated with materialism, or this person is obsessed with monetary value — however, this is not true. 

Instead, it’s about the thought, effort, and sentiment behind the gift. For individuals whose primary love language is gift-giving, the act of presenting a meaningful gift to their partner holds deep emotional significance. 

People with this love language are always on the lookout for a great gift idea, paying attention to what their partner likes or mentions in passing. Then, they use this information to surprise their partner with the best gift they can imagine! 

In this way, a well-thought-out gift is a tangible way of saying ‘I love you’ — through action rather than just words. This aligns this love language with acts of service, with both love languages focused on effort and meaning. 

Other misconceptions about the gift-giving language include:

Obligation: Some people assume that those with a gift-giving love language expect gifts on every occasion. However, this is often not the case, as your loved one naturally understands that gifts are not the only way to express love.
Superficiality: There’s a misconception that those with a gift-giving love language are shallow — however, this can’t just be assumed. Since they cherish meaningful gifts, they have a range of emotions and desire to connect beyond this act.
High maintenance: Alongside being accused of superficiality, people with this love language are often accused of being high-maintenance partners. In reality, like all love languages, the key is understanding and meeting each other’s needs in a healthy and sustainable way.
Giving and receiving: Despite common confusion, people with this love language enjoy both giving and receiving gifts — as it reaffirms that their partner knows and cares about them.

How to show love through gift-giving love language 

If your partner’s love language is gift-giving, it’s about much more than just buying them things. Careless or unthoughtful gifts are worse than no gifts at all — especially considering how much meaning they can hold! 

Thoughtful gifts are a good way to express love, with personalized gifts making your partner feel cherished and understood. 

1. Pay attention & listen

In order to get the perfect gift, you have to pay attention to your partner. Keep track of any little hints your partner may drop, or listen out for anything they might want but wouldn’t buy for themselves. 

2. Personalize gifts

Make the effort to tailor the gift to your partner. Small personalized touches such as gift-wrapping showcase the time and effort you put into the gift — making it all the more valuable.

3. Remember special occasions

It’s a crime to forget your partner’s special day! In the Paired app, we keep track of all your relationship milestones, such as your first date or your anniversary, so you never forget to treat your partner to something special. 

4. Surprise your partner

Take the initiative to surprise your partner whenever you can! Whether it’s bringing flowers home to cheer them up, or with a thoughtful trinket, surprises are a great way to show your partner how much they mean to you! 

5. Don’t focus on the cost

Even though this is a common misconception around gift-giving, try and measure your gift in regards to thoughtfulness over monetary value. Even though an expensive gift can be appreciated, the price tag isn’t everything! 

6. Show gratitude for gifts

When your partner gives you gifts, try to remember how much thought and effort went into it! Therefore, you should react in the right way, with the correct about of enthusiasm and appreciation. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is love language about giving or receiving?

    According to Dr. Chapman, the concept of love language encompasses both giving and receiving. This framework helps individuals understand how they prefer to express love, as well as how they prefer to feel loved. Therefore your preferences can differ depending on how you prefer to give or receive love. For example, you can prefer to receive love through words of affirmation but feel love most through physical touch or cuddling.
  • Is gift-giving a love language or a trauma response?

    Gift-giving is both a love language and a trauma response, and it’s important to understand why this can be the case. Gift-giving as a love language is a healthy and meaningful way to express affection in relationships. However, the act of giving gifts can also be a coping mechanism or a way to compensate for unresolved trauma — using gifts to seek validation or a sense of control over their relationships. If this is the case, it may be necessary to discuss these feelings with the help of a therapist or counselor for the sake of the wellness of yourself and your relationship.
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