Life & Style Weekend - - YOU - WORDS: JOANNE WIL­SON

All I want for Christ­mas is you­u­u­u­u­u­u­uuu,” crooned no per­son ever who’s love lan­guage is “gifts”. Love lan­guages are the ways we com­mu­ni­cate love – that is, how we show love to other peo­ple and how we feel it from oth­ers. Ac­cord­ing to au­thor Gary Chap­man, there are five all up, and ev­ery­one uses dif­fer­ent ones in dif­fer­ent com­bi­na­tions. When peo­ple with dif­fer­ent love lan­guages fall in love, they can of­ten run into trou­ble. In my re­cent two ar­ti­cles I cov­ered the first two love lan­guages: words of af­fir­ma­tion; and acts of ser­vice. To­day, I’m talk­ing about what may be one of the prick­lier lan­guages of the lot: gifts. You think kids en­joy Christ­mas day the most? Ha! A per­son with a “gifts” love lan­guage is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing lev­els of bliss and joy those small chil­dren with their cheru­bic faces and un­spoiled op­ti­mism can only dream about. From some­one who falls into this cat­e­gory, I can’t tell you how over the moon I was when my hus­band bought me a pair of $12 rub­ber boots for the re­cent Mid­night Oil con­cert. Lit­tle did I know how in­cred­i­bly use­ful they were about to be­come in the tor­ren­tial mon­soon. When it comes to the gifts love lan­guage, it’s re­ally, re­ally im­por­tant to try to get away from the mind­set that the per­son is ma­te­ri­al­is­tic. Some peo­ple ab­so­lutely are ma­te­ri­al­is­tic, don’t get me wrong. For the gift per­son, it’s more the time, thought, and ef­fort that goes into the gift that truly ex­presses the love than the thing it­self. A small, thoughtful gift – say some­thing as sim­ple as a pair of rub­ber boots or re­plac­ing the tea pot you broke re­cently (I hope he’s read­ing), is a grander ex­pres­sion of love to them than an ex­pen­sive bracelet they have no want or need for. (OK, I lie, I wouldn’t refuse that ei­ther.) A non-gift per­son might feel the pres­sure of the big­ger, the bet­ter whereas the gift per­son just wants to feel that you re­ally un­der­stand them and thought of them that day. If you feel help­less to have found your­self locked in with a part­ner with a gifts love lan­guage, sim­ply start with the thought, the love and the un­der­stand­ing, not the price tag. Know­ing that it’s the thought that truly does count, and not some tired cliché, will go a long way to es­tab­lish­ing a healthy re­la­tion­ship with your gifts love lan­guage spouse. If you’ve pre­vi­ously bought into the mis­con­cep­tion that gifts prove your love to this per­son, why don’t you com­bine it with a love lan­guage you un­der­stand bet­ter? If you know your part­ner is stressed, mix it with the ‘touch’ or ‘qual­ity time’ love lan­guage such as some­thing mas­sage-re­lated. Cards at­tached to presents al­low you to use words of af­fir­ma­tion. Al­ter­na­tively, pro­fess your heart-felt love with some ro­man­tic prose when you hand over the present. How about two tick­ets to the cricket for you and your sporty lover? A box of their favourite pop­corn would even do it for some peo­ple. Non-gift love lan­guage peo­ple can strug­gle with the thought they must buy presents all the time. This isn’t true. Sim­ply sur­prise and de­light at ran­dom un­ex­pected times or when they might need a lift the most. As a heads-up, please, please what­ever you do – re­mem­ber birth­days and an­niver­saries. Your gift love lan­guage spouse is likely buy­ing you presents to ex­press their love. Think back over the last year at how many gifts you’ve re­ceived from them. You’ll no­tice they’re things you’ve val­ued, wanted, or needed. If you’re not a gift per­son, you’re prob­a­bly tak­ing those presents for granted and don’t regis­ter as signs of af­fec­tion. You might even think they’re try­ing to pla­cate you with gifts to avoid show­ing af­fec­tion? I sus­pect ev­ery one of those gifts you’ve re­ceived was their way of say­ing “I love you, I lis­ten to you, I know who you are, and I know what you need.” So, ig­nore Mariah Carey and her mis­lead­ing lyrics that some peo­ple don’t want a lot for Christ­mas, there is just one thing they need, they don’t care about the presents, un­der­neath the Christ­mas tree. Yes, they prob­a­bly want you for their own… ac­com­pa­nied by your in­cred­i­bly thoughtful gift be­hind their back. It’s early Novem­ber, so you have plenty of time to lov­ingly trawl the shops or in­ter­net for that spe­cial some­thing and have it by Christ­mas. No, you can’t hire a buyer’s agent for this one but feel free to se­cretly re­search with their friends or fam­ily. Still at a loss? Ask them what they like. Watch this space next week to spend a mo­ment with me read­ing about the love lan­guage of qual­ity time.

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