By Aesha Adams-Roberts
Last Christmas season a sister came to me stressed out about what to get her boyfriend for Christmas. He's really into sports, she said, and he likes expensive watches, but he already has everything. She decided to get him some nice sweaters, an expensive Laker's watch, and some other sports memorabilia.
When I saw her after Christmas I asked her how everything went. He hated everything, she said. I told him I'm not even going to try anymore.
Has this ever happened to you?
For many people, trying to figure out what to give the one you love for Christmas gifts is very stressful. But it doesn't have to be if you keep this one thing in mind: When getting a gift for your husband or boyfriend, shop with their love language in mind, not yours (this works for men getting gifts for their wife or girlfriend).
Gary Chapman coined the phrase "love language" in his book, The Five Love Languages. He explains that everyone experiences love in a different way–a different language–although we're usually attracted to someone who speaks a different love language from our own.
I recommend you visit Gary Chapman's site www.5lovelanguages.com to take a quick quiz on the five different languages, but for now, I'll give you a quick summary of each language and a few gift ideas for each.
1) Words of affirmation–these include loving words, unsolicited compliments, and appreciation . The man whose love language is affirmation loves to hear "I love you" and wants to know why you love him.
Gift ideas include handwritten love letters that you read aloud to him over a special dinner or during your alone time. You could also buy or make a gift that symbolizes something you appreciate about him and then explain what it means.
2) Quality Time–this love language needs your undivided attention. No cell phones, no TV, no distractions, just one-on-one special time.
Gift ideas include a special getaway or vacation. It doesn't have to be exotic either. It could be a trip to a local bed and breakfast, a dinner cruise, or a 3-day weekend. Just as long as you make it clear that you want this time to be especially for you and him.
3) Receiving Gifts–this one seems straightforward and easy to communicate, but actually this love language is more than just buying stuff. It's the thought behind it and the sacrifice of time or money to get the gift. (That's why cash or gift cards won't cut it here). The key to speaking this language is remembering it's the thought that counts!
Gift ideas include paying attention to something you know your man has always wanted and getting it for him. For example, one man described how his girlfriend bought him a rare edition of a book he'd always wanted, even though he'd only brought it up once in a conversation with her early in their realationship. He was blown away and decided he wanted to marry her because he realized that she really paid attention to him.
4) Acts of Service--this includes going out of your way to do things for your man without being asked such as taking his clothes to the cleaners, organizing his files, making his appointments, or cooking his favorite meal after he's had a long day. Anything that will make life easier for him shows him that you love him.
Gift ideas include buying or making coupons that he can redeem for something special you'll do for him. Fun coupons include things like letting him have the remote for the whole Saturday, running his bath, or baking his favorite cake.
5) Physical Touch–men with this love language enjoy hugs, holding hands, kissing, and being close.
Coupons are a fun gift idea for this love language too, but make them more sensual and sexy!
We usually get frustrated when we express love in our own language thinking that our man will appreciate it. This leads to disappointment and sometimes anger. Imagine how knowing which language your man speaks could not only help you communicate better, but also help you find the perfect gift for him for Christmas!
Have fun shopping!