For years I told my husband that I didn’t like flowers. And now, after almost 10 years of being together, I’ve began telling him that we don’t have to exchange gifts. This past year we didn’t exchange birthday gifts, anniversary gifts, Valentine’s Day gifts - none of that. Only Christmas gifts and even those were pretty limited. So last week I really started to unpack this. If you’ve ever taken the 5 Love Languages quiz, you know that one of the love languages that we humans communicate through is gift giving. Guess which language is my highest.
So why have I spent the majority of my marriage telling my husband that he doesn’t have to buy me gifts, if that’s the best way that I feel loved? This is what came up for me when I asked myself that question:
It’s materialistic to want gifts.
Wanting gifts makes me selfish.
We have better things that we could be spending that money on, like bills and our daughters.
More/better gifts doesn’t indicate his love for me.
I don’t need things to know that he cares.
But here’s the thing…if gift giving is my primary love language those last 2 points are completely false; I DO need gifts to feel his love for me and not because I’m selfish but just because that’s how my brain is wired. They don’t have to be extravagant. Hell, they don’t even have to cost money. It’s the act of him getting something for me and therefore THINKING of me and the things that I appreciate - THAT’S what makes me feel love.
As for the other 3 points, those are all ego driven, baby. Those are evidence of my mean girl telling me I better slow down and stay small, because there’s something wrong with me when I don’t. Society has somehow programmed me to think gifts = materialistic, mean, and selfish, which thereby is causing me to compromise part of who I am and make me feel less than loved in my relationships. For so many years I’ve been giving up this part of me; I’ve been compromising a major part of who I am and what I enjoy because something in me said it was wrong. This may seem like such a silly example to you, but it broke my heart. I’ve been denying my husband the chance to truly love me, and myself the chance to truly feel loved because I believed I was broken. I was ashamed of myself for feeling like this, so I tried desperately to eliminate it. And if I tried to eliminate this part of myself, what else have I been hiding or avoiding? How else am I not living in my fullness? Honoring my truth? Allowing myself to experience love? If I’m willing to compromise this and have been blind to it for over 10 years, what else am I blinding compromising that I haven’t woken up to?
This whole scenario has been so interesting to me. I haven’t even shared it with my husband yet, but I really wanted to share it with you here. Take this and learn - stop compromising who you are to make other people comfortable. Stop denying yourself the things that bring you joy. Stop robbing the people who love you most of your fullness. Stop playing small, sister. It’s time.