~ By Celia Lucente
Is your hero or heroine poor, rich or somewhere in the middle? The answer to that question actually doesn’t matter for purposes of today’s post. As you characters celebrate Valentine’s Day with the one they truly love, one demonstration of love is gift giving. In fact gifting is one of the five languages of love discussed in the book The Five Love Languages.
Perhaps your hero or heroine doesn’t speak in the form of gifts. But chances are someone in the relationships you write about does. Society pressures us at every opportunity to buy, buy, and buy. It’s what keeps the economy going, the very forward propulsion needed for financial growth. So for every holiday celebrated it’s time to buy things for our loved ones and go out to drink and eat.
But as Gary Chapman points out in his book, a gift doesn’t have to be purchased. It can be made, it can be harvested from the woods, it can be written. What unique ways can your characters express this language to their mates?
In Chapman’s book, he illustrates the power of gifting as a means that saved a long-term marriage from falling apart. The stay-at-home wife was feeling neglected, tired of her ho-hum existence. The husband, as we ladies may have experience in real life, was clueless and thought everything was fine in their life. It turns out that his language of love was acts of service. And his wife performed those acts very well. His shirts were laundered, ironed, meals were cooked to perfection and the children were cared for and out of his hair when he came home from work. Yet he was greeted with doom and gloom when he came home and it increased with time. The long faces of his family began to disturb him and he actually asked his wife what was wrong. They went to counseling and through the sessions, they learned that while his wife spoke the correct love language for him but he didn’t speak the correct love language for his wife of children.
Turns out, he didn’t need to do very much at all. Or spend very money. Sometimes simply picking wild flowers off the side of the road and wrapping them in a neat ribbon might be all he needed to do to make his wife feel loved. Or calling from the office to announce he’s picking up a pizza and a movie so she doesn’t have to cook one evening and the family could enjoy their pizza and movie watching together. Or bringing the kids home Cracker Jack boxes they then were thrilled to open and consume the contents, anxious to get their prize at the bottom of the box. His family’s sheer joy from these small gestures were infectious and he got on a roll and continued this for every day over a couple of weeks. He wife expressed concern that these gifts may be costing him too much and while she and the kids loved the attention, he didn’t need to do it every day. The man began to bring his family their surprises once a week and hadn’t stopped since he started. Because he finally learned the language that spoke to his family’s hearts, he was able to restore joy and happiness to his home.
Maybe your characters are struggling this Valentine’s Day. Maybe a lonely heroine is presented with a hand-written card by an unexpected suitor. Or a divorced man sitting alone in a coffee shop is offered a cup of Joe a lovely young woman has bought him. Perhaps your dejected gay woman is at the gym on her new workout regimen after finally breaking off a long abusive relationship. And the thing that makes her day is her stair master partner offers to buy her a protein shake after their workout. She learns that her workout partner is gay too and they become fast friends.
There are so many way we can introduce gifting in our writing. No matter how big or small the gift, whether it’s hand-made or handpicked, the gift itself is a reflection of how someone else is thinking about you. And on this special day, your character has the power to make someone else feel really special!
Celia Lucente is a full-time writer of contemporary romance and women’s fiction and is seeking either an agent or acquiring editor for her finished works. She is a PRO member of RWA, and a member of the RWA Contemporary Romance, RWA-WF, RWA Romance Critique Group and her local chapter of Space Coast Authors. She is a participant with several critique groups and CP’s and enjoys working on her craft by helping fellow writers.