The gift of love

I love to give presents. I've read Gary Chapman's "5 Love Languages" book and I'm still not sure what language I best receive love in, but I know that giving gifts is my most fun way to show love.

I try to know the interests and current life circumstances of those I give to thoroughly enough to choose something meaningful. It doesn't have to be expensive ... just right.

That's why I'm truly distressed by my recent failures in attempts to give my husband something special. I bought him a new pair of sandals. They were identical to his old worn out pair. I even checked the size and found them on sale. When he tried them on, they rubbed his foot uncomfortably.

Then I gave him a new golf shirt ... he really doesn't play golf, but I don't think that's a requirement to wear them. He made all the right noises and facial expressions but the shirt kept getting shoved to the back of the closet. I kept pulling it out for him to wear and he finally admitted that he really disliked the color and would probably never wear it. Awesome!

Recently, I had an inspired idea: I searched and found a T-shirt I knew he'd like. It has a large, red name badge printed on the front that says, "Hello, My Name Is:" Then scrawled in marker is written "Enigo Montoya. You killed my father, prepare to die" (if you don't get this reference, I'm sorry ... see Wikipedia).

Guess what happened! The shirt arrived and was laying in the package on my kitchen counter when he came home. I scooped it up and hid it so he wouldn't see it. The problem is that I hid it too well. I have searched all over my house and can't find it (early onset dementia? Perhaps).

I once gave him a gift certificate for a shark cage dive (he is a scuba diver). I thought it was a fabulous adventure he'd love. He seemed really surprised (perplexed) and later asked if I had also increased our life insurance and had a boyfriend. We traded this present in for another excursion.

I'm starting to believe that I'll never give him the perfect gift, so maybe I'll have to start using some of the other "love languages" to express my appreciation and affection for him. Just guessing, physical touch might be a language he'd respond to better than gifts. Couples yoga? Probably not!

I know that demonstrating love for others in a way they will understand and appreciate is extremely valuable. God didn't create us to be alone and if we have treasured people in our lives, why not invest in successfully showing them how much we care?

What is your favorite language to give/receive love? If you don't know, you can take a free assessment at Forget taking French or Spanish lessons ... learn to speak fluent LOVE.

• Ahwatukee Foothills resident Diane Markins can be reached at Visit her blog at

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