In relationships, giving gifts is important. By offering a gift to your partner you are showing your appreciation for what they bring to your life. It shows them how you value them and want to please them. Whether small gifts or large ones, they are all investments in your relationship.
While showing your love and appreciation is meaningful and important, what happens when you miss the mark? It happens to us all at some point, but what can you do to avoid that feeling, that knot in the pit of your stomach when your partner is disappointed? Understanding your partner’s attachment style can help you give something that they will appreciate and value.
How to Determine Your Attachment Style
Attachment styles are patterned ways you interact within relationships. We develop them beginning in early childhood and they form how we react and what we expect from those we have relationships with. There are four styles: secure, anxious, avoidant, and disorganized. Each comes with a set of traits or ways we view things, and they form our ideas of what we expect from those around us. When you understand your style and that of your partners you will have a sense of predictability in your relationship. This will in turn allow you to be more in tune with your gift-giving to your partner. To learn about your individual styles, there is a short quiz on Dr. Diane Poole Heller’s website you can take to help you understand each of your styles.
Using Your Attachment Styles for Better Gift Giving
When you are of the secure attachment style you will likely believe that you know what your partner would like. You are confident in choosing the right gift for your partner, something that they would value and enjoy. You also would feel certain that if the gift you chose was not something that appeals to your partner, that it would be ok because they would appreciate your effort and your intentions.
On the other side of the coin, if you are of an insecure attachment style, such as anxious, avoidant, or disorganized, your perceived understanding of what your partner would want may be off. As an example, maybe your wife wants to do something together, and she is thinking of a romantic dinner but you come home with hockey tickets! This could lead to disappointment for both of you. You feel you got a great gift which allows for you to spend time together. She feels misunderstood because she thinks you should know by now that she hates hockey.
In a recent blog, I discussed three gifts that are low cost but will have a positive impact on your relationship for years to come (no matter your attachment style). They are emotional closeness, improved physical health, and financial wellbeing. While they will not replace material gifts, they are worth exploring for the benefits both you and your partner will receive. To learn more, you can read my blog, How to Give Gifts that Improve Your Relationship and Keep on Giving.
The truth is, gift-giving is important to you, your partner, and your relationship. You want the gifts you give to show your love, be thoughtful, and be appreciated by your partner. Do not forget that the non-material things you share can benefit your relationship for years to come. Whatever the gift, understanding your partner and knowing their attachment style will help you choose something that will be well-received, cherished, and will bring your partner joy.
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