The Love Tank

The Love Tank…

Relationships are like bouquets of spring flowers. The outcomes of our haphazard unions are serendipitous, but can also be beautiful and awe-inspiring. Each couple in a relationship has a unique profile of what makes them feel fulfilled within that union- communication, sex, companionship, verbal praise, and gifts are just a few examples. But America’s new league of female breadwinners may proceed with caution if one particular currency tops the list of what makes their men feel loved- material gifts. If a man happens to appreciate gifts as a sign of admiration and love, how do women with financial means process uncomfortable feelings that he may be a ‘gold-digger’?

Every woman likes to receive a little gift box wrapped in a bow. She opens it with child-like giddiness as its sparkling contents are revealed. Her heart fills with joy; she may find herself smiling for the rest of the day. That material gift feels like more than just an item purchased in a store. The gift embodies a sentiment- a feeling that she is loved, appreciated, and special.

Relationships of the millennium are navigating unchartered territory regarding the income hierarchy in our relationships. We must begin to shed some of our old values and expectations.  Tradition dictates that it is not chivalrous for men to accept gifts from women. There seems to be an unspoken rule that it is inappropriate for a woman to buy nice gifts for a man.  A rational explanation may be that in decades past, women had no means of income to bestow gifts upon her man. How should we modify this rule when the woman is the higher earner in the relationship?

There is an intriguing concept that is common in the world of marital therapy. It is called the “Love Tank”; and what it describes is an emotional void inside of all of us that is waiting to be filled. But unlike a gas tank or propane tank, this type of tank can only be filled with the kind of love that feels personal to each of us. If a man appreciates material gifts to fill his love tank, should breadwinning women refuse to comply simply because of gender stereotypes?

My opinion is that this double standard requires a second look in a modern world. I think that same loving feelings a woman experiences when she receives a gift from her lover should be allowed to transcend gender. This is especially true when she has the funds to do so and he does not. I think ‘gold-digger’ describes a pattern of behavior wherein a person pretends to be in love with someone but is really only in that union for material gain. But in the context of a loving relationship, I think it is acceptable for a man to want a nice gift from his woman now and then. If his partner knows what fills his love tank, he will feel appreciated and fulfilled in his relationship.  It is not our place to judge what each of us needs to fill up. As loving mates, we should try our best to comply and our partners should do the same for us.