I was just thinking about this earlier today and I think I figured out some things about how my family works. Now, these are just guesses, based on behavior, but it was an interesting brain exercise.
I think my mom’s primary love language (at least with us kids) is Quality Time. She got super unhappy with my sister and I for not scheduling something for Mother’s Day this year – just anything that involves us spending time with her. She seems to love to talk to us one-on-one, even if it just is for coffee, lunch, or shopping.
It does also explain why I have run into some issues with her regarding how we express love to each other, why I didn’t think that she was a primary love giving figure in my early life – because to her, spending time with me was showing affection, whereas I much would have preferred being told that I was cared for (Words of Affirmation is more prominent as my Love Language in my relationships with my family – both origin and choice – than Touch). I think she could tell that that was not working for me as I got older and more invested that time with my sister (for whom Quality Time is a bigger thing). As I got into my late teen years, she became more involved in my life again, giving more time, and I started to realize that this was how she was showing her love.
It does still cause some strife with us – since it is not one of my major love languages, I have some issues understanding why it is such a big deal to her to spend time with me, and why it is such a big deal to her if I can’t. I try to give it to her, without understanding why it is so important, but since my priorities are in different places, I don’t always know when I’m going to cause a tense situation with regards to time. This is something I am trying to understand.
I think my dad’s primary love language is Acts of Service. He takes care of things around the house, makes meals, helps us kids with our car problems, and runs errands for my mom, just because.
Since I grew up with my dad as my primary figure (as my mom got along better with my sister), I understand Acts of Service far better as a love language than Quality Time. To some extent I think I give Acts of Service as a Love Language because of this, because some of the ways I give love are the same as my dad did growing up – making meals, taking up emotional labor, doing research for people, and helping with various tech issues. Even if they are not my favorite things to do, I do them so other people can have a little less burden on their lives because of what I do.
My mom wants my dad to care more about me and my sister spending time with him for Father’s Day, but I don’t think he wants to. He’s never made a big deal out of it, but is willing to schedule things (and take on emotional labor) for my mom for Mother’s Day and regular date nights because he knows they matter to her.
I wonder how much neither of my parents speaking my primary family love language affected me growing up. And I wonder how much of my primary family love language is because of how I grew up and how my parents expressed theirs. Food for thought.