With many moms and dads travelling for work, we are seeing more of what I term “frequent flyer families.” Time zone changes, length of time spent working away from home and one parent single-handedly assuming the responsibilities at home are all challenging. Parents may also be experiencing what Jeff Kleinman calls “shift parenting” where both parents are at home but each parent works a different shift on the job. One parent may assume morning tasks at home and the other assume the “homework shift.” Keeping connected as a couple can be difficult in both circumstances.
Here is where knowing our own love language as well as the love languages of our spouse and children can make a huge difference. Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell wrote The Five Love Languages of Children to assist parents in discovering their child’s primary and secondary love languages. Speaking all five languages is terrific and really focusing in on your child’s primary and secondary love languages speaks volumes.
My primary love language is gifts. From the first time my dad opened his suitcase and pulled out a doll that he had brought me from one of his international Air Force missions, I felt totally loved.
Knowing your own primary love language allows you to let others know how they can best let you know that you are loved. Knowing your child’s and spouse’s love languages allows you to help them fill what Chapman and Campbell call the “emotional love tank.”
If you are a “frequent flyer family,” you will know to put love letters in your spouse’s suitcase if his primary love language is words of affirmation or to let him know that you fixed that leaky faucet if it is acts of service.
If it is physical affection, you will know to plan a little “shift overlap” time for a backrub or for simply being together watching a sunrise or sunset if his language is time.
Discover your love language and share it with your family. Find out each family member’s primary love language and speak it often. Running on a full “emotional love tank” is awesome!