Still on the Love Language series. In case you missed the previous topic, click “words of affirmation” to read up.
Before applying the words from this post/series, please note this: The love language principles only work for couples who actually WANT their relationship to work. Relationships do not work out, you work them out
Introducing the love language: Quality time.
By “quality time,” I mean giving someone your undivided attention. I don’t mean sitting on the couch watching television while seated next to your partner. In this case, you’re barely spending time with your partner, you’re just around them. You can spend quality time with your partner by watching TV together don’t get me wrong, but keyword here is “TOGETHER”. You could tune down the volume and have goofy or serious conversations about whatever you’re watching TOGETHER. At the same time, if there is the need for it, you could sit together with the TV off, looking at each other, talking, just giving each other your undivided attention. This is my main example because this causes a lot of rifts between couples as I’ve read.
Spending quality time could also mean taking a walk, just the two of you, or going out, just the two of you, or napping, just the two of you, or cooking, just the two of you. Whatever it is, it means just the two of you, being completely in each other’s company, being TOGETHER. For quality time, the act itself is intentional, while the activity you’re both engaged in is incidental. The emotionally important thing is spending time focusing on each other.
Spending quality time with your partner CAN HAPPEN IN DIFFERENT FORMS. I’d go over the few I’ve read about recently:
Like words of affirmation, the language of quality time also has many dialects. One of them is quality conversation- a sympathetic dialogue where two individuals are sharing their experiences, thoughts, feelings, and desires in a friendly, uninterrupted context. When individuals complain that their spouse does not talk to them, they mean that he or she seldom takes part in sympathetic dialogue. Quality conversation is quite different from the first love language. Words of affirmation focus on what we are saying, whereas quality conversation focuses on what and how we are hearing. Your main focus should be on drawing out and listening sympathetically to what your partner has to say.
Try the following:
1 . Maintain eye contact when your spouse is talking. That keeps your mind from wandering and communicates that he/she has your full attention.
2 . Don’t listen to your spouse and do something else at the same time. If you are doing something else that you cannot turn from immediately, tell your spouse the truth. A positive approach might be, “I know you are trying to talk to me and I’m interested, but I want to give you my full attention. I can’t do that right now, but if you will give me ten minutes to finish this, I’ll sit down and listen to you.” Most spouses will respect such a request.
3. Listen for feelings. Ask yourself, “What emotion is my spouse experiencing?” When you think you have the answer, confirm it. For example, “It sounds to me like you are feeling disappointed because I forgot __________.”
That gives him the chance to clarify his feelings. It also communicates that you are listening intently to what he is saying.
4 . Observe body language. Clenched fists, trembling hands, tears, furrowed brows, and eye movement may give you clues as to what the other is feeling. Sometimes body language speaks one message while words speak another. Ask for clarification to make sure you know what he or she is really thinking and feeling.
5 . Refuse to interrupt. Recent research has indicated that the average individual listens for only seventeen seconds before interrupting and interjecting his or her own ideas. If you give your spouse your undivided attention while they are talking, you will refrain from defending yourself or hurling accusations at your partner. Your goal is to discover their thoughts and feelings, not to defend yourself or to set them straight. It is to understand them.
The emphasis here is on being together, doing things together, giving each other undivided attention.
Quality activities may include anything in which one or both of you have an interest. The emphasis is not on what you are doing but on why and how you are doing it. The purpose is to experience something together, to walk away from it feeling closer.
Some of these sound corny but they only look/sound corny. For your partner and you, it could lead to a deeper bond.
1. Take a walk together through the old neighborhood where one of you grew up. Ask questions about your spouse’s childhood.
2. Go to your spouse’s office and have lunch or take them out to lunch.
3. Ask your spouse for a list of five activities that he would enjoy doing with you. Make plans to do one of them each month for the next five months. If financing is a problem, space the freebies between the “we can’t afford this” events.
4. Think of an activity your spouse enjoys, but which brings little pleasure to you. Tell your spouse that you are trying to broaden your horizons and would like to join in this activity sometime this month. Set a date and give it your best effort.
5. Plan a weekend getaway just for the two of you sometime within the next six months.
6. Make time every day to share with each other some of the events of the day. When you spend more time watching the news than you do listening to each other, you end up more concerned about CNN than about your spouse.
7. Have a “Let’s review our history” evening once every three months.
These are just a few steps. Listening to your partner will give you an even better insight as to what they like and do not. The main thing is to be willing.
You can take the love language test here.
Next up: The Language of GIFTS