Five keys to speaking the love language of quality time.
I hope I’ve gotten the message across clearly in this blog that I am no marriage expert. I am a FAR cry from a perfect spouse and find it very difficult to put most of what I learn from researching these articles into practice.
You said it kid.
There is one area where I am becoming quite an expert and that is how I feel loved. I’m able to articulate how I want Rich to treat me to make me feel the most love. Knowing this is actually a huge blessing to both Rich and me, and Gary Chapman and his 5 Love Languages [amazon link] book helped to define better what I felt.
Now it happens to be quality time month on the blog and lucky for you my love language is QUALITY TIME! What an excellent coincidence.
Most of these ideas come from Dr. Gary Chapman himself, but are also backed up by my nine years of experience in what helps and doesn’t help in filling up the love tank of a quality time love language spouse.
You may think quality time is all about spending A LOT o f time together, or going out and doing a lot of things together. Maybe that sounds exhausting. Or expensive. But as you can see below, loving a quality time love language spouse actually has very little to do with the actual amount of time together and everything to do with how you spend the time you do have together.
5 Keys to Loving a Quality Time Love Language Spouse:
1 Give them your UNDIVIDED attention (ie: Put the phone down!)
“Nothing says ‘I love you’ like full, undivided attention.” – Gary Chapman
YES! Yes, yes yes yes yes.
For quality timers, undivided attention is the name of the game. If your spouse’s love language is quality time, don’t talk to them while you are focused on something else, it will drive them bonkers. Not while you’re watching something, not while you’re Facebooking, not while you’re gaming.
If you are in the middle of something and they want to talk, it is better to say, “Just a sec, I’m almost done,” and then give them your full attention when you talk rather than trying to have a conversation while you are distracted.
Not that I am speaking from experience here . . . (but I’m totally speaking from experience here).
2 Maintain eye contact.
Oh my gosh guys. If you remember nothing else from this post, remember this: eye contact is important! It is the gateway to loving a quality time spouse.
As I was re-listening to the 5 Love Languages recently, I was surprised to hear just how much Gary Chapman talked about eye contact with a quality time love language. But it was honestly like he was reading my mind. Like he was articulating something I had never thought to articulate.
I think I audibly said, “YES!” when I heard him say that maintaining eye contact tells your spouse that you have their full attention and will make them feel loved and understood.
Quality conversation with sustained eye contact is the key to my heart. It fills me up like nothing else can and when I don’t have it for a while, I always feel disconnected from Rich and start to feel unloved.
This is probably one of the reasons I love companionship inventory so much. Sunday nights we don’t watch anything, and we block out at least an hour to just chat. Even if the topics are hard sometimes, my love tank gets filled up every Sunday night just by having focused one-on-one conversation.
3 If you don’t have much time, make the most out of the time you do have.
Even if it is only 10 minutes a day- make those 10 minutes count! Focus on each other. Talk, connect, express love, snuggle, have sex, whatever, just make it intentional and focused. Ten minutes of pure connection will yield much better results in way of connecting than two hours of being together without focused attention on each other (Netflix, I’m giving you the shifty side eye here).
4 Actively listen without interrupting.
A quick reminder on how to actively listen with the F.L.A.P. method: focus, lean, affirm (paraphrase) and probe (ask thoughtful questions).
Active listening is one of the most loving things you can do for your partner regardless of their love language, but unfortunately it’s not intuitive. Most of us go to stating our opinion, jumping to conclusions and interrupting more naturally than active listening in our conversations.
In short, we think of ourselves and our thoughts, words and opinions more than we think of our partner’s when we’re talking to them. This takes conscious effort to reverse, and there is no better time than the present to start practicing!
Perhaps the quickest mind trick is to actively try putting yourself in their shoes- try to see the world how they see it and feel the things they feel- while your partner is talking to you.
Interrupting is like nails on a chalkboard for someone whose love language is quality time. It makes them feel unheard and uncared for.
5 Offer sympathy, not advice.
“We are often trained to analyze problems and create solutions. We forget that marriage is a relationship, not a project to be completed or a problem to solve. A relationship calls for sympathetic listening with a view to understanding the other person’s thoughts, feelings and desires. We must be willing to give advice but only when it is requested and never in a condescending manner.” – Gary Chapman
If your love language is quality time, you are surely nodding along on this one. We just want to talk to be heard and understood NOT evaluated and instructed. Rich and I misunderstood this for years, and it was rough. We are both guilty. Now, often we’ll ask, “Wait, do you want advice on this?” And that is a great question because most of the time the other one says no.
So if you are married to someone whose love language is quality time- make eye contact, make the most of the time you have together, put the phone down and actively listen while they are talking.
And if you really want to take your relationship to the next level- join our love experiment this month: connection with your spouse for 10 minutes every night as explained here.