One medicine cannot cure all diseases. Similarly, my love language might not be yours. Last week we looked at Words of Affirmation. Today, Love Language #2 Quality Time. By this Chapman means “giving someone your undivided attention. I don’t mean sitting on the couch watching television together. When you spend time that way, the television has your attention – not your spouse.” A central aspect of quality time is togetherness. I do not mean proximity. Two people sitting in the same room are in close proximity, but they are not necessarily together. Togetherness has to do with focused attention.
What Does Quality Time Mean?
Quality time means that we are doing something together and that we are giving our full attention to the other person. It could be going for a walk, going for lunch or dinner, or just doing something you know your partner enjoys but you are doing it together.
“Like words of affirmation, the language of quality time also has many dialects. One of the most common dialects is that of quality conversation … where two individuals are sharing their experiences, thoughts, feelings, and desires in a friendly, uninterrupted context.” He goes on to comment that, whereas words of affirmation tend to focus on what we are saying, quality conversation focuses on what we are hearing. “If I am sharing my love for you by means of quality time and we are going to spend that time in conversation, it means I will focus on drawing you out, listening sympathetically to what you have to say. I will ask questions, not in a badgering manner but with a genuine desire to understand your thoughts, feelings, and desires.”(p.61)
Some tips for Quality Conversation:
- Maintain eye contact when your spouse is talking.
- Don’t listen to your spouse and do something else at the same time.
- Listen for feelings.
- Observe body language.
- Refuse to interrupt.
He goes on to say though, that quality conversation requires not only sympathetic listening but also self-revelation. “In each of life’s events, we have emotions, thoughts, desires, and eventually actions. It is the expression of that process that we call self-revelation. If you choose to learn the love dialect of quality conversation, that is the learning road you must follow.”(p.67) Obviously, people have different personalities. Some are much more inclined to talk, others not so much. “One way to learn new patterns is to establish a daily sharing time in which each of you will talk about three things that happened to you that day and how you feel about them. I call that the “Daily Minimum Requirement” for a healthy marriage.” (p.69)
The last dialect he mentions is quality activities, doing things together. Quality activities may include anything in which one or both of you has an interest. The purpose is to experience something together. “The essential ingredients in a quality activity are: 1) at least one of you wants to do it, 2) the other is willing to do it, 3) both of you know why you are doing it – to express love by being together.” (p.70)
There you have it – Love Language #2 – Quality Time. Next week #3 Receiving Gifts.