The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman should be on the required reading list for every person looking to have a successful relationship in their life. It’s the foundation on which good relationships are built. And without a solid foundation, any relationship can be in jeopardy.
The interesting thing is every person has to learn how to love someone and figure out the secret sauce to their relationship because no two people are alike. Love is spoken in many languages and expressed in a myriad of ways. Love language types are diverse, from words of affirmation, receiving gifts, acts of service, physical touch, to quality time. But did you know the way you express love might not be the preferred way by your partner? It takes time and sometimes even a lifetime for some couples to figure this out. It’s paramount to know your preferred language and that of your partners.
To save yourself time and energy, why not consult the experts. Learn from the many experiences they have had in dealing with relationship issues. Gary Chapman says, “We must be willing to learn our spouse’s love language if we are to be effective communicators of love.”
Understand the meaning of quality time
Quality time in relationships is time you spend with someone, giving them 100% of your attention. Sounds easy enough. But consider this statistic: We have more than 6,000 thoughts per day. It’s definitely a challenge to concentrate on one thing or one person.
Time is a commodity that waits for no one. You can’t buy quality time. You can only make quality time. If you want to spend quality time with your significant other, you have to dial back on those things that steal your attention away from your loved one. One such offender comes to mind, technology, aka your phone. Our phones have taken control of our lives. They dictate when we do things.
People think quality time is going to a restaurant and leaving your phone on the table face down. That is not quality time. That is telling your significant other that I am here for you, but if I receive a text or a phone call, I’m going to divert my attention away from you to that other person. In essence, the true definition of quality time is leaving your phone at home, in the car, or if you bring it with you, leave it on silent in your bag.
Even at home, say you are sitting on the couch with your partner after a long day. The television is on — in the background — because no one is watching. Instead of watching the TV or talking, you are both on your phones. It happens to the best of us. That is what quality time has boiled down to today. But if you invest in quality time now, your relationship will reap the rewards for years to come.
What are the signs to look for when determining your love language in quality time?
There are several ways to gauge your affinity for quality time. Let’s look at four of the most common ones:
1. Doing the 5 love languages quiz
Before entering into any relationship, or maybe you already in a relationship and encountering some relationship snags, your first plan of action should be taking the 5 love languages quiz.
Many couples will argue that they know each other’s likes and dislikes. While we think we individually know our love language, we don’t necessarily communicate this to our partners. The quiz is the easiest way to figure out if quality time is your love language.
2. Quality time scores higher
One of the most notable signs showing your preference for quality time is when the other love languages don’t live up to the same standard. You don’t value receiving gifts, physical touch, affirmations, or acts of service at the same level compared to spending quality time together. Quality time, after all, is the gift of presence.
3. Your love tank is empty
When your partner is busy and makes no effort to be present with you, it can leave you feeling lonely, disconnected and resentful. An unfortunate consequence of having your love tank empty.
4. The choices you make
Communication is key. If you’ve established your relationship on open communication, then expressing your needs to spend time together is a sign your love language is quality time. It’s not transparent but also not hard to see that when you prefer a quiet evening over a night out, watching a movie together or going on a long drive to the mountains, that you are begging for quality time.
How love translates to quality time in relationships
Your actions are a true reflection of your love for someone. They directly translate to the amount of love you have and how you display this love to your partner.
It’s simple — quit multitasking. Our lives are swamped with overflowing to-do lists, responsibilities, meetings, children, and family. And the thing is, these will never stop. You need to slow down and take those five minutes to enjoy a cup of coffee with your partner. Enjoy that 10 minutes sipping wine with your loved one after you put the kids to bed. These quality minutes are worth much more. Just being present together is confirming your love. It is saying to the other person, ‘I see you.’
Let’s be honest — after a certain amount of years dating or being married, life can get boring. Here the emphasis is not the meal that you are preparing but the enjoyment you get from doing it together. It is not a favour to the other person it’s seizing the opportunity to show love by sharing a quality experience. It’s creating memories around the quality time love language, something you don’t have to go out of your way to do because it is part of your day. And by doing it together, you are enhancing a mundane, routine chore to a quality time love affair.
Checking in with each other
At the end of the day or the week, check in with each other. This short 5–10 minutes of giving each other undivided attention speak volumes. It’s noticing and being mindful of the cues that the other person is sending. Body language can convey what words sometimes can’t. When you pick up on these and acknowledge them to your partner, they feel reassured and worthy.
A great way to show your commitment to each other is to go on a detox together. I’m not talking diet here; I’m talking about a cell phone detox. It’s a 100% fool-proof method to guarantee uninterrupted quality time. Take back control to show where and to whom your love belongs.
When you discuss and plan exciting things you want to do together, you show your love for the other person by acknowledging their likes and interests. It seals your relationship when you value what they value. Choosing quality over quantity maximizes the time you have by pursuing more meaningful activities.
Spending time together doing something or the other is not considered quality time. What you do matters. It has to be intentional. So doing something for the sake of doing it to show your partner they are going above and beyond to spend quality time with you will backfire. Speak to each other beforehand and be open about your intentions. Intention brings priority to the forefront of your relationship. When you do this, you communicating how much the other person means to you and what you are willing to do or compromise to make them feel loved.
Yes, hugging also falls under the love language physical touch. But hear me out. When you hug a loved one, you are doing two things. First, you are spending quality time with them. Secondly, you are expressing your love for them physically but in a nonsexual manner. It can be the first thing you do in the morning and the last thing you do at night to give that person an oxytocin boost. Studies have shown that women who are in healthy relationships and receive more hugs from their partners benefit greatly from this increase in oxytocin.