The Five Love Languages Blog Series continues! The last post was all about words of affirmation and how to emotionally connect through verbal validation. This post goes into detail with the second of the five love languages, quality time, offering ideas on how to create quality time for connection in your relationship. So what is exactly is quality time? It seems pretty self-explanatory but quality time can be defined differently from one person to the next. I think it is helpful for you and your partner to describe exactly what quality time means to each of you. Quality time just happens to be my primary love language and it is not my husband’s primary love language. If I were to define quality time in our relationship I would describe it as being when my husband and I have dedicated time for just the two of us (more of a date like moment) whereas he would describe quality time as us just physically being in the same space together (maybe even watching a baseball game)-very different. Having the conversation from the beginning to differentiate what quality time looks like to each partner can be very helpful in keeping realistic expectations when needing connection in your relationship.
Chapman (2010) offers further describes quality time in the book The Five Love Languages. First he says for someone whose love language is quality time thrives in the relationship off of moments where his or her partner gives him or her undivided attention. Chapman also says quality time can be when there are moments of quality conversation and quality activities. If quality time is your primary love language or your partner’s it is good to think about the activities you are choosing for quality time and if it will allow space for focused attention and quality conversation. Conflict and disconnection can easily arise if one partner is in need of quality time but then the scheduled time for the relationship is too distracted by other people/things. Sometimes you might even need to get creative to work in quality versus mundane time into your relationship.
Here are some other ideas for quality time:
- Favorite Dates: Ask your partner his or her favorite dates/moments from when you first started dating. Schedule quality time activities by mirroring these moments or dates when possible.
- Date Days: Schedule a date day for your partner who thrives off of quality time- this day can be a day filled with an activity/activities picked specifically for your partner to enjoy.
- Conversation Time: Find opportunities to sit and simply talk- maybe over dinner, maybe under the stars, maybe with some music, etc. My favorite moments are at the end of the day when our day is winding down, our baby is asleep and we cook dinner while listening to music and catching up on our days.
- Evening Huddles: At the end of each day before going to bed, make it a point to be with each other (undistracted) and get caught up about how each of you are doing overall. I like to think of these as evening huddles. They may only be 10-15 minutes of a conversation, but will help add to the needed quality time of the partner in need.
- Envelope Dates: One of my favorite ideas is to create a go-to date envelope that has 12 other smaller envelopes inside. Label each smaller envelope for every month of the year and then to put a date idea in the month’s envelope. Pick 12 activities (with appropriate budget in mind) you know both you and your partner will enjoy. At the beginning of each month you will open up the month’s envelope and plan when your date will be for that month. And, there you have it- quality time planned out with a quality activity. It may take you an hour or two to come up with 12 ideas, but then you have 12 dates to look forward to! And, you will probably forget some of the dates so the surprise is fun, too!
While these are just a few tips to consider for quality time, it is important to ask your partner if quality time is considered to be one of his or her primary love languages. If so, you can work together to come up with ideas of how to have quality time as a constant in your relationship. Life can get busy and it is A-OK to sit and plan out when your quality time will take place- with or without kids. Accepting that spontaneous dates are not always the easiest or the most practical in a long-term relationship is part of this being successful. The goal is to continue to focus on your partner’s love language to keep investing in the connection of your relationship.
Chapman, G. (2010) The five love languages. The secret to love that lasts.