The second Love Language to discuss is Quality Time. Quality Time may look and feel differently for different people; however when I think of quality time I think of giving someone your undivided attention. Chapman writes “In the vernacular of Quality Time, nothing says, ‘I love you,’ like full, undivided attention.” I joke around about “being present” a lot but I believe that’s what quality time boils down to. Being present to me, isn’t just about being in the room, but truly being engaged in the moment. At its most basic level Quality Time is showing someone that you are fully immersed and focused on them and in that moment.
I know this can be difficult to do with busy schedules and all the things life throws at us. Schedules don’t always align; If you have children, you know that Quality Time between you and your spouse, without children, can be something difficult to find.
Quality Time can look and feel different for people, but when we give someone our focused attention it allows opportunity for other areas of Quality Time to take place, such a quality conversation. Think about the last meaningful discussion you had with your spouse, or even a friend or family member, were you multitasking, or were you both giving focused attention? You may be thinking how does “quality conversation” differ from “words of affirmation?” Chapman writes “words of affirmation focus on what we are saying, whereas quality conversation focuses on what we are hearing.” Focused attention and active listening lead to quality conversation. When we practice active listening, it allows people the time and space to feel acknowledged and understood. In many ways active listening is mindfulness, which Jon Kabat-Zinn explains as “paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.”
Being present and fully engaged is a form of showing respect to the other person and it also just makes people feel good. Giving someone your undivided attention is a sign of letting people know you care, and is a great start to increasing positive interactions and feelings. When you evoke positive feelings in others, that is what they remember about you. I heard a quote from Maya Angelou recently that perfectly suits the positive affects of what Quality Time does for our relationships. Angelou says “People don’t remember what you do or say, but people remember how you made them feel” We have the choice to listen and be present and show those around us that they are more important than all distractions around us. We have the choice to evoke positive feelings or negative feelings, and that’s what they will remember about us; How did we make them feel, did the time we spent with someone make them feel valued? Was it quality time?
How many times have you been in a restaurant and seen an entire table of people all on their phones? Or perhaps you are with your spouse, trying to have a conversation and one of you is on your phone or attempting to multitask, and aren’t truly giving your full attention. Being present and engaged shows respect for the other person. For example, putting your phone down and listening shows that you value the other person and what they are saying, regardless of whether you agree with the conversation. It shows the person that they are more important than whatever Facebook or Instagram post the person was browsing. So after you read this post, put your phone down, close your computer and try out some of the following ways to increase quality time with your partner:
- Hire a sitter and have a date night.
- Wake up 15 minutes early and enjoy a cup of coffee together to start your day.
- Focus on making eye contact during a conversation. If you are physically focusing your attention on a person they will feel engaged and you will pay more attention
- Stop trying to multitask.
- Actively listen. Listen to what the person is saying, without interrupting. Often people just want to be heard, and don’t need a solution.
- Find something fun to do together as a couple. This could be something new to try together, or even just cooking a meal together.
- Take a walk. If you have children, this is a great way to be active as a family and engage in quality time.
- Schedule time together. This could even be a daily check in, phone call or text. Life gets crazy sometimes, and scheduling time together might sound crazy, but at the end of the day it’s important to experience quality time together, especially if this is your partners love language.