Giving someone your undivided attention is spending ‘quality time’ with them. A central aspect of quality time is togetherness. Togetherness has to be focused attention. The important thing emotionally is that you are spending focused time with each other. The activity is a vehicle that creates the sense of togetherness.
Within every language, there are many dialects. Here below you will find just a few but in the end you need to understand your spouse’s dialect.
Spending time together with focused attention. What happens on an emotional level is what matters. It communicates that you care about each other, that you enjoy being with each other, that you like to do things together.
Quality conversation is sympathetic dialogue where two individuals are sharing their experiences, thoughts, feeling, and desires in a friendly, uninterrupted context. Words of affirmation focus on what we are saying, whereas quality conversation focuses on what we are hearing.
Some practical tips:
- 1. Maintain eye contact when your spouse is talking.
- 2. Don’t listen to your spouse and do something else at the same time.
- 3. Listen for feelings and mirror them back. For example: “It sounds like you are feeling disappointed because I forgot _______.”
- 4. Observe body language
- 5. Refuse to interrupt
Quality conversation requires sympathetic listening but also self-revelation.
Quality activities may include anything in which one or both of you have an interest. The emphasis is not on what you are doing but on why you are doing it. The essential ingredients 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.
If your spouse’s love language is QUALITY TIME:
- Take a walk together through the old neighbourhood where one of you grew up. Ask questions about your spouse’s childhood. Ask, “What are the fun memories of your childhood?” Then, “What was the most painful about your childhood?”
- Go to the park and rent bicycles. Ride until you are tired, then sit and watch the ducks. When you get tired of the quacks, roll on to the rose garden. Learn each other’s favourite colour of rose and why.
- In the spring or summer make a luncheon appointment with your spouse. Meet him and drive to the local cemetery. Spread your tablecloth and eat your sandwiches and thank God that you are still alive. Share with each other one thing you would like to do before you die.
- Ask your spouse for a list of five activities that he would enjoy doing with you. Make plans to do one of them each month of the next five months. If money is a problem, space the freebies between the “we can’t afford these” events.
- Ask your spouse where she most enjoys sitting when talking with you. The next week, call her in the afternoon and say, “I want to make a date with you one evening this week to sit on the yellow sofa and talk. Which night and what time would be best for you?”
- Think of an activity your spouse enjoys, but which brings little pleasure to you: football, symphony, a jazz concert, or TV sleeping. Tell your spouse that you are trying to broaden your horizons and would like to join her in this activity sometimes this month. Set a date and give it your best effort. Ask questions about the activity at break times.
- Plan a weekend getaway just for the two of you sometime within the next six month. Be sure it is a weekend when you won’t have to call the office or turn on the TV for a report every thirty minutes. Focus on relaxing together doing what one or both of you enjoy.
- Make time every day to share with each other some of the events of the day. When you spend more time watching the news than you do listening to each other, you end up more concerned about Iraq than about your spouse.
- Have a “Let’s review our history” evening once every three months. Set aside an hour to focus on your history. Select five questions each of you will answer, such as
a. Who was your best and worst teacher in school and why?
b. When did you feel your parents were proud of you?
c. What is the worst mistake your mother ever made?
d. What is the worst mistake your father ever made?
e. What do you remember about the religious aspect of your childhood?
Each evening agree on five questions before you begin sharing. At the end of the five questions, stop and decide upon the five questions you will ask next time.
- Camp out by the fireplace (or an orange lamp). Spread your blankets and pillows on the floor. Get your Pepsi and popcorn. Pretend the TV is broken and talk like you used to when you were dating. Talk till the sun comes up or something else happens. If the floor gets too hard, go back upstairs and got to bed. You won’t forget this evening!
(Please also refer to the book ‘The five Love Languages’ by Gary Chapman)