Ok, It’s taken me long enough to get back to this, but better late than never. Love language #2 is Quality Time. This is one of Shawna’s favorites that I have to make a conscious effort to do. Anyway, I’ll summarize what Five Love Languages says about it.
Quality time means giving someone your undivided attention. It isn’t watching TV together or reading in the same room. It isn’t just being in the same room together – close proximity. It is engaging one another (having a meaningful conversation, doing an activity one or both of you enjoy, getting away alone for the weekend, or anything that is all about just the two of you). This is sometimes a tough one for me because I’m usually happy just being in the same room as Shawna doing whatever I need to get done, but that’s not quality time. Some of the other love languages are higher on my priority, but I want Shawna to know I love her so I try to work very hard on this.
Think of it like this. When you’re spending time with someone you love you are giving minutes of your life to them that you will never get back. That is how powerful quality time says I love you – especially to someone who has quality time as a primary love language.
It is easy to get caught up in the “success” trap though. We’re so worried about the almighty dollar and our personal achievement that we’re too busy to spend quality time. We have goals we want to reach and time is ticking. Well the book presents a perspective that challenges you to think about how good all that success will be if you no longer have the love and respect of your spouse and family by the time you achieve it – if they’re even still around. You have to make time.
When I first realized just spending time together is important to Shawna I had a misconception… Quality time doesn’t mean you have to be gazing in to each other’s eyes whispering the same sweet stuff you said last week (although you’d be surprised that saying some stuff never gets old). You can do other activities together. For example, when Shawna and I were dating I had a tennis court at my apartment. That was quality time because we would just play and enjoy being together with our undivided attention on doing something together. We weren’t focused on the game itself, just that it was something we enjoyed doing together. There are lots of things you can do – make a list. As long as it is something one of you enjoy and you’re both at least willing to do it then do it knowing that you’re sharing love.
Conversation is a very important part of quality time. It isn’t always saying the sweet stuff, but it is sharing dialogue of experiences, thoughts, feelings, and desires with the undivided attention I mentioned before. It is being interesed in everything about one another, kindly asking questions that get each other talking, and listening very intently because you’re interested. Listen doesn’t mean offer solutions to problems that might be shared. Listen doesn’t mean offering advice that isn’t asked for. Listening in this context means being sympathetic and understanding.
Sometimes all this conversation isn’t easy. Growign up we were all conditioned not to share our thoughts or feelings or we’d get in trouble or feel guilty because of how our parents reacted. That’s another whole book, but you’ve got to learn how to get over it and share your thoughts and feelings. Then there’s the factor of different personalities that makes good conversation difficult. You probably attracted your opposite personality. One of you is talkative and the other isn’t and that’s why your dates seemed so perfect, because you both were on the end of the conversation that is naturally comfortable to you and it was easy. That’s part of the illusion of the in-love expereince I wrote about in this post. Nice how that all comes together.
I’m going to spend some quality time with my wife now. More on the 5LL later.