Allow me to please share a personal anecdote to perfectly demonstrate a common fallacy about spending “quality time” together.
Just moments ago, I went to begin the first lines of this article, thinking I’d write something flawless about me selflessly choosing to sit next to Pat while he watches a football game or plays XBox as an excellent example of me speaking his love language. Then... I read this excerpt about Gary Chapman’s fourth love language and felt like a complete idiot:
“Quality time is giving someone your undivided attention. I don’t mean sitting on the couch watching television. I mean sitting on the couch with the TV off, looking at each other and talking, and giving each other your undivided attention.”
AKA, I was dead wrong. I kept reading, riveted by my own stupidity:
“A central aspect of quality time is togetherness. I do not mean proximity. Togetherness has to do with focused attention. A husband who is watching sports on television while he talks to his wife is not giving her quality time, because she does not have his full attention. If it is genuine quality time, a husband and wife playing tennis together will focus not on the game, but on the fact that they are spending time together,” (emphasis added).
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Does your spouse ever say things like, “You don’t seem to have time for me. We used to do things together. Now you are always too busy or too tired?” This may come as a shock, especially if you’re with your spouse during the day/after work. If this is you, it’s very possible you’re not speaking your spouse’s love language throughout the day!
Here are four ways to spend real, full-on, meaningful quality time with your spouse:
Here are a few examples and ideas, both good and bad, but hopefully relatable:
Example one: Pat and I try to read some of the Good Word every day. This can be an excellent source of quality time as we study, meditate, converse, and learn together. Sometimes, however, life one-ups us and suddenly we’re left to read while driving in the car, brushing our teeth, or folding laundry. See that? We sometimes miss this golden opportunity to sit closely to one another, stare into each others beautiful eyeballs and learn about Godhood without being distracted.
(**Disclaimer--something is much better than nothing! If this type of reading is all we have time for, I take it and you should, too! All I’m saying is that it’s not the best case scenario, and you know it’s true.)
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Example two: Last week I was all weepy and emotional about missing an important event due to a ruptured ovarian cyst or two. As I sat there looking homeless and clinging to myself, Pat said, “Tell me what you’re feeling right now. Are you feeling more sick or sad? Would you say the physical pain is worse than the disappointment you feel or vice versa?” And he looked at me so sweetly while he asked. Not only did I sort out my own feelings, but I had his full attention and sympathy. He simply wanted to understand so he could know how to help. Just that simple act in and of itself made me feel better! Are you catching it? Quality time/communication ----> relationship satisfaction.
Example three: I’m a night person. Pat’s more of a morning person. I’d rather stay up late burning the midnight oil, and he’d rather wake up early and get the worm. You can see how our pillowtalk could potentially suffer. Even before we got married, we knew our opposite internal time zones could be an issue, so we decided to always try to go to bed at the same time so we could snuggle and whisper sweet nothings to each other. These past few weeks I’ve made a more valiant effort to start winding down around 10:30pm (so Pat can be alive long enough to have pillow talk for more than thirty seconds before the snoring commences) and waking up with him before 7am (so I’m not an incoherent “Zombie”--as he rightfully calls me). During these relaxed and comfortable moments at the closing and beginning of each day, we talk about what was accomplished, what will be accomplished, and how we can be there for each other. Quality time = starting and ending the day on the same page.
A few more quick ideas for spending quality time with your spouse:
Now, go to! Let’s make sure the time we spend with our spouses isn’t just plain old ordinary time, but instead quality time - the kind of time that will nurture your marriage.
“Marriage is a mosaic you build with your spouse. Millions of tiny moments that create your love story.”
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