By now, you’re probably familiar with Gary Chapman’s five love languages. The idea is that people fall into one of five categories when it comes to how they prefer to give and receive love: Words of affirmation, physical touch, gift-giving (and receiving), acts of service, and quality time. No one love language is better or worse than any other, but each does require partners to think creatively about how to meet the unique needs required of them. For instance, you may think it’s normal to enjoy romantic dates with your partner, but those with the quality time love language will need a bit more to feel truly loved. Here’s how to best communicate with and care for someone who loves in this way.
What is the quality time love language?
Those who feel most loved and secure when spending quality time with their partner need to receive regular and undivided attention. Whereas other love languages rely on gifts, vocalized feelings, and even physical affection to feel cared for and appreciated, those who communicate via quality time simply want to be alone and close with their partners.
While it doesn’t necessarily matter what you’re doing, it should go without saying that making sure you’re not distracted is key. Scrolling through your phone next to each other on the couch certainly doesn’t count, nor does running errands or cleaning the house. When you’re spending quality time together, you should be focusing on each other.
Misconceptions about those who love this way
- A partner with this love language is needy. Just because someone’s love language is quality time doesn’t make them needy or unreasonable. Even those with different love languages will still enjoy being close and having some quiet, romantic time with the person they’re dating. Making them feel “needy” or “clingy” for wanting to be around you is reductive, cruel, and altogether wrong.
- You have to be doing something significant or meaningful for it to count as quality time. While you don’t want to count doing the laundry together as quality time, you don’t need to be going on a luxury vacation or enjoying a romantic candlelit dinner for it to count. (Of course, it’s great if you are doing those things!) The only requirements are that you give your partner your undivided attention for a period of time. It’s really rather simple.
- Quality time must be given on a daily basis. Life is hectic and there are responsibilities we have that mean we don’t get to sit back and relax with the people we love as much as we’d like. While no one would expect you to dedicate hours of quality time to your partner on a daily basis, this should be something that happens regularly enough that they can continue to feel secure and happy in the relationship even when things get busy.
How to nurture this love language in your partner
- Give them your full attention when you’re together. Can you really call it quality time if you’re not actually paying attention to the other person? What makes the experience so meaningful and fulfilling is that you’re focused on them. It may be hard to carve out time in which you can shut out the rest of the world and simply be together, but it’s worth doing to nurture your relationship and meet your partner’s needs.
- Put your phone away when you’re enjoying quality time. It shouldn’t be so hard to turn off your phone and simply enjoy being with your partner, but it is for many of us. However, when your partner’s love language is quality time, it’s vital that you’re not laughing at Twitter memes or scrolling through your Instagram feed the entire time you’re with them. Turn your phone off or leave it in another room. It’ll be there when you get back.
- Make plans and initiate them. Your partner shouldn’t have to beg you to spend quality time with them. If it feels forced, or if they feel as if you’re simply humoring them and that you hate doing it, it will lose all meaning. One way to go the extra mile and show your partner how much you care is by taking the initiative to make plans to spend quality time together. For instance, maybe you plan to go on hike this weekend since you notice the weather is going to be nice. Perhaps you make reservations for dinner at a new restaurant in town on Friday night that you know they’ve been excited about. These little thoughtful gestures show them just how much you care.
- Set regular time aside to enjoy with your partner even if things are busy or hectic. As mentioned above, this likely won’t be possible on a daily basis, and that’s fine. However, you should make a noticeable effort to find an hour or two on a regular basis to enjoy quality time with your partner. Whether it’s watching your favorite show together every Thursday night or going for a walk around the block after dinner every night, just the two of you, every little bit counts. It all adds up.
- Make the most of your time together here and now. So often in life, we forget to just live in the moment. Quality time is all about enjoying each other here and now. It’s not about rehashing the past or worrying about the future. It’s about the two of you being there with and for each other at this very moment. We never know what’s going to happen around the corner, so don’t take today for granted.