The age-old adage “absence makes the heart grow fonder” falls incredibly flat within the quality time love language.
In fact, I imagine those who use quality time to communicate love find that phrase an embarrassing copout. The quality time love language – one of Gary Chapman's five love languages – is ultimately about spending uninterrupted and distraction-free time together.
It’s friendship in its purest form, complete with a mindful presence.
Quality time means being there with someone else with no pretense, just you. Quality time means showing your true face during a round of cards or being willing to show up as less-than-perfect in the kitchen. Quality time, when done right, can mean actual emotional vulnerability that crosses bridges and deeply binds two people together.
Where you can give a gift without meaning, share a touch without thought, or spout well-rehearsed niceties, quality time has the potential to drill through defenses and reveal the core of your counterpart - or you!
Quality Time Basics
Spending quality time with someone can look wildly different from person to person while keeping with the same main idea. Some people love hikes and outdoor travels, others prefer road trips to random destinations, while still others enjoy the simplicity of cooking together in the kitchen.
The important aspect of this love language is sharing an experience, side-by-side.
No predetermined words or actions needed.
Show up whole-heartedly and authentically in your time with someone who prefers the quality time love language. Consistently doing so builds up a bank of positive experiences which naturally grows a relationship.
While simply showing up sounds super easy, it takes a lot of bravery and mindfulness to be 100% present and completely genuine. The people I know who prefer quality time as their love language make it a point to be honest in their conversations, even if it’s difficult.
They also value engagement. I know a person who does things like place their phone in their empty shoes when entering someone else’s home or feels pretty perturbed when their spouse looks at IMDB during a movie… totally not talking from personal experience or anything.
Ways to Use Quality Time in Your Relationship
Whether quality time is your official love language or lower on the list, spending quality time is a fantastic way to improve your relationship.
Pay attention to what your counterpart talks about and enjoys. If your coworker mentions they love a certain band, look up that band. Bonus points if you can rock out to their favorite song! Don’t like their music? Focus instead on appreciating it as a way to know them better. They’ll be grateful to be seen as they are rather than ragged on for their musical taste.
Surprising to me was just how much the quality-time-preferring-people in my life love to go to the movies! I would rather do something else on a date – go dancing, take a walk, anything where we can talk since my primary love language is words of affirmation. However, going to the movie theater is a fantastic date for someone who loves quality time. You get to experience a new story, a character’s transformation, literally side-by-side.
Another fabulous use of quality time involves playing games together! Whether your games need technology to run or only a few playing cards, spending your quality time in this way encourages problem-solving and team-building.
The Insider Scoop
My husband’s love language is quality time. And his favorite memories of us together involve playing video games. Once he got super sick and I may or may not have also called in “sick” (terrible, I know!) and played a video game with him. Now, this was pre-kids, so we played all the live-long day. On another occasion, while he fretfully waited for some heavy news, we played through the same short game multiple times while guzzling pizza and ice cream.
My motivation in both of these circumstances was to simply help distract him from less-than-ideal circumstances. And those times ended up being his favorite memories because all that mattered to him was that we were both completely immersed in the same activity.
Improvement through Quality Time
My favorite quality time story comes from Transylvania in the 15th century. For a 300 year period of time, any couple contemplating divorce was forced to spend 6 weeks together in a small room.
And while that sounds horrifying, after the stay they could make and follow through on whatever decision they wished. And in 300 years of this practice, only one couple followed through with their divorce.
When we’re fully present with someone else, we’re not thinking about ourselves. Selfish impulses and anxious perceptions melt away as we mutually lose ourselves in the same side-by-side activity.
This mindfulness erases internal barriers and allows deep bonds to form - or be rediscovered.
My grandfather used to recommend one night of quality time every week for a healthy relationship. Even if you can’t afford to go enjoy a new adventure, sit on the couch and talk, read, somehow engage with one another.
Long Distance Quality Time
Then… what happens when you and your bestie are separated by distance?
Long-distance relationships are incredibly difficult, but I think it’s the hardest on those who prefer the quality time or physical touch love languages.
But not all is lost!
Video chatting isn’t your only option.
You can simultaneously read a book, or listen to an audiobook chapter by chapter, discussing it as you go.
Send a journal back and forth, like passing notes. Sure, texting is faster, but this way you’re building on the same pages. It’s a literal interpretation of engagement in the same space. Add to each other’s drawings, finish the other person’s story, reference back to that joke on page 3. Build a physical bank of experiences with a traveling notebook.
There are also products for quality time people! There are night lights that come in twos and light up when the counterpart is touched. It’s pretty small as far as quality time goes, but if you are creative and dedicated, there are certainly ways to employ the quality time love language while loving long-distance.
Alright quality time people, what is the best part about the quality time love language? Share your experience in the comments below.