Many children spell ‘love’ T-I-M-E and so do quality time speakers. This language bodes well for long-distance couples because they are forced to talk in order to spend time together when they are apart. When I think back to my teenage years, some of my fondest memories include talking on the phone for hours.
Though I have waffled back and forth between physical touch and quality time, I am convinced my need for quality time is a few inches higher than my need for touch (though I love both of them!). When I consider my life, threads of quality time stand out and shine brightly. I loved spending time with my grandma. Why? She enjoyed hanging out with me, talking to me, and watching TV with me. She also thought everything I said was hilarious (that might have been part of it!). I also spent hours across the street at my mentor’s (Miss Betty) house, reveling in her undivided attention.
As a teenager and young adult, the relationships I prioritized were the ones which consisted of much conversation and time. If I want to spend time with you, I love you. Period. ~smile~ And, I have to remember that just because I spell love T-I-M-E does not mean everyone does. It is possible for someone to love me and not seek to constantly spend time with me!
If you honey is a quality time person like me, consider employing these tips to accelerate your emotional intimacy!
- Turn off your technology and talk. Did you see the picture floating around of someone sitting across from a brick wall at a diner? If so, that aptly portrays the frustration of people – especially time people – who want to emotionally, or at least intellectually, bond with their friends and sweethearts. Quality time people want to connect with their eyes and voices. Even if you can watch your phone while carrying on a conversation, a quality time person will still feel a disconnection between you. If you need to check something on your phone, check it and then put it away. Your game can wait. Facebook will not change that much in the course of an hour. Nourish your relationship through eye contact and uninterrupted conversation.
- Plan dates that maximize personal interaction and conversation. Movies are great. I love them! However, couples need to talk. Even couples who do not value quality time need to communicate; and, quality time people need consistent attention to feel loved and to operate at their best. When I know I have quality time planned with friends throughout the week, I work better than on those weeks when I have nothing to look forward to. Instead of a noisy restaurant with a band, maybe you could choose a quiet restaurant that makes dialoguing pleasant? Try planning a day of museum visits or enjoying a hobby together.
- Take notes on what your special someone requests often and use those notes to help you show your sweetie love several times a week. Not all quality time people are the same. I love watching TV with Eric, but some people do not consider screen time to be quality time. It only matters what your boyfriend or girlfriend considers quality time. When my love tank is low, I will sometimes get in Eric’s face while he is playing games on his iPad and smile a goofy smile. He knows that means the lady wants attention. At times I resented his iPad because I considered it a barrier between us – and he heard about it often! ~smile~ What complaints do you often hear from your quality time person? What does he or she frequently request?
- Focus on eye-contact. Regardless of how busy you are or how desperately you want to look at your phone, dedicate a certain amount of time to eye-to-eye conversation. It is annoying and sometimes painful for a quality time person to pour out his or her heart to someone who is constantly looking down. Eye contact spells interest, and it makes people believe you care about what they are saying.
- Ask questions. Produce quality conversation so your sweetie does not always have to initiate it. Be keenly aware of what is going on in his or her day-to-day life and ask about how each task is going.
- In addition to showing eye-contact, smile and emotionally interact. We appreciate eye-contact, but it does not hit our love button as hard if it comes in the form of a cold stare. A ‘this conversation is killing me on the inside’ forced gaze is counterproductive. It makes us feel unloved, uncared for, and uninteresting. Smiling at us while we talk, commenting on our thoughts, and laughing with us screams, “I love you and I love being with you!”
- Before marriage, add a quality time element to each date. After marriage, infuse each evening with quality time – even if just fifteen minutes. Not every date will include a quality time theme. Occasionally, you will sit in the dark and watch a movie or play. Sometimes, you will be with other couples or cheering your favorite team at a sporting event. During those dates, even if just for a few minutes before the date ends, turn to your significant other and focus only on him or her. Be intentional about pouring a few drops of emotional fuel into his or her love tank each time you are together.
Quality time can be hard to come by when life gets crazy. When it seems impossible to spend a minute alone together, that is when you know some changes need to be made and quickly. If you are a few months away from graduation or a career change and you know relief is coming soon, hold on until the end and look forward to what is coming; but, if there is no end in sight, take note of your priorities and see where something can give. Is it time for a less insane job? Should you consider taking fewer classes each semester? Pull back on some charity projects?
Everyone’s life will have exhausting seasons, but if those seasons stick around indefinitely, carve a path through the chaos to fulfill your sweetheart’s need for your time and attention. Without it, he or she is sure to feel emotionally dry, tired, and disconnected. The annoyances vying for your time will pass, but your relationship will remain… should you choose to nurture it. Find time to spend with your Father, God. Then, find time to spend together. Everything else comes after.
How can you step up your efforts to provide your special someone with more of your time and attention?