I’m currently reading the 5 Love Languages for Men by Dr. Gary Chapman. Click here if you want to purchase the book for yourself.
Dr. Gary Chapman’s famous approach is that we all speak different love languages, and he categorizes them as:
- Words of Affirmation
- Quality Time
- Gift Giving
- Acts of Service
- Physical Touch
Today is about Quality Time. Dr Chapman writes, “Every day, every person who draws breath on this earth receives the same amount of time: 24 hours, 1,440 minutes, or 86,400 seconds, depending on which denomination you prefer.”
We all understand that there are so many pressing demands for our time and attention. It becomes very easy to neglect that quality time with your spouse. But that comes at a high cost, especially if your wife’s primary love language is quality time. How she receives love and feels valued by you is by the time you have spend focused just on her.
Dr. Chapman in his book talks about languages and dialects. Millions of people speak English, but I’m pretty sure we don’t all speak it the same way. Within each love language, Dr. Chapman identifies certain dialects.
In this chapter on quality time, he speaks of two dialects:
- Quality Conversation
- Quality Activities
Quality Conversation. What would a “quality conversation” look like? Well, you might just sit down and ask your wife what that looks like. Are you maintaining eye contact? When your wife is trying to talk to you are you doing other things (texting, fidgeting, focused on some task, ESPN)? Are you listening to understand her feelings or are you focused on “fixing it”? Did you follow up with questions to try to really understand what she said? Are you interrupting her, or do you let her finish her thought? Do you let her express her feelings freely, even if some of them might be frustrations toward you? In the end, does she feel like you really heard her out? Even better, did you open up about your feelings? Yuk! That’s hard for a lot of guys, but it is a valuable part of intimacy and quality conversation.
Quality Activities. “Make sure all your time and talk isn’t swallowed up by your to-do list,” Dr. Chapman advises. What would a “quality activity” look like? Again, ask your wife, but then again, she probably has already told you. Is there something she is really interested in? Get involved with her in it some way. It may be that she is interested in putting some gardens in outside. Go help her with it, and be fully involved with a great attitude! She may want to see a particular concert; so go get two tickets and plan an evening together. Maybe a weekend away from the house and kids is just the ticket. Or, I know for my wife Anna it may mean that I don’t think of some big fancy vacation, but look for the “little things,” like sitting on the porch swing with her with a cup of coffee and just talk.
Please get Dr. Chapman’s book if you don’t already have it. There are all kinds of valuable, practical suggestions in the book. Your marriage is worth it, men!