Couples Therapy and The 5 Love Languages: Quality Time
If you were able to read last week’s blog, I tried to give a good high level overview of Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages. I received a number of questions and comments about the best ways to approach each of the different Love Languages, so I thought I’d take time to address each one of them in its own individual blog post.
This week, I’m talking about about Quality Time. In future weeks, I’ll be digging into the other four, so you’ll want to make sure you check back for each installment. I also highly recommend taking the online Love Languages Quiz to see which Love Languages work best for you to give and receive love.
So, let’s talk about Quality Time.
What does Quality Time actually mean? When couples show up in my office for couples therapy, I find that so many of them have gotten into a rut of how they actually spend their time together. The world we live in seems to move at such a fast pace, and many of us spend more time at work or engaged in activities outside the home than we actually spend at home. This makes the concept of Quality Time so very important to the health of relationships.
I mean, let’s be honest, even when we are at home, there are so many distractions that often keep us busy. From kids to phones to pets to social media to Netflix, there are no shortages of things to spend our time doing, but is this the healthiest way to spend our time? Think about your current relationship. If most evenings consist of sitting on the couch in front of the television with your phone in hand, how much time are you spending actually connecting to your significant other? Just because we are spending a quantity of time together, doesn’t mean we are spending quality time. The process of actually engaging in quality time is an active process that takes effort and shared engagement.
What would it be like to put the phones down? I’m not asking you to completely disconnect from the world forever, but this would definitely allow for more quality time. It’s also really good for the cognition to step away from technology every once in a while, but I realize I’m digressing a bit… Stepping away from technology will definitely be a topic for a future blog.
Okay, back to The 5 Love Languages and Quality Time.
Would it surprise you to know that one of the easiest ways to institute the practice of quality time into your relationship only takes 15 minutes? I’m serious. Just 15 minutes a day of intentional time spent actively engaged with your partner can have huge lasting effects on the connection. Here’s what you do…
First, I want you to compare schedules and determine when you’re both at home each day at the same time. Then, I want you to schedule a daily 15 minute period of time where you can sit down and just connect. Yes, I actually want you to put it on your calendar or at the very least, write a reminder on a sticky note on the fridge where you’ll both see it. Why is it important to schedule it like an appointment? Well, we are much more likely to do things if our brains have reminders. Research has shown that when we put things on our calendars, our brains treat the items as requirements, and we are much more likely to actually do the things that make it to the calendar.
Ok, so you have the time blocked out on the calendar, and you’re sitting down to connect. Great! Now, I want you to engage in conversation. The goal is to steer clear of talking about problems and issues and to just focus on getting to know each other better or to reconnect. If it’s been a while since you’ve had meaningful conversations, it may seem a bit odd at first. It will get easier, and you may find you want to spend more than just 15 minutes a day! If you’re really struggling to find things to talk about, I recommend using a tool like the Ungame to help get the conversation going. The most important thing is to be consistent with this activity of reconnecting.
Maybe the idea of just sitting and talking sounds daunting or maybe it sounds a bit boring. Please don’t feel like this is the only way to spend Quality Time. The weather is starting to get nicer outside again as Spring begins. I often suggest to my couples in couples therapy to go for an evening walk through the neighborhood. This has the added benefit of being healthy for both people as well as allowing couples to feel connected because it’s a shared activity and the focus is still on spending time together.
The idea of The 5 Love Languages is to find ways to focus your attention and your time on each other. The more Quality Time you spend, the more your relationship will benefit. I’m always happy to help couples figure out the best way to implement The 5 Love Languages into their relationships. If you’re interested in setting up an appointment for couples therapy or marriage counseling, you can call my office directly at 314-485-9189 or feel free to send me a message through my contact us page. My direct email address is email@example.com and you can also follow me on Facebook and Instagram for more relationship tips!