Quality time is sensual time. It can't be achieved in front of the TV, watching something together. Shut off the idiot box and talk with one another. Go out to a restaurant and watch the other people, guessing which ones are married and which are single. It's can be fun to get a conversation going with your partner about mankind's foibles and indiosyncracies, viewed through the lens of a restaurant. It can can make you feel closer together, as you identify what you like about each other. It can also bring out what you don't like about each other, but we'll work on that another day.

Love language number two, according to Dr. Chapman, is quality time. Just like "one medicine cannot cure all diseases," he analogizes, "what makes one person feel loved emotionally is not always the thing that makes another person feel loved emotionally."

Think about your youth. What events meant the most to you? Who was with you and what were they doing to help you enjoy life? Was it being together, thinking and talking together, as you pursued hobbies or sports? Was it going to a play or concert, being alone and together with your partner, sharing time spent well together? Quality time doesn't mean you have to sit gazing into each other's eyes, it means doing something together and giving your full attention to your partner. Look at the activity as the root from which the flower comes.

To help you discover whether your love language, or that of your partner, is quality time, Dr. Chapman suggests taking a writing pad and making two lists - on one side, a list of the positive things about your partner, on the other side, a list of the things you know your partner would like you to do with him or her. Then, he suggests, commit to doing one of those things a week for two months. Doing so needn't "diminish your vocational goals," either. It's just that you'd like to be together when you "get to the top," he says.

Spend that time on focused attention. That's what togetherness is all about.

Quality conversation is the most common "dialect" of quality time, according to Dr. Chapman. A "sharing of experiences, thoughts, feelings and desires in a friendly, uninterrupted context," he says, creates "sympathetic dialogue." Empathy certainly has something to do with it, too. Most people, he says who complain that their partner never says anything actually mean they seldom participate in meaningful dialogue. If your primary love language, or your partner's, is quality time, such dialogue is crucial to emotional well-being.

Many of us, though, look at meaningful dialogue from the wrong perspective, and try to tell our partners what to do, when all they want is a shoulder to cry one. "We forget that marriage is a relationship, not a project to be completed or a problem to solve," he says. When our partner wants us to focus on them by listening to their pain or frustration, they want us to listen, not formulate a solution and take over the speaking.

I have to agree with Dr. Chapman, when he says that most of us have little training in listening. There's been a lot written about the art of listening, and they all seem to offer similar practical tips, like:

maintaining eye contact when your partner is talking, showing him or her that you're paying attention;
not doing something else at the same time you're supposed to be listening - undivided attention, please;
listen for the feelings behind the words, for the emotions your partner is feeling and expressing;
watch the body language;
refuse to interrupt (did you know that recent research tells us we pay attention for only seventeen seconds before interrupting and interjecting our own ideas?)

We have to learn to talk, too. Quality conversation, as Dr. Chapman puts it, "requires not only sympathetic listening but also self-revelation." Have you ever thought, "I wish she'd talk" or "I never know what he's thinking"? If your partner's primary love language is quality time and their dialect is quality conversation, you must learn to reveal yourself. Self-revelation is not fun for the many people who were scolded as children for expressing their thoughts and feelings. Such condemnation of our feelings, when we're young, destroys one of our basic desires. We can live for so long in anger, hurt and disappointment that we can't acknowledge our feelings.

If we need to learn the language of quality conversation, there's a pretty simple way, according to Dr. Chapman, who recommends that we carry a small note pad and write in it, three times each day, what emotions you've felt in the last three hours and what events caused us to feel them. Do it three times a day, he says, and share the events briefly with your partner, as many days as possible. Remember, he warns, "emotions themselves are neither good nor bad. They are simply our psychological responses to the events of life." Emotional awareness is what your partner wants from you, if their primary love language is quality time.

Our ability to participate in quality conversation is also affected by our personality, which is something we are influenced by, not controlled by. We may not be out of touch with our emotions, we may be perfectly content not to talk, but just act like a sponge, absorbing many experiences, emotions, and thoughts throughout the day and then responded perfectly honestly to the question from our partner, "What's wrong? Why aren't you talking tonight?" with "Nothing. What makes you think something's wrong?" Some of us are perfectly happy driving hundreds of miles without saying something.

Or, maybe, everything we see and hear is something we have to talk about, seldom leaving sixty seconds between the two.

We've all heard about the daily minimum requirement of vitamins and minerals our bodies need to be healthy. What's your daily minimum requirement for quality time? Too many people don't think about that. If you each were willing to talk to each other about three things that happened to you, and the emotions you experienced at the time, in an intelligent manner, your daily minimum requirement would be met.

Quality activities are also a dialect of quality time, claims the author of The Five Love Languages. A typical response to the question of "When do you feel most loved by your partner is, "When we do things together - things I like to do and things s/he like to do. It kinda feels like dating." It show you care. One of the by-products of quality activities, says Dr. Chapman, is "they provide a memory bank from which to draw in the years ahead." Ah, such memories! And the sky's the limit, when you think of them. They could be gardening (my favourite), listening to music (my second favourite), writing and reading (my passions), sex, taking long walks, shopping for collectibles, you name it. The essential ingredients are only that at least one of you wants to do it, the other is willing to do it, and both of you know why you're doing it - to express that you love each other by being together.

So, how do you make time for all that bliss? Simply by admitting that those activities are as important to you as lunch or dinner. Is it tough, and does it need planning? Perhaps, perhaps not, depending on how important each of you is to the other. Does it mean sacrifice? Possibly, possibly not, depending on how you look at the word "sacrifice". To me, it means a sacred edifice. And sacred edifices need a solid foundation and proper maintenance. They are, after all, not as replaceable as a roof.

Now, on to the third love language. Do you remember the first? If not, why not click on http://www.accept.ca/homebiznews/Archives/051302.html and review? It couldn't help but help.

Next week, It's all about your love language - Part 4: Receiving gifts - moves to our Advice column, and our Feature will henceforth be concerned with small business issues.

Author's Bio: 

he Publisher of HomeBizNews, Lorne Peasland, is a former advertising agency owner and national media consultant, the founder and past-president of the Canadian Home & Micro Business Federation, and author of "Influencing Public Opinion - A Communications Primer For Political Candidates, Community Activists, and Special Interest Group Spokespeople" (ISBN 0-9697364-0-1). He is a home-based marketing consultant, writer and speaker, and can be contacted through either of his web pages at http://www.accept.ca/homebiznews/lorne.html or
http://www.accept.ca/homebiznews/pms2.html, via e-mail at
lorne@pacificcoast.net., or by phone at 250-708-0250.