10 February 2012

How to Love | Quality Time

We wrapped up this week of love languages with a good long walk and lots of talking.

For many, the language of quality time is infused heavily with quality conversation. Good, meaningful talk and lots of it. Quality time is focus, not distracted. The other person gets your undivided attention during whatever activity you are doing together. So we walked. And talked.

We spent most of our walk talking about love languages and what we learned this week. Some things worked well, others didn't. And if there's one thing we now understand, it's that while there are times when we appreciate love in all five languages, there will be one that stands out, one that needs to be met above all the others.

"One love language does not communicate emotionally to all people. If you give your spouse affirming words; If you express love by acts of service; If you touch them affectionately; and they still complain, “You don’t ever have time for me. We used to do things together. Now you are always too busy or too tired,” they are telling you that their primary love language is quality time." --Gary Chapman in The Five Love Languages

My husband and I spent lots of time together while we were dating -- talking and doing stuff. Hiking, biking, running through the woods, jumping in cold water -- it was all about the bonding experience. We were enjoying an activity that we both had an interest in and loved even more because we were doing it together.

"The purpose is to experience something together, to walk away from it feeling 'He cares about me. He was willing to do something with me that I enjoy, and he did it with a positive attitude.' That is love, and for some people it is love's loudest voice." --Gary Chapman in The Five Love Languages

This love language can be especially difficult to speak effectively while in the stage of marriage with young kids. Undivided attention? Yeah right. Time to enjoy favorite activities together? If you're very creative. Picking fruit and riding our bikes are two things we have tried very hard to keep doing, even with small children. Some of our favorite snow activities have been put aside for the time being as we wait for our young'uns to develop thicker skin and bigger muscles.

All of the love languages require time, thought, effort, and intention...quality time maybe even more so. Love languages that don't come easily...take even more energy to speak. But I believe your marriage will be infinitely stronger for it. Each member of the family will be that much more effective in their lives, that much more secure in your love, and that much better at loving everyone around them. When something is hard, it usually has an even greater payoff.

Quality time. Make time.