Isn’t it time you put that phone down and learn the art of quality time? Yes, it is time for the next love language in Dr. Gary Chapman’s “The 5 Love Languages”. Yes, it’s about time for “Quality Time”. If you thought quality time is just another way of saying “Spend time with your children” then you are only seeing one part.
It goes a lot deeper than spending time. It’s about building relationship with your friends, spouse, other family members and God. I liked how Michelle puts it on her site, Crated with Love. Quality Time is probably best called Quality Attention. When you’re done with my blog post, please read “Quality Time Explained” on Michelle & Tim’s site.
What is Quality Time? Why would it be better known as Quality Attention? Words of Affirmation or Words of Appreciation focus on the words we say. Though we all benefit from such words, the person whose love language is Words of Affirmation, the spoken words or written words carries an extra weight.
For the Quality Time person, it is the other way around. It’s your attention that is desired; not your words. As I mentioned in the previous blog post, my love language is “Quality Time” and I can definitely agree with the assessment about renaming Quality Time to Quality Attention. If your spouse or other family members have this love language then it’s best to put the dang phone down.
Here’s why I say this and I’m not just parroting what others have written. When you pay more attention to your incoming phone calls or text messages, you are sending an unwanted message. “You have no value to me!”, “You are not worth my time”, “I’m busy! I don’t have time for you!”, “I don’t care about your interests.” and so forth. I think that you get the idea.
Yes, we all desire a certain level of attention from our loved ones. For the Quality Time person, our attention is very greatly appreciated for it has a lot more significant for them. Quality Time may well sound like an easy thing to do. In reality, it is quite challenging; especially in our sophisticated tech savvy world. However, it can be done and I’d like to share with you the how.
Focused Attention means just that. Focused attention means you’re giving the person your undivided attention. Yes, you do need to put down the phone or tablet. I love my Samsung Galaxy S6 Lite tablet but it’s a poor substitute for my relationship with others. You can say the same thing for the iPhone. Your spouse or kids will thank you for it. Because you are showing that you genuinely care.
As Dr. Chapman and others have pointed out, it is all about eye contact. With today’s technology, it is tempting to dive into our favorite social media platform or answer a text message or phone call. It’s why I’ll ask you a simple question. What is more important? Is it your relationship or that fancy gadget enabling you to read this article?
Some time ago, I came across a wise piece of advice centering on family time. According to the article, the family would come to dinner and their phone and tablet would be turned off. The parents wanted to enjoy their relationship with their children. This means that they’d focus their attention on each other. For a quality time person, this is music to that person’s ears.
Here’s the next aspect of quality time. You’ll want to read this one. Quality Conversation centers on one idea. What is that idea? It’s called “active” listening or “empathic” listening. Do you know there is a difference between “passive” listening and “active” listening? Passive listening is something you do when you’re enjoying a book, a game or a movie. You are listening to anyone but what has your attention.
Active listening is closing the book and giving the human being sitting near you your full attention and actively listen. Active listening is an art form and it does take time to learn. Depending on the situation, the quality time person may not be looking for your advice. She simply wants you to just listen empathically. If you are not sure then you can always ask “What do you need from me?”
Why do I say that? It is called showing an interest in the other person. It means a lot for a person whose love language is Quality Time. When my mother was a resident at the Pines, I’d make a point to visit my mother on Thursday. She loved hotdogs and she couldn’t eat them, in a normal fashion. So, I’d take her to the cafeteria and buy a hotdog for her.
Did I like hotdogs? No, I am not into them; however, my mother enjoys them. She also enjoyed the fact that I chose to spend time with her and cut those hotdogs into small pieces. Are you getting the idea? I’m communicating my love by buying something she enjoys and giving her my time. I am not certain if my mother is a quality time person. If she is, I probably filled up her love tank to full.
Here’s the point, if you missed it. The goal is not what I like or enjoy and the quality time person needs to get in line. It’s the opposite direction. What is she interested in? How can I share it; even if I’m not interested in it. I do not mean forcing someone to enjoy something that he or she doesn’t. In this case, it means finding common ground.
If your wife loves reading certain types of books then it may be a good idea to buy it for her. You don’t have to like reading. You’re simply showing “I love you and I’m sincerely interested in you” by buying the book for her. This idea should go without saying, for everyone. Yet, it means a lot more for the quality times person.
Let’s wrap this blog post with one final point. So far, I have covered quality time in relation to other people. This blog site would not be Christianity Explained if I didn’t bring up our relationship with God, the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. How does quality time fit into this? There is more to spending quality time with God then merely reading a favorite devotional.
It’s about talking to Jesus about what is on your heart. Trust me, God is a great listener. At the same time, we need to be open to what the Holy Spirit is saying. I do love listening to the audio version my Bible and the devotional that comes with the Bible in One Year with Nicky Gumbel. Yet, it is more enjoyable because I will ask questions of my Father on what I’m reading.
Of course, it helps to actually listen to what God is saying in my heart and through the Word of God. Such is the joy of prayers and developing a relationship with Jesus. Do you know that he wants to spend time with you? It helps to be intentional in setting aside time to do this. Do not be afraid to ask for help from the Holy Spirit.
Remember, it is not the QUANTITY of time that we spend with God or anyone else. It’s the QUALITY of time that we spend that pays off. Intentionality is certainly key to doing so.