The Quality Time Love Language and Your Relationship

Person giving partner a piggyback ride on the beach

Verywell / Laura Porter

Every couple needs quality time together in order for the relationship to grow and to develop. But what happens when one partner's love language is quality time? How does that desire for time spent together impact the relationship especially when hectic lives get in the way?

Here's a closer look at how expressing the love language of quality time can not only improve your relationship, but also show your "quality time" partner that you are fluent in their love language.

What Is Quality Time?

When it comes to Gary Chapman's five love languages, quality time is the one that centers around togetherness. It's all about expressing your love and affection with your undivided attention.

When you're with your partner, you put down the cell phone, turn off the tablet, and focus on them. And, when you do that, it touches their heart in a way that really matters. They feel important, loved, and special—like you were intentional in setting aside time just for them.

Unfortunately, thanks to technology, quality time with our partners is becoming more and more scarce. Even when we are together, we are someplace else—usually in cyberspace or deep in our own thoughts. But being in close proximity to one another while doing something else does not always constitute quality time, no matter how long you sit there. And for someone whose primary love language is quality time, this lack of connectedness can leave them feeling empty and alone.

How to Give Your Partner Quality Time

When it comes to speaking your partner's love language, it's important that you do things that will make your partner feel loved and appreciated.

If your partner's primary love language is quality time, you need to not only set aside time for your partner, but also be intentional about how you are spending that time.

If you don't share the same love language as your partner, don't be surprised if these efforts seem a little unnatural at first. With time and effort though, you will be doing these things for your partner without a second thought.

The following are some of the ways you can show your quality time partner that you love them.

Make Eye Contact

When it comes to quality time, eye contact is the gateway to loving your quality time partner. In fact, maintaining eye contact tells your partner that they have your full attention, which will make them feel loved, important, and understood. It also communicates that you care about what they have to say.

But when you are distracted and scrolling through your phone while your partner talks about their day, they will feel like you just don't care about what they have to say and, by extension, that you just don't care about them.

Use Active Listening Skills

Active listening is one of the most loving things you can do for your partner, but for many people, this doesn't come naturally. Instead, most people think about their own thoughts and opinions more than they think about their partner's.

When quality time people are talking, try the following active listening skills:

  • Focus on what they are saying.
  • Lean in slightly.
  • Affirm what they are saying.
  • Ask thoughtful questions.
  • Avoid trying to offer advice, unless they ask for it.
  • Try putting yourself in their shoes or thinking about how you might feel in the same situation.

Quality time partners are more interested in feeling understood. They are looking for empathy and compassion and don't always want to have their situations fixed.

Set Limits on Technology

Nothing hurts a quality time person more than to share something they feel is really important, and then to look up and realize their partner is only half paying attention while trying to answer an e-mail from a co-worker or respond to a text.

Make it a habit to put away your phone at dinner or during a coffee break and really focus on what your partner has to say. Even though you may not discuss anything earth-shattering, you are making an important and loving gesture by choosing your partner over technology.

Focus on Quality, Not Quantity

When it comes to quality time, it's not about the amount of time you spend together but instead the quality of your interactions that count. And with so much going on in your life, carving out a few minutes for a meaningful and uninterrupted conversation can be a wonderful way to show the person you love that you care.

The key is that you take the time to enjoy one another's company, even if it is just sitting on the couch enjoying a cup of coffee before work. Remember, it's not about the quantity of time you spend together, but rather the quality.

Make a Plan

While it never hurts to be spontaneous, planning to do something together can be just as fun and exciting as a last-minute dinner or movie, especially for a quality time partner. It's often too easy for couples to get in a rut after they have been together for a while.

Instead of settling for the "same old, same old," try making plans. Taking steps to initiate quality time will mean a lot to your partner. Plus, the anticipation of spending time together will really speak love to them.

It doesn't matter what you do, just plan something different. A few suggestions:

  • Try the new restaurant in town.
  • Schedule a bike ride on a Saturday morning.
  • Plan a leisurely walk along the riverbank after work.

Remember, just because spending time together is expected when people have been together a while doesn't mean you cannot also be intentional about how you spend that time.

Develop a Routine

Look for small ways to connect with your partner on a daily basis. For instance, you could pray or meditate together every morning or read the Sunday funnies together each week. Finding a small way to regularly connect will help your quality time partner feel fulfilled and appreciated. Plus, it's something you can both look forward to doing together.

Be Present and Available

When your partner is feeling insecure or going through a tough time, you can really show you care by simply being there and spending some quality time together. Even though you won't be able to take all the discomfort away—nor should you be expected to—you will be able to demonstrate that you are present and available when they need you.

Stay in the Moment

For people whose primary love language is quality time, they never lose sight of the fact that time is limited and tomorrow is not promised. As a result, they view time together as a priceless gift that they want to give and receive in relationships. To them, life is about being in the moment more than it is about what you are doing. It's also about prioritizing the people you love over everything else.

Get Creative

Everyone has days when their to-do list is a mile long. Rather than run all your errands by yourself, invite your quality time partner to come along. Even though you are doing something mundane and boring, you can sneak in some quality time.

For instance, turn off the radio and talk to one another. Ask how your partner's life is going and what is stressing them out right now. You can turn just about any activity into a chance to sneak in some quality time if you are creative.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

At times, it can be hard to communicate love to your partner through quality time, especially if it is not your primary love language. But you will eventually get the hang of it. The key is to avoid a few of these common mistakes.

  • Don't complain about the time you spend together.
  • Resist the urge to do something else while your partner is talking.
  • Don't view your quality time partner as needy.
  • Keep your technology stowed away when you have time planned together.
  • Don't forget to ask what your partner needs in order to feel loved.

A Word From Verywell

When it comes to the love language of quality time, most people assume it means spending a lot of time together or going out a lot. If that were the case, trying to show your partner you care through quality time could get exhausting—and expensive.

But loving a partner who craves quality time actually has very little to do with the amount of time you are together. It's also not based on activities. Quality time is all about how you spend the time that you have together. No matter what you are doing, if you are attentive and focused, your partner will feel loved.

By Sherri Gordon
Sherri Gordon, CLC is a published author, certified professional life coach, and bullying prevention expert. She's also the former editor of Columbus Parent and has countless years of experience writing and researching health and social issues.