The Importance of Quality Time
Everyone is always so busy nowadays. With everything being created how you like it, when you like it, there’s no reason to slow down.
Multi-tasking is encouraged, employees are constantly being asked to produce more work in less time, and even weekends and hours at home are being taken by work projects, phone calls, and research.
It’s no wonder so many people have forgotten what true “quality time” really means.
Quality time is now spent eating dinner together in front of the TV, reading together in bed, or going to the movies together, all of which require no communication or interaction at all between the individuals participating.
At one point in time, families ate together at the dinner table and exchanged thoughts, feelings, experiences, and trials over good food for an hour or more. Families would go to the park together, go for walks, have a picnic, or even work in the garden together.
Of course, this was before the days of iPods, iPads, Xboxes, Netflix, and DVRs. And it was before the days when kids were allowed to disappear into their iPhones during dinner time, and spend all of their spare time on Facebook.
What's your favorite way to spend quality time with a loved one?
Quality Time as a Love Language
If you’ve ever read the book The Five Love Languages, it’s written by Gary Chapman and outlines the five main ways that people express, and experience love, being giving/receiving gifts, quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service, and physical touch.
Each person has their own specific “language” that best expresses love to them. However, quality time is the one way everyone, to some degree, needs in order to know that they are loved.
By quality time, I don’t mean being in the same room together doing different things. I don’t mean going to dinner but one person being o their phone the whole time.
Quality time is truly spent when two or more people are really there, giving their undivided attention to enjoying the moments they have with the other person (people), listening, communicating, and being fully there every moment.
In this article, I want to specifically outline the benefits of quality time that are eluding so many households today, in the hopes that you will see how critical it really is for healthy relationships with friends, family, and loved ones, and for healthy marriages.
Reconnect with Each Other
Spending quality time with another person gives you the chance to reconnect with each other.
It’s so easy to drift away, stop communicating and not even be in tune with what’s going on in another’s life, even when you’re living in the same house.
I understand that life gets busy. When you’re waking up early in the morning for work and not returning until after dark, all you want to do it relax.
It’s not the time to hear about the other person’s day, and certainly not the time to hear about things going wrong. You have enough on your plate to deal with already, right?
Well, quality time is the perfect time to set aside work, to set aside your worries, and to invest back in each other, whether this is a parent, a sibling, a spouse, a child or other loved one, or even a friend.
Do something that allows you time to give each other your undivided attention. I think one of the best “quality time” moments I’ve had with my husband was getting fast food from Sonic and sitting in the parking lot in the car.
There was no radio, no phones ringing, no other people, and we were all alone. I felt like we were really listening to each other because we had no other choice. I loved it! I had him all to myself!
Use this time to catch up, hear what the other person is saying, and hear all of the bad and good things that have been happening while you were “apart.” This is a great time to reconnect.
Get on the Same Page
When you have this time alone together to reconnect, you can also pull together to answer some questions and solve some ongoing issues.
This may not happen the first time or two that you get together. You’ll want to give yourself some time to just enjoy each other’s company at first. Once you get used to regular time together alone, you might be able to start talking about some deeper topics.
In any relationship, there’s a give a take. You have other people in your life so that you don’t have to handle anything alone.
Make the time, and make the effort, to discuss some things that may have been hanging on in the background. Maybe your kid is struggling with grades in school, your best friend is in a bad relationship that he or she needs to reconsider, or the fireplace is still broken in the living room.
I’m not saying to dominate the little time you may have with problems, but do take the time to discuss them and get on the same page.
Quality time is great, but if there are unresolved issues that have not been handled, that’s what you’ll be thinking about instead of relaxing and enjoying each other’s company.
Get Stuff Off Your Chest
This is also a great time to talk to each other about your thoughts and feelings.
This could be telling your kid that you’re worried about the way he talks to you, telling your spouse that you would love to hear how much he or she cares, or even telling your best friend how you feel about him or her bailing on the last three get-togethers you’ve planned together.
It’s inevitable that at some point you will be hurt, disappointed, offended, confused, concerned, or even downright angry about something that happens when you’re in a relationship.
Have you ever heard that someone you don’t care about can’t hurt you? It’s true. If you don’t care, then you simply decide not to have that person in your life anymore.
It’s those you truly care about that make you mad, that frustrate you, and that cause you anxiety. But it’s also those same people that make you happy, excited, motivated, encouraged and inspired.
If something has been on your mind that you need the other person to know, after all, if you simply let it fester and don’t talk about it it’s just going to get worse, talk about it!
There’s no way that you can fix something you’re doing without knowing that there’s a problem in the first place. Quality time is a great time to get your feelings off of your chest.
Finding Balance in Your Relationship
What’s really great about reconnecting, getting on the same page and getting stuff off of your chest, is that it helps you to find some balance and harmony in your relationship.
Sometimes just having someone acknowledge the problem and tell you they care can really move mountains in a relationship.
If you haven’t noticed, much of spending quality time with a loved one is about communication. But it doesn’t just have to be talking about problems, talking about feelings, and updating each other about your days.
Quality time is about being together, enjoying each other’s company, and having fun together.
Quality time is about remembering why you made friends with him or her in the first place, it’s about remembering why you love your parents and how much fun it really is to be a parent, and even why you chose to spend your life with this person.
When I was younger my dad and I really struggled to have a relationship. He was all about staying busy fixing things when he was “spending time” with me. If he couldn’t fix things, or couldn’t spend any time with me, I just got a check or a gift.
All I ever wanted was for him to sit on the couch and watch TV with me, or sit down and talk to me, be interested in what I had to say. We’re still working on that today.
However, my husband and my friends have nailed it. We can go for a walk with the puppies, make dinner together, or even go to the grocery store, and just share our lives with each other. Just this simple time spent together brings us all that much closer together.
Leave Feeling Refilled and Refreshed
The best part, and the most important, about true quality time, is that when it’s over, you feel better.
You feel good about the other person, you feel like they care and understand, and you can move forward with “your cup overflowing,” as Gary Chapman would say.
Everyone, no matter who they are, needs to know that they are loved and cared for, unconditionally. I know that if I stutter, accidentally say something mean, or even make a fool out of myself, the people in my life still love me and want to be around me.
I love that they feel comfortable enough to bring their problems to me, knowing that I really do care and will give them good advice with their best interest at heart. Even better, I know that I can do the same.
I love having people in my life that want to be around me and have that “quality time” in my presence. It makes me feel loved.
Nothing says “I love you” like someone’s full, undivided attention. But this means really being there, with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby, making the one you love feel truly special and valued. (5 Love Languages)
It’s much easier than it sounds. True quality time has so many benefits in a relationship, and this is what this article was intended to convey.
There’s no rule book, no list of steps to follow, only spending time with another human being.
If you are listening to each other, you’ll hear your daughter asking you to put down the tools and sit on the couch with her, you’ll hear your husband tell you how important is it to him that you participate in his love for golf by simply riding along, you’ll hear your mom tell you that she just wants to hear that you’re happy and that you’re doing well once a week or so, and maybe your friend just needs to sit with you and share what’s going on in his or her life.
It’s really amazing the kind of healing that can come from just some simple time set aside be present.
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© 2014 Victoria Van Ness