It’s probably quite obvious to you that in order to have a healthy relationship, you need to spend quality time with your partner. But what exactly is quality time? Below are some ideas on how you can incorporate meaningful, quality time into your marriage.
One of the crucial aspects of spending quality time with each other is togetherness. But being together does not have to do with just being in close proximity to one another. Togetherness is about giving your spouse your undivided attention. You may think you are spending time together by sitting on the couch watching TV. Yes, you are together in the sense that you are close by, but this is not the point. The point is to be engaged in an activity in which your partner has your full attention. It’s about the two of you, not the activity you are engaged in. For instance, if a father is playing dolls with his daughter, but he is also carrying on a phone conversation at the same time, they are not spending quality time together because his focus is split. Being together doesn’t necessarily mean you need to spend hours staring into each other’s eyes while professing your love, but it can mean going snorkeling, or playing a game of racquetball-as long as it is something both of you enjoy doing. While multitasking is a useful skill to have, it has no place in spending “together time” with a loved one.
Having a quality conversation with someone should focus on listening to your partner with a sympathetic ear. It is a time when you let your spouse share their experiences, thoughts, and feelings without offering suggestions. Many of us are trained to look at a problem in order to find the solution. Quality conversations have no solution. The point is not to solve the problem, but to be a safe, loving recipient for your partner’s words. When someone complains that their spouse does not talk, they do not mean literally. What they mean is that the other person seldom-if ever-engages in sympathetic listening. Don’t try to solve your partner’s problems-just listen to them and let them know you heard and understand their frustration. This will make a world of difference.
A quality activity is any activity in which one or both of you take an interest. The focus is not on what you are actually doing, but why you are doing it. The point is to have a mutual experience that you can walk away from thinking, “I love that we did this activity together. She doesn’t even enjoy it, but she made a sacrifice and did it for me, and she was happy to do it.” Three things to remember about engaging in a quality activity:
1) At least one of you wants to do it
2) The other is willing to do it
3) You both know why you are doing it-to express your love for each other by spending quality time together.