A Dialect of Quality Time: Quality Activities

The basic love language of quality time has many dialects including: quality activities. At a recent singles event I asked those present to complete the following sentence: “I feel most loved and appreciated by _________ when __________.” They could insert the name of anyone: parent, roommate, coworker, or friend.

One twenty-seven-year-old male inserted the name of his girlfriend and completed the sentence as follows: “I feel most loved by Megan when she and I do things together—things I like to do and things she likes to do. We talk more when we’re doing things. I had never ridden a horse until I met her, and she had never been sailing. I’ve always enjoyed doing things with other people. It’s so neat to be dating someone who is open to trying new things together.”

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A Hardworking Man Who Didn't "Get It"

Sylvia’s primary love language was quality time. Before marriage, Mark spoke her love language fluently. On their dates, he gave her his undivided attention. She felt genuinely loved by him even after the in-love obsession faded. However, after the wedding, she discovered that living with Mark was far different from dating Mark. He was a superactive person, and there were always “things to be done.” There were lawns to be mowed, shrubbery to be trimmed, leaves to be blown, cars to be washed, walls to be painted, carpet to be replaced. There was always a project.

“He is a hardworking man,” said Sylvia. “The problem is that he never has any time for me. It’s not that I don’t appreciate what he does. I do, but what good is it if we don’t have time for each other?”
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Quality Time?

Two people sitting in the same room are certainly in close proximity, but they are not necessarily together. Togetherness has to do with focused attention. It is giving someone your undivided attention. As humans, we have a fundamental desire to connect with others. We may be in the presence of people all day long, but we do not always feel connected.

Physician Albert Schweitzer said, “We are all so much together, but we are all dying of loneliness.” Professor Leo Buscaglia notes, “There seems to be accumulating evidence that there is actually an inborn need for this togetherness, this human interaction, this love. It seems that without these close ties with other human beings, a newborn infant, for example, can regress developmentally, lose consciousness, fall into idiocy and die.”

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What's Your Love Language?

If you don’t already know your love language- don’t be alarmed. You’re not alone. Within the singleton world there are two types of singles who typically struggle to discover their primary love language. The first consists of singles who have always felt loved and who received all five love languages from their parents. They speak all five rather fluently, but they’re not sure which one speaks most deeply to them. The other category is composed of singles who have never felt loved. They grew up in very dysfunctional families and were never secure in the love of parents or other significant adults in their lives. They don’t know which language would make them feel loved because they are not really sure what it means to feel loved.

1. Observe Your Own Behavior
So how do you discover your primary love language? Probably it would be best to start with you. How do you most typically express love and appreciation to other people? If you regularly hear yourself encouraging other people by giving words of affirmation, then perhaps that is your primary love language. You are doing for others what you wish they would do for you. If you are a back-patter, hand-shaker, or arm-toucher, then perhaps your love language is physical touch. If you are constantly giving gifts to others on special occasions and for no occasion at all, then gifts may be your primary love language. If you are the initiator in setting up lunch appointments or inviting people over to your house for the evening, then quality time may be your love language. If you are the kind of person who doesn’t wait until someone asks but observes what needs to be done and pitches in and does it, then acts of service is likely your primary love language.

Please notice that I am using the words perhaps, may be, and likely. The reason I am being tentative is because my research has indicated that about 25 percent of adults typically speak one love language but wish to receive another language. On the other hand, for about 75 percent of us, the language we speak most often is the language we desire. We love others in the manner in which we would like to be loved.

2. Observe What You Request of Others
If you regularly ask friends to help you with projects, then acts of service may be your love language. If you find yourself saying to friends who are going on a trip, “Be sure and bring me something,” then your love language is probably receiving gifts. If you ask a close friend to give you a back rub, or you express rather freely, “Could you give me a hug?” then physical touch is likely your primary love language. If you are regularly asking friends to go shopping with you, to take a trip together, or to come over to your house for dinner, you are asking for quality time. If you hear yourself asking, “Does this look OK? Did I do the report the way you wanted it? Do you think I did the right thing?” you are asking for words of affirmation.

Our requests tend to indicate our emotional needs. Therefore, observing what you request of others may clearly reveal your primary love language.

3. Listen to Your Complaints
The things about which you complain (whether expressed verbally or only in your head) can be very telling in figuring out your primary love language.

Brad was about six months into his first job after college when I asked him, “How are things going?”

“OK, I guess. It seems like nobody really appreciates what I do and that what I do is never enough.”

Knowing that he was familiar with the five love languages, I said, “Your primary love language is words of affirmation, right?”

He nodded his head while he said, “Yes, and I guess that’s why I’m not really all that happy with my job.” Brad’s complaint clearly revealed his primary love language.

If you complain that your friends no longer have time for you, your love language is likely quality time. If you complain that only one friend gave you a birthday present, your language is likely gifts. If you complain about not having a good hug in the last two months, physical touch is probably your language. If your complaint is that no one ever helps you and they expect you to do everything, then acts of service is probably your love language.

Our complaints reveal our deep emotional hurts. The opposite of what hurts you most is probably your love language. If you received love in that language, the hurt would go away and you would feel appreciated.

4. Ask the Right Questions
If you are currently in a dating relationship, you’ve got a great opportunity to discover your primary love language. Ask and answer the following questions: “What do I like most about the person I’m dating? What does he or she do or say that makes me desire to be with him/her?” Your answers will be very enlightening.

Another approach would be to ask yourself: “What would be an ideal spouse to me? If I could have the perfect mate, what would she/he be like?” Your picture of a perfect mate should give you some idea of your primary love language.

If you are not currently in a romantic relationship, you may ask: “What do I want most in a friendship?” Complete the following sentence: “An ideal friend would ________.” Your answer will probably reveal your primary love language.

5. The Love Language Profile
The final step in discovering (or confirming) your love language is taking The Love Language Profile. The profile is located within The Five Language: Single Edition book.  And don’t forget to check out the study guide too- it will help you develop your love language.

What about your relationships?
Do you know your family members primary love languages? What about your two closest friends? If not, answer the following questions:

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