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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Brother to Brother: Can't We At Least Be Cordial?

“My brother and I fought like cats and dogs growing up. I’m one year older than he. I don’t know if it was a fight for superiority or something else. We’re both grown now, but we still don’t have a very close relationship. If I needed help, I wouldn’t turn to him,” Steve told me.

“Do you want to have a better relationship?” I inquired.

“I do,” he said. “We’re brothers. Shouldn’t brothers at least be cordial to each other? I’m not looking to be ‘best buddies’ or anything, but I do wish we could be closer.

“Mom and Dad are getting older, and we’re going to have to deal with taking care of them a few years down the road. With our relationship like it is, I don’t know that we could ever agree on anything. I feel like he still resents me, and I don’t know why. I never tried to lord it over him.”

I agreed with Steve that it was time for him to make an effort to improve their relationship. I talked with him about the importance of emotional love and that all of us have an emotional love tank: “When the love tank is full and we genuinely feel loved by family members, we tend to have positive, growing relationships. But when the love tank is empty and we do not feel loved by family members, barriers tend to develop between us. We tend to view each other in a negative light and can sometimes even be hostile toward each other.”

Moving in the Right Direction

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The Right Language

By nature, we tend to speak our own love language. That is, we express love to others in a language that would make us feel loved. But if it is not the primary love language of your spouse or friend, it will not mean to them what it would mean to us.

This is why thousands of couples are frustrated. Sam, a divorced single, said about the woman he is dating: “I don’t understand her. She says she feels like I don’t love her. How could she feel unloved? Every day I tell her that I love her. I also give her compliments every day. I tell her how pretty she is. I tell her what a good mother she is. How could she feel unloved?”

The problem is that her love language is acts of service, not words of affirmation. She’s thinking: If he loved me he would do something to help me. When he comes over, he watches television while I wash the dishes. He never helps me with anything. I’m sick of his words “I love you. I love you.” Words are cheap. If he really loved me, he would do something. I do everything for him; he does nothing for me. This scenario is repeated in thousands of relationships. Each person speaks his own language and does not understand why the other does not feel loved. If we want the other person to feel loved, we must discover and learn to speak his/her primary love language.
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Good Gifts are Different for Everyone

At age fifty-six, Helen unexpectedly became a single adult again. Only nine months earlier her husband had been killed in a car accident. In an attempt to get her out of the house, a friend invited her to an adult singles meeting where I was speaking.

“I didn’t really want to come to this meeting,” she later told me. “I don’t feel like a single adult. I feel like I’m still married. It’s just that my husband is no longer here. But, I’m glad I came,” she said. “I’ve never heard about love languages. I think I need to apply this in my relationship with my son.”

Helen had one son, Brett, who was now thirty-two. He had married right out of college and divorced two years later. Since then, he lived alone and only sporadically made contact with his parents. However, since the death of his dad, he came around more often, and Helen was hoping they could have a closer relationship. “I think I need to discover his love language,” Helen said. I suggested she give Brett a chance to show his love language by responding to the following statement: “Since your dad has died, we’re the only two left. You have been so helpful to me these last few months, I’d like to do something to show you how much I appreciate what you have done. What can I do?”
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Success: Love is the Key

Have you ever met a single adult who aspired to become a failure? No, everyone wants to succeed. But what is success? Ask a dozen people and you may get a dozen answers.

I once heard that when the late billionaire J. Paul Getty was asked that question, he responded, “Rise early, work late, and strike oil!” Perhaps that formula worked for Getty, but it is not likely to work for you. A friend of mine shared this definition: “Success is making the most of who you are with what you’ve got.” I like that.

Every person has the potential to make a positive impact on the world. Success is not measured by the amount of money you possess or the position you attain but rather in what you do with what you’ve got. Position and money can be squandered or abused, but they can also be used to help others.

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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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