Speaking the Love Language of Quality Time

January 26, 2009

Quality time is giving someone your undivided attention. I don’t mean sitting on the couch watching television. I mean sitting on the couch with the TV off, looking at each other and talking, and giving each other your undivided attention. For some people, quality time is their primary love language, and if you don’t give them quality time, they will not feel loved. Is it possible that your spouse’s primary love language is quality time?

Listen for Clues

Quality time is a powerful emotional communicator of love. One medicine does not cure all diseases. Just as one love language does not communicate emotionally to all people. If you give your spouse affirming words; If you express love by acts of service; If you touch them affectionately; and they still complain, “You don’t ever have time for me. We used to do things together. Now you are always too busy or too tired,” they are telling you that their primary love language is quality time.

The Essence of Quality Time

A central aspect of quality time is togetherness. I do not mean proximity. Togetherness has to do with focused attention. A husband who is watching sports on television while he talks to his wife is not giving her quality time, because she does not have his full attention. A husband and wife playing tennis together, if it is genuine quality time, will focus not on the game, but on the fact that they are spending time together.

Dialects of Quality Time

Like words of affirmation, the language of quality time also has many dialects. One of the most common dialects is that of quality conversation. By quality conversation, I mean sympathetic dialogue where two people are sharing their experiences, their thoughts, their feelings, and their desires in a friendly, uninterrupted context. If your spouse’s primary love languages is quality time, such dialogue is crucial to his or her emotional sense of being loved. Sit down. Ask questions, and listen.

Tips for Keeping the Love Tank Full

I want to conclude by giving you four tips on how to have a quality conversation with your spouse:

1. Maintain eye contact when your spouse is talking.

2. Don’t listen to your spouse and do something else at the same time.

3. Listen for feelings. Ask yourself, “What emotion is my spouse experiencing?”

4. Refuse to interrupt. Such interruptions indicate, “I don’t care what you are saying; listen to me.”

Such active listening will fill the love tank of the person whose primary love language is quality time.

Excerpt taken from The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate by Gary Chapman. To find out more about Gary Chapman‘s resources, visit www.fivelovelanguages.com.

Do you value spending time with your spouse over holding hands, receiving expensive gifts, or hearing encouraging words? What has your spouse done to make you feel important and like your time together matters? Share your story with us.


  1. I think quality time is the most special love language to my heart but my husband doesn’t think so because he has yet to do it for me. I’m working really hard to do his love language (acts of service), which has been especilly hard for me, but he so far as made no effort to fill my love tank. Dr. Chapman, words aren’t getting the point across, how do I convince him that my love tank is empty and I NEED him to fill it?

  2. What do you do if your spouse's love language is (definitely) quality time; my love language is also quality time; physical touch is both of our secondary love languages as well; we're both committed to our marriage working because we have kids; but I just don't like spending time with my spouse at all? I've tried to give my spouse quality time, and I can do it for a while by really trying, but it's not enjoyable at all. So my spouse's love tank is empty and so my spouse is not happy, but to fill it would require giving quality time which I've never deeply enjoyed ever in our marriage.Please give a deep answer, in that we've/I've already done the vast majority of other things: going to therapy, improving our communication technique, trying to find fun things to do together, go out on dates frequently, read most of your books.

  3. Reading this just makes me want to cry. Quality time is my primary love language, (acts of service is my husband’s) but I haven’t had what could be even loosely termed “quality time” with him since shortly after we were married 12 years ago. Yeah, we are sexually intimate, but I was dismayed to discover that (apparently; do correct me if I’m wrong) other people actually TALK to each other when they are intimate in bed. They talk before, and after, sometimes as well. We never have. We have NO dates, no conversations aside from “what’s for dinner” and my asking “how was work”, which get a monosyllabic answer, “fine”. I have dreams ALL THE TIME, about him looking into my eyes, and smiling at me. That’s all, nothing more. Oh, those are such happy dreams… but they never last, and it never comes true. 🙁

  4. Please help me. My sposes love language is quilty time. But no matter how much I try to talk to him to show I love him he just shrugs it off. He is always saying I am too busy or tired for him. That we need to spend more time together but I am not sure what to do because he refuses to talk to me anymore. He has often told me he has had thoughts of leaving me and the children. I need help so bad are there anyother ways I can show him quailty time? I just want his love tank to be full and for him to be happy and not depressed anymore. I love him so much but for the last 3 years I have been showing him the wrong language. I need help because I know so little about his langauge….please I am begging anybody. Help me.

  5. Emily, Im very sorry to read what u wrote( You almost made ME cry. Look did u try to talk to ur husband about how much it would mean to you? Would he listen to what u say ? He should care, Emily… This is just not right. Try to ask him to give u 20 minutes of undivided attention every day. Say before u go to bed. No tv or anything on the background.

  6. My wife’s love language is Quality Time. Filling her love tank takes me way out of my comfort zone. In fact, it is safe to say that I am simply not wired to love her the way she wants at all. I am extremely anxious even making an effort to provide the love she needs. I know that sounds so selfish. I am lost on how we can have a loving marriage knowing that we find it so very difficult to speak the other’s love language. Not just difficult, but painful even trying! My wife is in the same boat with me. She finds it difficult/painful to speak my love language. We are caught in a vicious circle with no end in sight. Our efforts (most of them unsuccessful) to fill the other’s love tank leave us exhausted, and we know that we are exhausting the other! It is painful for us to know that our needs are hurting the other. I feel like I am putting such a big burden on my wife, so that I can feel loved. And vice versa. In spite of all of this we love each other with all of our hearts. We would do anything for each other!!!! However, we continue to struggle because of the difficulties we face. We are truly lost.

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