5 Love Languages Study Continued

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Good morning friends. Its Marriage Monday! Hope your weekend went well. Join me every Monday for ways to build a strong marriage through God.

Love Language #2: Quality Time

By “quality time” it is giving someone your undivided attention. It doesn’t mean sitting on the couch watching television together. When you spend time that way, ABC or NBC has your attention-not your spouse. Spending quality time together is sitting on the couch with the TV off, looking at each other and talking, giving each other your undivided attention. It means taking a walk, just the two of you, or going out to eat and looking at each other and talking. Have you ever noticed in a restaurant, you can almost always tell the differences between a dating couple and a married couple? Dating couples look at each other and talk. Married couples sit there and gaze around the restaurant. You’d think they were there to eat!

Undivided Attention: Give 20 minutes a day to your spouse. It is a powerful emotional communicator of love. What makes one person feel loved emotionally is not always the thing that makes another person feel loved emotionally.

Focused Attention:
It isn’t enough to just be in the same room with someone. A key ingredient in giving your spouse quality time is giving them focused attention, especially in this era of many distractions. When a father is sitting on the floor, rolling a ball to his two-year-old, his attention is not focused on the ball but on his child. For that brief moment, however long it lasts, they are together. If, however, the father is talking on the phone while he rolls the ball, his attention is diluted. Some husbands and wives think they are spending time together when in reality, they are only living in close proximity. They are in the same house at the same time, but they are not together. A wife who is texting while her husband tries to talk to her is not giving him quality time, because he does not have her full attention.

Quality time does not mean that we have to spend our together moments gazing into each other’s eyes. It means that we are doing something together that we are giving our full attention to the other person. The activity in which we are both engaged is incidental. The important thing emotionally is that we are spending focused time with each other. The activity is a vehicle that creates the sense of togetherness.

Quality Conversation:
Like words of affirmation, the language of quality time also has many dialects. One of the most common dialects is that of quality conversation. Quality Conversation is sympathetic dialogue where two individuals are sharing their experiences, thoughts, feelings, and desires in a friendly, uninterrupted context. Most individuals who complain that their spouse does not talk do not mean literally that he or she never says a word. They mean that he or she seldom takes part in sympathetic dialogue. If your spouse’s primary love language is quality time, such dialogue is crucial to his or her emotional sense of being loved.

Quality conversation is quite different from the first love language. Words of affirmation focus on what we are saying, whereas quality conversation focuses on what we are hearing. We are trained to analyze problems and create solutions. We forget that marriage is a relationship, not a project to be completed or a problem to solve. A relationship calls for sympathetic listening with a view to understanding the other person’s thoughts, feelings, and desires. We must be willing to give advice but only when it is requested and never is condescending manner. Most of us have little training in listening. We are far more efficient in thinking and speaking. Learning to listen may be as difficult as learning a foreign language, but learn we must, if we want to communicate love. That is especially true if your spouse’s primary love language is quality time and his or her dialect is quality conversation.

Here are some practical tips:
1. Maintain eye contact when your spouse is talking. That keeps your mind from wandering and communicates that he/she has your full attention.

2. Don’t listen to your spouse and so something else at the same time. Remember, quality time is giving someone your undivided attention. If you are doing something you cannot turn from immediately, tell your spouse the truth. A positive approach might be, “I know you are trying to talk to me and I’m interested, but if you will give me ten minutes to finish this, I’ll sit down and listen to you.” Most spouses will respect such a request.

3. Listen for feelings. Ask yourself, “What emotion is my spouse experiencing?” When you think you have the answer, confirm it. For example, “It sounds to me like you are feeling disappointed because I forgot __________________.” That gives him the chance to clarify his feelings. It also communicates that you are listening intently to what he is saying.

4. Observe body language. Clenched fists, trembling hands, tears, furrowed brows, and eye movement may give you clues as to what the other is feeling. Sometimes body language speaks one message while words speak another. Ask for clarification to make sure you know what she is really thinking and feeling.

5. Refuse to interrupt. Recent research has indicated that the average individual listens for only seventeen seconds before interrupting and interjecting his own ideas. If I give you my undivided attention while you are talking, I will refrain from defending myself or hurling accusations at you or dogmatically stating my position. My goal is to discover your thoughts and feelings. My objective is not to defend myself or to set you straight. It is to understand you.

Learning to Talk:
Quality conversation requires not only sympathetic listening but also self-revelation. When a wife says, “I wish my husband would talk. I never know what her’s thinking or feeling,” she is pleading for intimacy. She wants to feel close to her husband, but how can she feel close to someone whom she doesn’t know? In order for her to feel loved, he must learn to reveal himself. If her primary love language is quality time and her dialect is quality conversation, her emotional love tank will never be filled until he tells her his thoughts and feelings.

Self-revelation does not come easy for some of us. By the time we reach adulthood, many of us have learned to deny our feelings. We are no longer in touch with our emotional selves. To get in touch with your “Feeling” side carry a small notepad and keep it with your daily. Three times a day, ask yourself, “What emotion have I felt in the last three hours? What did I feel on the way to work when the driver behind me was riding my bumper? What did I feel when I stopped at the gas station and the automatic pump did not shut off and the side of the car was covered in gas? What did I feel when I got to the office and found that the project I was working on had to be completed in three days when I thought I had another two weeks?” Writing these feelings down will make us more aware of our emotional nature.

Dead Seas and Babbling Brooks:
Not all of us are out of touch with our emotions, but when it comes to talking, all of us are affected by our personality. There are two basic personality types. The first we will call the “Dead Sea”. In the little nation of Israel, the Sea of Galilee flows south by way of the Jordan River into the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea goes nowhere. IT receives but it does not give. This personality type receives many experiences, emotions, and thoughts throughout the day. They have a large reservoir where they store that information, and they are perfectly happy not to talk. If you say to a Dead Sea personality, “What’s wrong? Why aren’t you talking tonight?” he will probably answer, “Nothing’s wrong. What makes you think something’s wrong?” And that response is perfectly honest. He is content not to talk. He could drive from Chicago to Detroit and never say a word and be perfectly happy.
On the other extreme is the “Babbling Brook. For this personality, whatever enters into the eye gate or ear gate comes out the mouth gate and there are seldom sixty seconds between the two. Whatever they see, whatever they hear, they tell. In fact, if no one is at home to talk to, they will call someone else. Many times a Dead Sea marries a Babbling Brook. That happens because when they are dating, it is a very attractive match.

One way to learn new patterns is to establish a daily sharing time in which each of you will talk about three things that happened to you that day and how you feel about them. This is called the “Minimum Daily Requirement” for a healthy marriage. If you will start with the daily minimum, in a few weeks or months you will find quality conversation flowing more freely between you.

Quality Activities:
In addition to the basic love language of quality time, or giving your spouse your undivided attention, there is another dialect called quality activities. Complete the following sentence: “I feel most loved by my husband/wife when _______________.” Quality activities may include anything in which one or both of you have interest. The emphasis is not on what you are doing but on why you are doing it. The purpose is to experience something together, to walk away from it feeling, “He cares about me. He was willing to do something with me that I enjoy, and he did it with a positive attitude.” That is love, and for some people it is love’s loudest voice.

Quality activities may include such things as putting in a garden, visiting historic neighborhoods, shopping for antiques, going to a concert, taking long walks, or having another couple over for homemade soup and bread. The activities are limited only by your interest and willingness to try new experiences. The essential ingredients in a quality activity are: (1) at least one of you want to do it, (2) the other is willing to do it, and (3) both of you know why you are doing it-to express love by being together.

One of the by-products of quality activities is that they provide a memory bank from which to draw in the years ahead. Fortunate is the couple who remembers an early morning stroll along the coast, the spring they planted the flower garden, the time they got poison ivy chasing the rabbit through the woods, the night the attended their first major league baseball game together, the one and only time they went skiing and he broke his leg, the amusement parks, the concerts, the cathedrals, the oh yes, the awe of standing beneath the waterfall after the two-mile hike. They can almost feel the mist as they remember. Those are the memories of love, especially for the person whose primary love language is quality time. .

And where do we find time for such activities, especially if both of us have vocation outside the home? We make time just as we make time for lunch or dinner. Why? Because it is just as essential to our marriage as meals are to our health. Is it difficult? Does it take careful planning? Yes. Does it mean we have to give up some individual activities? Perhaps. Does it mean we do some things we don’t particularly enjoy? Certainly. Is that worth it? Without a doubt. What’s in it for me? The pleasure of living with a spouse who feels loved and knowing that I have learned to speak his or her language fluently.

YOUR TURN

What in your marriage detracts from spending quality time?

Serving with Joy,
Sonya

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About Sonya

I am a sinner saved by grace trying to move through this broken world as a wife, mom and homeschooler. I have 3 gorgeous sons {24, 17 & 11} and a wonderful husband of 13 years, that have my heart! I don't have all the answers however sharing my life with you in hopes that it will drawer you closer to Him. I pray that when you leave here you walk away knowing Him better.

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