What is quality time in a relationship? How do you spend quality time with someone? Why is quality time important in a relationship? And ultimately – how do you find more time for quality time in a relationship, when you feel like you have barely have enough time as it is?!
Well, deep breaths, my friends. Deep breaths. Because there are solutions. So let’s break it all down, starting from the top…
What Is Quality Time in a Relationship?
Before we look at how to find more time for quality time in a relationship, let’s take a back step to first get clear on what quality time is in a relationship – not only by definitition, but how that actually looks.
See, by definition, quality time as a whole, is….
“time in which a loved one receives one’s undivided attention, in such a way as to strengthen the relationship.”
The idea of the importance and focus of quality time in a relationship was first developed by Gary Chapman and his five love languages. Here, quality time is defined as “the love language that centres around togetherness”.
It’s all about expressing your love and affection through giving your partner your undivided attention. When you’re with them – it’s all about them, and being fully present and engaged, with them and them alone.
What Are Some Examples of Quality Time in a Relationship?
When it comes to examples of quality time in a relationship, this can be doing anything – from cooking together, to going on a walk together, right the way up to skydiving together! (Yep! It’s true!)
See the core foundations of quality time in a relationship are:
- Spending time together: usually just the two of you.
- Focusing your time and attention on your partner; being fully present & engaged with them.
See you could be doing something huge, or nothing at all. It’s more about how you behave which either does or doesn’t qualify it as having quality time.
How Much Quality Time Do You Need in a Relationship?
How much quality time you need in a relationship varies, not just from couple to couple, but from person to person.
See, you can actually have two people in a relationship and one person can need that quality time more than the other, depending on what their love language is, and what their standards / expectations are in a relationship as a whole.
It’s therefore about finding what’s right for you, as a couple, and how to find the right balance of quality time, social time, group time, and alone time, within it.
Why Is Quality Time Important In a Relationship?
Quality time in a relationship – no matter how much or how little you may need – is vitally important. So let’s briefly explore why. See, quality time in a relationship:
- Keeps your relationship strong.
- Keeps the two of you feeling close, happy and connected.
- Maintains (if not continues to grow) the love between the two of you.
- Stops the two of you from drifting apart or turning into more like friends.
- Creates valuable, lasting memories between the two of you.
- Improves communication as you both have the opportunity to truly speak and be heard.
- Improves intimacy (both physical and non-physical intimacy.)
- Shows that all-important commitment to each other & the relationship.
- Reduces arguments or conflict.
- Builds trust, reduces relationship anxiety and helps you to feel more secure in the relationship.
Overall, quality time in a relationship helps to create a stronger, happier, healthier and longer-lasting relationship. In fact, it’s fundamental really…
Can a Relationship Last Without Quality Time?
Without quality time in a relationship, your relationship is, well, pretty much doomed – if we’re going to be blunt about it!
A real, genuine, happy relationship NEEDS quality time to both survive and then thrive. So ultimately – ensuring you find more time for quality time in a relationship, is vitally important.
How To Find More Time For Quality Time in a Relationship
So what can you do? How can you increase quality time in a relationship? How can you find more time for quality time in a relationship – even when life is crazily busy? Well…
1) Focus On Quality Time, Little and Often
So first up, the best way you can go into this, is by remembering – little and often. That’s what it’s all about.
Find ways to connect with your partner daily. And make a point of planning it into your day; making new routines to make it happen, if possible.
So this could be making sure every night, before you go to sleep, you have a chat in bed, just the two of you – no phones, nothing!
This helps you to feel closer to your partner and more connected. It gives you a chance to check in and also encourages intimacy.
Similarly, if you’re more of an early bird, or can’t make your routines match at night – try to get into the habit of having breakfast together, either before work or – at the very least – on weekends.
Have coffee together, check in, see how you slept, maybe see if you can squeeze in the odd morning date very quickly!
2) Make It Happen Daily, In At Least Some Form
Now, your goal should be and should always be, to connect daily.
Never go to bed feeling like you haven’t had SOME form of quality time / connection, even if it’s just a simple phone call and conversation.
Deep conversations (probed by these deep, thoughtful questions!) and heart-to-hearts go a long way and don’t even have to take up that much time. It’s just about really thinking of your partner and taking an interest in them, plus how they feel.
Be there for each other, even when life is manic, or you’re apart. Share things. Give care.
You can even have fun with the challenge to connect daily – tracking your “streaks” and ticking off every time you feel connected to your partner, to help it grow more and more.
As part of this, you also want to make sure you’re on the same page about what quality time in a relationship, means to the two of you, and what it looks like for you.
Because when you understand each others standards and needs, you’re then able to better strive to meet them.
3) Cut Out The Distractions
A person who has quality time as their love language, may come across as demanding to someone who doesn’t. This is because they don’t understand it.
See, if you don’t have quality time as your love language, what it looks like to you, may be different than what it looks like to someone who does deeply value it.
You may think – so long as we’re together, we’re getting quality time.
But your partner may think – just because we’re in the same room, doesn’t mean it’s quality time. We’re barely speaking, my partner is too preoccupied on their phone, this is not meeting my needs here.
And that’s fair enough, when you think about it, as the definition of quality time, is undivided attention!
Now this doesn’t mean that you have to hold hands, sit opposite each other and stare into each others eyes intensely! (Although eye contact does help when spending quality time!)
But it does mean that you’re giving your partner the attention and focus that they deserve.
So put your phone on the side, clear your mind of whatever’s on it, and for the minutes that you’re having quality time with your partner – give exactly that. Let THEM be your sole priority for even just this short length of time.
Because when its better quality quality-time, you actually need less of it, which enables you to meet each others needs, without actually requiring anymore time than you already have and are using.
4) Ask Questions & Actively Listen
Quality time often revolves around, or takes the form of, conversation and discussion.
This is not to be confused with another love language: “words of affirmation”, which is more about saying “I love you” with other validating language.
Instead, quality time is about presence. And naturally, when you’re fully present and focused on your partner – you will both ask questions and actively listen to what they’re saying.
- Be interested in the small things – like how their day was.
- Ask the bigger questions, to ensure you’re “in the know” of how they feel.
- Ask the tough relationship questions, even, if you think they’re necessary. As this shows your relationship is important to you, how they feel is important to you and you want to get it all right.
- Don’t interrupt them when they’re speaking, or discount what they’re saying.
- Always try to see things from their side and their perspective, to better understand them.
- Show that you’re listening, acknowledge what they’re saying and make them feel heard.
When you do all of this, again, you’re making the time spent, feel like better quality time.
And again, it’s so important to remember that, finding time for quality time in a relationship is not always about needing more time, but being able to know how to make better use of the time that you do have.
Don’t Forget You Need To Do Things Too!
Now one of the biggest mistakes when it comes to having quality time in a relationship, is thinking that you can just speak every day or be around each other every night, and that’s it – you have that quality time.
That’s where mistakes are made in making long distance relationships work. You need that face-to-face interaction, but more than that – you need to bond through DOING things too. This leads me onto my next couple of suggestions…
5) Find Time To Schedule Mini Dates In
So if you want to increase the quality time you have in a relationship and strengthen the quality time that you have – make the most of those Sunday evenings, or mid-week nights.
There’s plenty of weeknight date ideas you can do, and last minute date ideas too!
When you find time (no matter how much or how little) – do something! It actually adds a little more spontaneity into your relationship and keeps your relationship fun and exciting.
So squeeze in those morning date ideas; do more after work dates. There’s also plenty of free date ideas at home if money has been an issue, stopping you from getting quality time through activities in a relationship.
When you set it as your goal, your mission, it’s actually amazing how much more you find you’re able to do! (Without even anything changing, as such. It’s simply your mindset and behaviour that does!)
6) Make Time For Bigger Trips / Dates
So you’re now focusing on doing things little and often to increase the quality time you have in your relationship. (And this is great!)
You’re also connecting daily, in small ways, and being fully present when you are interacting. (Again – nice work!)
But another nice idea, to really stock you up with PROPER quality time in a relationship, is – alongside this – planning bigger trips / dates, every now and then too.
See, you want a mix. Small things daily, plus big things you can then look forward to and which then “stock you up” with those precious memories and quality time in a relationship.
So prioritise it. Know how important it is – not just for your relationship, but for your wellbeing too.
7) Commit To It & Stick To It
One of the best ways to make sure you’re finding time for quality time in a relationship is mapping it out, committing to it and sticking to it – like you would a meeting or any other important event.
It’s easy in a relationship and have plans with each other, but then be like, “oh I’m tired, lets do it another time.” You’re comfortable you see, and you don’t think it’s a big deal.
The thing is – every time you do this, you’re wasting time that could be quality time and therefore missing opportunities.
So do things, even when you don’t feel like them. Or if you both really aren’t up for your original date idea (let’s say you were supposed to be doing something adventurous but feel burnt out)- still spend that quality time together, just in a different way.
Just make sure you’re still getting that quality time in, when it was planned, and when you do actually have the time for it.
8) Make Sure You’re Still Getting Enough Alone Time
On the flip side, relationships need balance. So yes – you need to find time for quality time in a relationship, but you also need to find time for yourself.
Otherwise, the relationship is going to become too intense and quality time with your partner is going to feel too much, or become like a chore.
See, you’ll have burnt yourself out and in need of a breather, which means you won’t be able to put everything into your partner when you are with them. This stops the quality time you have, from being as high quality!
So try to be on the same page about this, and understand the importance of this completely.
It’s not that you want less time with your partner or don’t value time with them. You just both know that alone time is healthy too, and will only strengthen your relationship.
9) Combine Things
A clever way to get more quality time in a relationship, is to combine things.
This means looking at where you can find quality time with your partner, whilst also doing the things you need or want to do anyway. It doesn’t have to always be one thing or the other.
So for example – we all need to cook as we all need to eat. But if you’re looking to increase quality time in a relationship – why not cook together and turn that into a fun, bonding activity?!
Likewise, if you know you need to work out every day – why not work out together? Gym together? Or run together? Or find something you both enjoy and can do at the same time?
Explore different hobbies you can do as a couple, as well, as then – again – you’re ticking two boxes in one. You’re spending time with the person you love, whilst doing things you love too.
The “Combining” strategy to find more time for quality time in a relationship can even cross into social situations, with other people.
So for example, attending events together may not be one-on-one quality time, but if you’re still with each other, interacting and enjoying something else together, you’re still able to get a level of quality time whilst in that environment.
Similarly, it doesn’t have to be just the two of you 24-7. You can plan more group dates, so that you get social time, mixed in with a little extra dose or couple-time.
These are just a few examples. But have a sit down, have a think, brainstorm together – and see what you can come up with, specifically in your relationship, to COMBINE for more quality time.
See how you can best integrate the other elements of your personal lives.
10) Simplify Things
Last but not least then, sometimes you can get more quality time in a relationship, by – simply – keeping things simple!
Find simple, easy, routines, that are synced. See where your lives already align and then – within them – how you can improve the quality time that you’re getting in these moments.
For example: one simple adjustment could be going to bed at the same time. Instead of one of you sat up on the sofa and the other, reading in bed – head to bed at the same time.
Even if you still have things to do, cuddle, bring that closeness back into your relationship, and it will feel like you’re getting more quality time – just from things like that alone.
That’s All For This One
So there we have it – how to find quality time in a relationship, even when you feel like you don’t have enough hours in the day as it is!
It’s actually quite clever what you can fit in, right? I hope this helps.
Still finding relationship challenges at the end of it? Then reach out for one-to-one relationship coaching. See, there’s always things you can do to strengthen your relationship. Don’t give up!
Wishing you all the best.