I never knew that loving my husband would be so expensive. I wish gifts would do the job, so I could just buy them, big and small. I wish physical touch could mean much to him, so I could give him more hugs and kisses and caresses than he’d know what to do with. I wish he would receive love in my mother tongue, words of affirmation, so I would fill his ears and inboxes with them day and night. But no, he doesn’t want any of those things. He wants the very thing that’s most difficult for me to give: he wants me.
When your partner’s love language is quality time, they want not just your presence but your undivided attention. The thing is, time is not infinite. You have just 24 hours each day, so time can be difficult to give up. At least it is for me.
After a long day of dividing my attention between writing/editing/transcription, managing my social media, catching up on my YouVersion plans, staying in touch with my family and friends on WhatsApp plus admin duties on several groups, planning and making meals, and caring for my son, all I need at the end of the day is to curl up with a book and some music and just be with myself. I have tons of books and two years’ worth of magazine subscriptions unread. I don’t even want to spend time with anyone, not to talk of quality time.
Where does this leave my beau? Feeling very unloved. So, I’ve decided that this bad behaviour must be left behind in 2016, and I’ve actively sought out tips from friends and experts on how to speak this love language flawlessly. It’s going to cost me, I know, but I think I’m ready to pay. Here’s what I’ve learnt in this preparation and practice period:
1. I can read my books and magazines, as long as I make some time to read together. I also need to make peace with the fact that I won’t finish books and magazines as fast as I used to when I was curled up alone in the bedroom.
2. An easy way to put the quality in the quality time is to ask “How was your day” and then listen with undivided attention. Mind, heart and body present. Eye contact. I can just see myself struggling.
3. I need to listen for feelings too, not just what he’s thinking or saying.
4. We need to resume playing games like we used to during courtship. I don’t even know where the Ludo and WHOT are right now, but I will look for them, then buy Ayo and maybe Scrabble too.
5. When I’m very busy, even 15 minutes of undivided attention means more than two hours of being present while doing other things.
6. We need to revive date night and put more effort into it this time. I know it’s largely my fault that it died. Sigh.
7. I need to remember that I’m making up for years of poor loving. Just as I can’t expect a few words of affirmation here and there to make me feel loved up, I shouldn’t expect too much from just a few days or weeks of speaking his language.
8. When I start telling myself that perhaps all of this is not that serious, thinking of how receiving and not receiving my love in my own language feels, will help.
9. I need to stop calculating my life in pages and chapters, like “All this time, I know how many pages/chapters I would have covered by now.”
10. I need to put down my phone. He can’t be talking to me and I’m looking at my phone.
Lord have mercy, I’ve been so badly behaved. It’s time for real change.
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