If your love language is quality time, then you’ll know that the best way for you to feel loved is to spend time with your husband. Yet in this crazy busy world, where rushing seems to be the order of the day, quality time might be one of the hardest love languages to pull off. So much easier for your man to purchase you a gift, or give you a hug. But when he gives you his undivided attention – while not looking at his phone, laptop, or television- or goes and does something with you, you feel cherished and valued, because you understand the effort involved.
Gary Chapman, who wrote The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts (This is an affiliate link- see my disclosure policy for more info), notes that quality time also comes with an important by-product: the things you do create memories that can be savoured for years to come. And in addition, experiencing novelty together makes us feel more in love, more satisfied with our relationships.
And none of this might be news to you – on an intellectual level. The kids are getting older now too – maybe they’ve even left home – so you have the opportunity. And yet, quality time together is just not happening in your marriage.
So here’s a challenge for you. First of all, make sure that your husband understands the importance of knowing your love language, and you his, (you can take the quiz here) and if his is not the same, that he is willing to try this anyway because he understands what this will mean to you. Then second, set yourself a goal that you will try one of the ideas below (or anything else you can think of) at least once a month for the foreseeable future.
Some of these ideas are free, and some aren’t Some involve getting out of the house, others not. The only key to selection, as Gary Chapman says, is to ensure that “at least one of you wants to do it, the other is willing to do it and both of you know why you are doing it- to express love by being together.”
So, without further ado, here’s my magnificent 25 quality time date ideas:
- Have a stay-in-bed day. The rules are simple. Don’t get out of bed, except to make the other person breakfast, lunch or dinner. This works best if you can do No. 2 at the same time. Perfect for a wet, winter’s day.
- Binge-watch an entire season of a show together. Enough said.
- Share your fave bands from teenage years on Youtube. Because songs evoke memories, it’s a great way springboard a conversation about each other’s childhoods that you may not have had for a long time.
- Plan a holiday together. You can research flights, hotels, local attractions… not only is it great fun, it also gives you something to look forward to.
- Do a jigsaw puzzle or play a new board game. If you pick a puzzle, I recommend sticking to around 500 pieces. You want a date night, not a month-long odyssey.
- Go to a new café and order for each other. Not only do you get to experience a new place, you get the novel challenge of having to pick something you think they will like.
- Do a random act of kindness. Not only will you feel good, you will feel good together. If you can’t think of any ideas, check out these 109 suggestions.
- Go to the movies. Any movie is enough to get the novel factor in, but if you really want to mix it up, make an agreement that you won’t check what’s on and that you’ll buy tickets for the next one to screen.
- Go to either the public library or a used bookstore, and hunt out and find a favourite book from when you were a child (or teen or young adult). Tell your partner the story of reading the book and why it was meaningful to you. Make them read it.
- Go to a spa and have a couples’ massage. A fantastic choice if physical touch is also high on your list of love languages. Best if you can get one in the same room as each other.
- Go berry picking. There is something really satisfying about picking your own berries and as a plus, you get to take them home and eat them.
- Go to open homes or show homes. You can get fun ideas for your own home, or just be nosy. You can always adopt a fake persona for these visits.
- Attend a major sporting event. Now I want to preface this by saying that my husband is sports crazy and I am not, but over the last five years, I have come to appreciate both rugby and cricket, and we have actually had heaps of fun attending live games together. If you’ve never been interested in the sports your partner enjoys, I highly recommend this. The atmosphere alone will be worth it.
- Attend a local market. Add a little bit to the challenge, by giving each other a small amount of money and buying something for the other person that you think they will enjoy.
- Go for a hike. If you’re lucky to live close to nature, chances are there will be some walks around your area. Find one you’ve never been on and explore.
- Do something they want to do. And don’t complain, moan or anything else about it!
- Dog walk or babysit for a friend. Not only are you doing a favour for a friend, but you can see a side to your partner that you may not have seen for a while.
- Buy some art for your Artiversary. Last year my husband and I went to an arts’ weekend in a neighbouring town. We don’t have a lot of art, and went with the vague idea we might find something. We were in one place looking at a print, and overheard some older women talking about Artiversary- how they and their husbands bought a piece of art for every anniversary. Well at that point it was almost our four-year anniversary and we seized on to this idea. Now we look at this art in our house and it has both special meaning and a story. If you’re short on money, there’s nothing to stop you finding something in a second-hand shop.
- Do an embarrassment challenge. Go downtown and do something deliberately embarrassing like trip over yourself, talk with an obviously fake accent, or leave some food on your face or between your teeth.
- Play detectives. My husband and I are fans of crime shows. We are both also introverts so having to do some social stuff can be painful and tiring. We make it a challenge to elicit information that we didn’t know from a random person. We also practice eavesdropping and making up stories about people. This can be highly entertaining.
- Create a new ritual. This could be going for brunch on a Sunday, having a coffee at a particular coffee house, or taking a literal walk in the park.
- Play tourist in your own town. It is an accepted truth that the more we live in a town the less likely we are to avail ourselves of what it has to offer. Get on Trip Advisor, see what is highly ranked nearby, and go for it.
- Go on a road trip without telling your partner where you are going. Watch their excitement as they try to figure it out!
- Scavenger hunt. Keep it simple and consider having the clues be focused around your partner’s interests or places that have been significant to you both.
- Revisit your childhood. Take your partner (or get him or her to take you) to where you grew up. Drive around your old houses and tell your partner your key memories. Pass your old schools and favourite parks.
Feeling loved and giving love are to marriage what the act of breathing in air is to lungs. Yet sometimes we may miss the mark, because we don’t speak the right language as our spouse. And even if we do, we may have let life get in the way of expressing this love to each other. With these 25 ideas, I hope you can find both inspiration and motivation to get off the couch and make some memories together. Let me know if you do!