Quality time is key for any successful healthy relationship. However, what couples most complain about most is not having enough time or energy to really be together. In between work, house chores, kids, and other adult responsibilities, not being able to spend time together could really take a toll on the relationship.
Quality time is so important in a relationship that it’s actually one of the 5 love languages. Some people literally need a lot more of it than others, and they can suffer a lot when it’s lacking – but simply spending time together isn’t the same as spending quality time.
The former can be filled with things like doing chores together, shopping, being in the same room, or working near each other.
The latter is about mindfully spending time in each other’s presence, and showing one’s appreciation and affection for each other. The goal aims to increase communication, trust, and intimacy, thus strengthening the relationship.
When was the last time you spent quality time with your partner? What was different and special about that time? How did it make you feel?
Here are 11 ways to spend quality time with your partner – and all the benefits you’ll reap from it.
1. Exercise together.
It’s one of the simplest yet cleverest ways to spend more time with your partner, and you’ll both benefit from it.
If you both have exercise routines already, why not talk about a way to merge them? It doesn’t even have to be every day – but the time you spend together will be so beneficial to your relationship.
It could be as easy as taking a virtual Pilates class, going for a run in the park, or going on a bike ride over the weekend – or you could spice things up by exercising naked!
Exercising is also a great time to chat (depending on the level of intensity) and catch up on various topics. You’ll be doing something great for your health while supporting each other in the process.
2. Turn the TV off.
There’s nothing wrong with watching TV – but if you feel like the TV is constantly on and you’re barely connecting at home, then it’s time to make a change. Instead, choose to spend some evenings talking, listening to music, or cooking together – without any other distractions.
Bonus points if you move the TV to another room or switch off your cable altogether. It could do wonders for your relationship.
The same goes for phones – if you’re both constantly staring at a screen, it won’t feel like you’re spending time together, just filling in the time.
3. Plan an adventure together.
If you always do the same things every day, you won’t have time to plan something really exciting or different.
Revisit your bucket list and ask yourselves: what’s the one thing you’ve been meaning to do for ages, but never got around to doing? Then, go ahead and plan it!
If you keep prioritizing your busy lifestyles, you’ll suddenly wake up regretting all the things you never got to do together. Shared adventures have the power to increase your dopamine levels and make you feel much closer to one another.
4. Walk and talk after a movie.
One of the best things to do after seeing a movie together is to take a walk and have fun discussing it.
Another great thing to do is to take turns picking the movie. This way you get to watch movies that the other partner really wants to see, instead of fighting over the right one.
5. Set a regular date night.
If you find yourself not spending enough quality time with your partner, it’s time for a change. Set a regular date night and take turns organizing it. It’s a great chance to do something fun together, try a new restaurant or explore a new activity.
Make sure it’s realistic, though; don’t commit to one date night a month if it’s too hard to find the time or if it’ll break the bank.
Make it feel exclusive and special – yet often enough that you both look forward to it. It’s a great way to stay connected no matter what life throws at you.
Check out our guide to 30 Unique Dates That Will Add Spark to Your Relationship for some inspiration!
6. Learn something new together.
One of the best ways to spend quality time with your partner is to pick a new hobby or skill that you both commit to trying out. Whether that’s taking a class or learning a new language, it can be so much fun sharing those moments together and encouraging each other.
If the goal is to connect more by spending time together, this is a great way to do that.
7. Use active listening skills.
This one isn’t as easy as it seems, but it can be a game-changer. When you next sit down to talk to your partner, make sure you’re really present. Listen to what they say – and try to see things from their point of view.
Make eye contact while talking, so that your partner feels listened to and cared for. The same goes for you; if you feel like he’s only half-listening, give him feedback.
Here are some tips on practicing active listening:
- Focus on what he’s saying and how he’s saying it by looking for emotional cues.
- Lean in slightly when he speaks; physical proximity is also key for better communication.
- Confirm that you’ve heard what he said by repeating it or checking in, without interrupting mid-sentence.
- Ask thoughtful questions that prompt him to continue on a deeper level.
- Don’t offer advice or solutions unless he asks you for them.
- Don’t jump to conclusions.
- Put yourself in his shoes.
- Be open to receiving feedback, and accept it with kindness and gratitude – not defensive outbursts.
8. Focus on quality, not quantity.
It may sound counterintuitive, but it’s really simple. If you spend every waking moment together, you can’t really distinguish between quality time and just being in the same room – which is how you end up taking each other for granted or getting bored in the relationship.
If you’ve quarantined together, you know how tough it can be to constantly be in each other’s presence and to think of ways to make living together more exciting. Once in a while, it’s healthy to miss each other – so you do need some distance.
Quality time with your partner is about both of you feeling great in each other’s presence and making the most of the time spent together. If that’s once or twice a week, then great – but make sure that it’s valuable, wonderful time spent together.
9. Buy tickets for his favorite band.
You can surprise your partner by buying tickets for a concert to see his favorite band. Even if you’re not a fan yourself, the gesture will be greatly appreciated.
Go together and make a date night of it – and who knows, you might even change your mind about the band!
10. Book a couple’s photoshoot.
When’s the last time you and your partner had a couple’s photoshoot? If the answer is never, then you’re missing out. Look for a package with a professional photographer – and book it!
The shoot will be a great time to connect, hold each other, and appreciate each other’s company- especially if it’s outdoors – with the added benefit of having some gorgeous professional pictures to take home.
It’s impossible not to become closer after a few hours of staring lovingly into each other’s eyes.
11. Set clear expectations.
When it comes to spending quality time together, the thing that matters the most is intent – and having a clear agreement about which time is quality time and therefore needs to be protected by other priorities.
It’s about building a sense of togetherness, making an effort, and just being there for each other. Make sure that both of you know what the expectations are. Set clear goals and times to improve the time spent together, and make sure to stick to those goals.
The Bottom Line
Here are some of the best ways to spend quality time together:
- Cooking a meal together. Instead of one of you being the chef while the other sits with their feet up, make a plan to actually cook together. It’ll increase your connection and improve your communication skills.
- Read together. Take turns reading out loud to each other, from a book you’re currently immersed in. You’ll notice how calming and intimate this exercise is, especially if you do it right before going to sleep.
- Go for walks together. Leave your phones at home (or at least ignore the impulse to check them), and explore different neighborhoods together.
- Express your gratitude to one another. Before going to sleep on Sunday, take a few minutes to recap the previous week out loud. Focusing specifically on the positives and what it is you are grateful for.
These tips are fantastic ways to show appreciation and capture the happy moments of your relationship.