"Quality" Time in a Relationship - Talk About Marriage
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post #1 of 41 (permalink) Old 10-31-2016, 09:44 AM Thread Starter
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"Quality" Time in a Relationship

This was a brief discussion in a previous thread which seemed like it would make a good stand alone topic. I am going to quote a post from @EleGirl (hope you don't mind, you were the one who did suggest this would make a good thread )

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When I ask the question about how many hours a week a couple spends together, I qualify that Iím asking about times when it is only the two of them and they are engaged in quality time. Time watching TV, or going to a movie, is not quality time. They are not focused on each other. Going for a walk, holding hands, and talking is quality time.. or date-like time. Cuddling and having sex is also quality time. Date-like things are not just going out on a date to an expensive restaurant. When people date, they usually do a lot of simple things, like the walk, sitting on the porch and talking, going for a picnic.

The 15 hours a week thing is a Marriage Builder guideline for a marriage that is going well. He says that if there is a problem in the marriage and they need to rebuild the passion/love/attraction it might take a lot more quality time than 15 hours a week to rebuild it. Then after a time they can cut back to the 15 hours a week.
So, the way I read it, there are two components (assuming you use the Marriage Builder guideline). The first would be spending a minimum of 15 hours of quality time with your SO a week. The second would be quantifying what exactly is "quality" time.

Going with the 15 hours guideline, this seems unrealistic to me. This has nothing to do with making the marriage a priority, more that there simply aren't enough hours to do this when you factor in work, raising a family, etc... I know quite a few other people who agree as well, but they are also in similar situations as myself (work, raising young families, etc...). Now, if we didn't have kids, or had much older kids, 15 hours would be more achievable. Spending enough time together with my W has undoubtedly been an issue and a challenge over the years, so I am in no way downplaying this as I fully understand the importance (and actually enjoy spending time with my W). I rather focus on making the most of the time you have together, makes plans/date nights, etc... instead of just trying to hit some set hours minimum (which doesn't even take into account different situations couples are in). Obviously if you are actively avoiding or have little interest in spending time with your SO, that is a much bigger issue.

The second component is the definition of "quality" time, which I think may vary from couple to couple. In Elegirl's post, she mentioned that watching TV or going to a movie is not quality time. In my case, I would disagree with this. When my W and I do watch TV together, she always curls up on me with her head on my chest. If we on a rare occasion go to the movies, this means there are NO KIDS, which in itself is a big win. We don't need to spend hours on end staring into each other's eyes while having my W tell me what an awesome human being I am After all, one of the great things I find is having someone that you are comfortable with where you can completely enjoy their company without feeling like you need to talk every few minutes in order to avoid the "awkward silence".

Thoughts from TAM members, what do you consider "quality" time as well as what are your thoughts on the 15 hr minimum as set forth by Marriage Builders?

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post #2 of 41 (permalink) Old 10-31-2016, 09:53 AM
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Re: "Quality" Time in a Relationship

i agree.

watching t.v. together can involve conversation and cuddling also. which can then lead to other things.

as long as you're not in your own little worlds and there is interaction, t.v. time can be quality time.
laughing together at a funny movie or exchanging comments about some doofus on the screen.

some exceptions would be people who's eyes are riveted to some show and always say "ssshh!' when their partner has something to say.
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post #3 of 41 (permalink) Old 10-31-2016, 09:55 AM
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Re: "Quality" Time in a Relationship

My wife's definition of quality time is watching TV with me.

But she hates it when I have my phone with me and I am posting on TAM at same time.
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post #4 of 41 (permalink) Old 10-31-2016, 09:58 AM
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Re: "Quality" Time in a Relationship

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Originally Posted by 225985 View Post
My wife's definition of quality time is watching TV with me.

But she hates it when I have my phone with me and I am posting on TAM at same time.
mine too. she doesn't even like me reading TAM. 'honey, you're missing this!"
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post #5 of 41 (permalink) Old 10-31-2016, 10:03 AM Thread Starter
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Re: "Quality" Time in a Relationship

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Originally Posted by jorgegene View Post
i agree.

watching t.v. together can involve conversation and cuddling also. which can then lead to other things.

as long as you're not in your own little worlds and there is interaction, t.v. time can be quality time.
laughing together at a funny movie or exchanging comments about some doofus on the screen.

some exceptions would be people who's eyes are riveted to some show and always say "ssshh!' when their partner has something to say.
Especially on the bolded, as many times it does lead to some post TV show activities (except if we watch The Walking Dead, says it is too disturbing and gets her too worked up to even relax lol). You can definitely watch TV together and still be engaged with one another. One thing I do is I keep my phone out of reach.
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post #6 of 41 (permalink) Old 10-31-2016, 10:11 AM
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Cool Re: "Quality" Time in a Relationship

Now let's see ~ if the 15 hour "quality time together" weekly requirement equates to only "making whoopee," then I'm going to have to get somewhat analytical about that!

At a projected 15-20 minutes per session, that's 3 sessions per hour times 15 hours per week meaning that me and the old lady would be boinking 45 times per week equating to some 180 boinks per month; and effectively 2,160 boinks annually! Divide 2,160 by 365 and you get almost 6 boinks per day; almost 42 boinks per week; and some 180 boinks per month! Stretching that out time wise, projected at 20 minutes per session, that would entail some 2+ hours of daily boinking; 14 hours of weekly boinking; 60 hours of monthly boinking; and some 720 hours of annual boinking!

I'm here to tell you that if I boinked even half that damned much, I'd have little spare time to breathe air, drink water, eat food, or vociferously complain about sore aching bones, muscles, as well as one severely abrased appendage!

Initially, it sounds rather heavenly, but also quite hellish, all at the same time! There is no way that my poor ol' Willie could possibly endure that much lacivious fun, added to the sad fact that I really wouldn't want to be gawking at an old lady who was walking around bowlegged without the added benefit of some habitual horseback riding!

And the even sadder fact of her gawking at me for being down in my back and running from her every time she made eyes at me!

Ces pas?

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Last edited by arbitrator; 10-31-2016 at 01:55 PM. Reason: Edification
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post #7 of 41 (permalink) Old 10-31-2016, 10:21 AM
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Re: "Quality" Time in a Relationship

Usually, people who argue that there isn't enough time to get in the 15 hours a week actually mean that they are prioritizing other stuff above that 15 hours a week with their spouse. Often, they had no trouble making that much time for each other while dating, or in the early years. But they either don't really think they should have to make that much effort for their spouse, or just let other things get in the way. It can be divided however works best for the couple, but 15 hours per week works out to roughly a little over 2 hours per day, or one hour per day during the week and 4 hours per day on weekends. It's pretty tough to argue that even busy parents with young children can't find an hour or so to spend some quiet time together every evening after the kids are in bed. Have a glass of wine or cup of tea, talk about the day, share funny stories, catch up with one another while snuggling on the couch, then head to bed for a little cuddle time and maybe some great sex. Spend a half hour in the morning to cuddle and chat in bed, have sex, or talk over the day while having coffee. Lock your bedroom door and let the kids make their own cereal and watch cartoons while you spend some private time together on Saturday mornings. Throw in a date night or an afternoon doing something enjoyable together on the weekend, and you're pretty much there.

But to do all that, a couple has got to agree that the happy hour with the boys, or the hour+ of hobby time, or the sink full of dirty dishes, are not as high a priority as spending quality time with their spouse. Frankly, many people just aren't willing to make their marriage that much of a priority. Work, chores, kids, anything but their spouse and marriage, somehow just becomes more important.

The couples who legitimately cannot fit in nearly 15 hours per week to spend time together as a couple are generally those where one spouse works out of town, the couple has opposite work schedules, or there are special needs children in the home. And those marriages, statistically, fail a lot of the time. The stresses and outside temptations of those lives, combined with not getting much couple time together, just erode away the connection that's required to maintain love.

Now, as to what qualifies as "quality time", I tend to think that's going to vary a bit. My SO and I LOVE to watch television together. But we're engaged with one another while we do it. So, to me, that counts as quality time. If a couple is sitting on opposite ends of the couch while he watches the game and she scrolls through Facebook, without ever exchanging a word, then I wouldn't really call that quality time. I also view working together on the house, cooking together, gardening together, etc. as a source of quality time. The key there, though, being that you are doing it together and engaging with one another while doing it.

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post #8 of 41 (permalink) Old 10-31-2016, 10:27 AM
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Re: "Quality" Time in a Relationship

We have "cÝcktail hour" (actual cÝcktails optional) in the kitchen after work, usually talk about our day. That leads cooking together, how we get most of our quality time. A 30 minute meal can take us 90+ minutes to prepare as we're usually talking and laughing and generally just having a good time. I've frequently recommended it to people on TAM, but it's never been deemed feasible. Too bad, aside from being together the teamwork aspect would likely benefit many couples.

TV time can be OK, if we share a couch and she lies on top of me without a bra. We actually bought a new couch to facilitate that more often and more comfortably.



Sigh, my wife gives me the speaking treatment.
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post #9 of 41 (permalink) Old 10-31-2016, 10:43 AM
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Re: "Quality" Time in a Relationship

We can easily spend 5 hours Saturday and Sunday doing things together that involve conversation, cooperation, and often fun, as well. Laundry and cooking, gardening and organizing the garage, etc., as well as going out for lunch and errands together all count, IMO. We probably do more than that, especially when adding in an hour or two of sex. Even if that only comes to 10 hours, that means we'd just need 1 hour per weekday evening where we interact. Most of that is taken up by sex, and more than rounded out with other projects and shared relaxation (we frequently pause TV shows and movies to discuss something).

It would be harder to achieve with kids (especially younger ones). By the time we got together we had older kids who would often be doing their own thing, so we had time to spend together without having to include them.

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post #10 of 41 (permalink) Old 10-31-2016, 11:10 AM
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Re: "Quality" Time in a Relationship

First off, I don't have kids so 15 hours is doable for us but it still seems like a lot. I would say that we're homebodies so if we're not at work (we have the same work schedule), then we're together at home. Now I do get out of the house more often than my husband, but this past weekend he was gone and I was enjoying my time alone for once! I think we can actually spend too much time together but I also wouldn't say that it's QUALITY time together.

TV watching can be quality time but I think most of the time it isn't. In my eyes, it's quality time when we're cuddling and when our phones are not part of the equation. (Usually this also includes the dog because he's part of the family and can't seem to remove himself from my hip.)

Going for walks is quality time. Going out to dinner/lunch/breakfast together is also quality time, as long as we're sitting face to face and the phones are out of the equation. We also cook dinner together most nights of the week and that's definitely quality time for us as we talk about our day or what's coming up during the week. Cooking meals together requires team work which is bonding. The night time pillow talks qualify (if neither one of us is falling asleep). And of course, sexy time is quality time.


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post #11 of 41 (permalink) Old 10-31-2016, 11:38 AM
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Re: "Quality" Time in a Relationship

We work together. We spend 24/7 together. Honestly there isn't even 15 hours of the week where we're apart, ha... Maybe 3.5 hours in the washroom alone? Hmm.

As for "quality time", anything we both enjoy together counts. Watching movies and TV definitely counts for us. In fact I'd say it's one of our biggest pleasures. Perhaps because we enjoy the same shows, and we're both thoroughly engrossed (we never talk when watching! but lots of cuddling), and love discussing it afterwards.
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post #12 of 41 (permalink) Old 10-31-2016, 12:36 PM
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Re: "Quality" Time in a Relationship

I believe in spending quality time together but the mariage builders guidelines are too high. We can also have quality time together with others as well such as our kids or while camping.

The activities for us also include watching TV. We actually engage in active plot speculation or analyze things as they happen. This triggers a google search and some investigation of topics as well.

The quality time we spend includes dinners (we eat dinner together 97% of the time), post dinner catching up on our days, weekend morning breakfasts, TV/movie watching, love making and other events. This totals up to be about 10 hours a week. Sometimes we exceed 15 hours but not regularly. We do have times of concentrated quality time when we do weekend camping and vacations.

Last summer we went backpacking, just the two of us in the Dolly Sods where we were really alone for several days. Vacations like this really do help connect us for a good while.

However we can also have busy weeks where we have less than five hours of quality time. What works for us now is prioritizing future quality time when we do have those deficits. There was a time when we let our busy schedules dominate but we learned that our marriage should be a priority and have gotten out of the habit of letting quality time slide.

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post #13 of 41 (permalink) Old 10-31-2016, 01:25 PM
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Re: "Quality" Time in a Relationship

Here is a good read on the topic......


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post #14 of 41 (permalink) Old 10-31-2016, 01:38 PM
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Re: "Quality" Time in a Relationship

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Originally Posted by Married but Happy View Post
We can easily spend 5 hours Saturday and Sunday doing things together that involve conversation, cooperation, and often fun, as well. Laundry and cooking, gardening and organizing the garage, etc., as well as going out for lunch and errands together all count, IMO. We probably do more than that, especially when adding in an hour or two of sex. Even if that only comes to 10 hours, that means we'd just need 1 hour per weekday evening where we interact. Most of that is taken up by sex, and more than rounded out with other projects and shared relaxation (we frequently pause TV shows and movies to discuss something).

It would be harder to achieve with kids (especially younger ones). By the time we got together we had older kids who would often be doing their own thing, so we had time to spend together without having to include them.
Sex counts as quality time

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post #15 of 41 (permalink) Old 10-31-2016, 02:58 PM
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Re: "Quality" Time in a Relationship

I've heard the 15 hour thing before and really, I hesitate to define 'quality time' in terms of certain activities. For some couples, sex can't be considered 'quality time' because one or both of them might be so wrapped up in fantasies or thinking of someone else, or even having 'angry sex'. For some couples, going out to dinner isn't quality time because she sits there on her phone the whole time while he ogles the waitresses. My husband and I spend about 5-6 hours a week in the car together commuting. Most of that could be considered quality time, except for the parts when I block out his work prattle and just listen to the radio 15 hours might be an ideal to strive for, but couples don't fail if they aren't able to make that much most of the time. It's all about keeping the connection happening.

People don't get a free pass to cheat just because their marriage sucks.


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