Showing Affection Through Quality Time

Dr Gary Chapman, an American author and talk show host, first introduced the concept of “love languages” back in 1992. He believed that people express love differently and even wrote a book on the topic. It outlined 5 general ways people enjoy giving or receiving love. These 5 ways are: Acts of Service, Giving or Receiving Gifts, Physical Touch, Quality Time and Words of Affirmation. 

Quality Time has emerged as one of the most popular love languages. Here, we asked 9 Singaporeans whose love language is Quality Time what it means to them, and how their partners show them affection through this particular love language. 

1. “On days when I am sad and I ask if he can meet me impromptu, he never complains and always lets me know that I can rely on him”

quality time gracie
A and her boyfriend cooking and making dinner plans together

Length of relationship: 3 years
A’s love language: Quality Time
Her partner’s love language: Acts of Service

“As my partner is currently serving his NS, and I am doing my internship, time is extremely precious [to us]. When we are apart, we try to be together virtually through calls on Discord to watch movies or play Minecraft. When we do meet up, we usually watch shows or movies and scroll through TikTok together.

With quality time, I feel like showing affection is a background element. Just being able to be together feels so comforting. To me, quality time is not just being physically together. Sometimes, it’s just both of us being on a call while we work. Even though the call is silent, it’s comforting knowing he is on the other side of the line.

Although we have some similarities, we are quite the opposite [in other ways]. I tend to enjoy going out for picnics and visiting attractions, while he is more of a homebody. This is probably because I am quite a high energy person while he is more low energy. But we always try to find a compromise that works best for us. We try to alternate our plans to make sure we’re both comfortable with the arrangements.

Sometimes, he is so tired and drained but he knows that I want to spend time together, and I see that he makes the effort to still be here for me. On days when I am sad or not feeling that great and I ask if he can meet me impromptu, he never complains and always lets me know that I can rely on him. It makes me feel very loved.”
—A

2. “It seems like most of our quality time is spent looking around in supermarkets, eating or just chilling out at home”

Length of relationship: 10.5 years
Pailin’s love language: Quality Time
Her partner’s love language: Quality Time and Physical Touch

While my partner and I spend plenty of time together [now that we’re married], admittedly, not all of it is quality time because we have our own things to do. You can be physically there but if your mind’s running through work-related stuff or you’re messaging other people, you’re not there there.

What we do is try to set one meal a week, mostly Friday nights, and we treat it as something more “special”. This doesn’t simply mean expensive food. It could be takeaway char kway teow or splurging on an omakase set. The main point is that we’re spending good old fashioned QT together. 

We don’t necessarily believe in rules like switching off your phones when sitting down for meals nor are we people who put lots of effort into dates. It seems like most of our QT is spent looking around in supermarkets, eating or just chilling out at home. Thankfully, we both like doing whatever we’re doing. Many of our deeper conversations come up when we’re just walking around aimlessly. 

Spending time together isn’t about the grand gestures. You don’t need 5-star hotel staycays or Michelin-starred tasting menus to be happy. While I definitely won’t say no to experiences, I’ve found that the best quality time happens when you’re simply there with each other—that you’re interested in what the other person has to say and when you want to find out more.”
—Pailin Boonlong

3. “He offers to take my siblings out or have dinner at my house, and I appreciate that he thinks of the people I love too”

quality time joie
Joie and her partner celebrating her 24th birthday together

Length of relationship: 4.5 years
Joie’s love language: Quality Time and Acts of Service
Her partner’s love language: Quality Time

“Both my partner and I have very busy work schedules, so we rarely have time to meet during the week. We try to make it a point to meet at least once during the weekend, as well as to spend time together with both of our families. He usually comes over to my house on Sunday nights for dinner with my family, and I have dinner with his family on Saturday nights. We reserve Sunday afternoons as our time alone.

quality time joie
Joie and her boyfriend at a hawker centre (left), Joie and her partner’s handmade mooncakes (right)

We share a common love for food, so we’ve also incorporated food as a way to spend time together. For our Sunday afternoon dates, we’ve been making it a routine to explore different hawker centres and try to find the best hawker food in Singapore. We also recently tried making mooncakes together for the Mid-Autumn Festival.

My partner’s love language is also Quality Time, and I guess since we value similar things, it’s not hard to figure out what he appreciates from me. Once, we got into an argument because I had arranged to meet some other friends for a few Sundays, but we did not explicitly say that Sundays were reserved for just me and him. It was only after that incident that I realised how much our Sundays together meant to my boyfriend. From then on, I made it a point to make sure I was reserving my Sundays for him.

I feel comforted when I see that my boyfriend takes the time to spend time with both me and my family despite his busy work schedule. Even though sometimes I complain that he’s too busy, I know that he does put in the effort to set aside time to spend with me, especially when I invite him over to celebrate special events like birthdays or Christmas. He isn’t obliged to spend time with my family, but he does offer to take my siblings out or have dinner at my house, and I appreciate that he thinks of the people I love too.”
—Joie Tan

4. “We’re quite simple; he’ll just come over to my house and hang. We don’t do much, just talk and watch shows”

quality time yuxuan google sheets
Yu Xuan and her boyfriend have an Excel sheet to plan where and what they want to do on dates

Length of relationship: Almost 2 months
Yu Xuan’s love language: Quality Time and Physical Touch
Her partner’s love language: Quality Time and Physical Touch

“Dates are a spontaneous thing for us because we don’t have a lot of time in our schedules. We do have a spreadsheet of things we want to do and places we want to go. When we have a bit of time, we’ll look through those and decide. [Otherwise,] we’re quite simple; he’ll just come over to my house and hang. We don’t do much, just talk and watch shows. We recently got a Lego set so we’ve been working on that every time he comes over. In the evening, we’ll go to the skate park.

[When we’re apart,] we’ll go on Discord and play Minecraft. Sometimes, we’ll video call and have lunch together or just do our own work [while on the call].

quality time yuxuan
Yu Xuan and her boyfriend enjoy going to the skatepark together

I feel loved and important to my partner when he takes some time out of his day to spend time with me, especially during this period where we’re both interning and don’t have much time, even for ourselves.”
—Mak Yu Xuan

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5. “We tend to put our phones away so we won’t be distracted by incoming notifications when we’re together”

quality time joelle

Length of relationship: 7 months
Joelle’s love language: Quality Time
Her partner’s love language: Quality Time

My partner stays in the northeast region while I stay in the west. Due to the distance, I cannot meet him as often as I’d like. So, we tend to do video calls to spend quality time with one another. We usually plan for dates on the weekends and we’ll meet each other after school. It’s not really a set rule between the two of us, but we tend to put our phones away so we won’t be distracted by incoming notifications when we’re together.

I feel loved and appreciated when my partner makes the effort to spend time with me. Similarly, I’m more than happy to spend time together with him. As long as I know he is happy, I will be too.”
—Joelle Chan

6. “We can’t have quality chats when watching movies or playing tennis, so we make sure to couple the date with a meal”

Length of relationship: 5 years
Li Ying’s love language: Quality Time
Her partner’s love language: Words of Affirmation and Physical Touch

“As both of us are foodies, most weekends we will try out new restaurants and cafes to see if it’s worth the hype. We watch Netflix or movies together almost every weekend and play tennis together every Tuesday or Thursday. 

I’ll always consider the time we can spend talking and sharing with each other about our day/week when planning what to do on dates. For example, we cannot really have quality chats when watching movies or playing tennis. We will make sure to couple the date with a meal. This way, we can spend more time communicating and sharing updates with each other. 

Last year, when my boyfriend was in Poland for an overseas exchange programme, we would try to FaceTime or Skype every week to keep each other updated. I also prepared letters for him to open when he was overseas. For example, Open Letter When You Miss Home, Open Letter When You’re Broke, Open Letter When You’re On The Flight Home. When I was in Taiwan for exchange, he also did the same for me.

I feel valued and appreciated when my boyfriend devotes his time and energy to me. His love language used to be Quality Time but it gradually changed, so I had to adapt and make him feel more appreciated and loved with my actions and words. As his love language is Physical Touch, we will hold hands or I will grab his arm every time we go out. Even when we are spending time watching movies or Netflix together, I will still show affection by lying on his shoulder or holding his arm.”
—Chang Li Ying

7. “We do have this unsaid rule… [depending] on the direction of the MRT when we’re going back, we’ll send whoever’s furthest home”

quality time picnic
M and her girlfriend on a picnic during their weekly Saturday date

Length of relationship: 11 months
M’s love language: Quality Time and Physical Touch
Her partner’s love language: Quality Time and Acts of Service

“We try to ask each other out for dinner whenever we can. Saturdays are [our] date days, so we’ll meet at least once a week. 

We don’t really have a preference as to what we’re doing, even something small like a simple dinner is good enough. The two of us definitely do try to enjoy and be present with each other. While we don’t have a rule for phones, we try not to use them when we’re together. We don’t get to go on full-on dates that often but when we do, we take turns to plan; we also have a list of date ideas to refer to.

Between us, we do have this unsaid rule that one person will send the other back. It depends on the direction of the MRT when we’re going back, so we’ll send whoever’s furthest home.

I [can] get insecure when I don’t get to see her because her text messages read a bit emotionless sometimes. She tends to be busy, so I feel very appreciated when she makes the effort to spend time with me.”
—M

8. “We make it a point to set aside some time to study or eat meals together every week”

Length of relationship: 6 months
Xing Hui’s love language: Quality Time
Her partner’s love language: Quality Time

“We do video calls on a frequent basis to check up on each other’s days. Since we are both in uni at the moment, it can be hard to go out often. We make it a point to set aside some time to study or eat meals together every week. When we are out, we rarely use our phones as these times come by rarely and it means a lot to us.

As we have the same love language, we always try to find time for each other even if we are busy. I feel very appreciative and thankful for that, even if it is a small action on his end.

Since our relationship involves two of us, and he tries to spend time with me whenever he can, I try my best to be there for him too, especially when he’s down.
—Chen Xing Hui

Singaporean Millennials Share How Their Partners Show Them Affection Through Quality Time

Showing the ones you care about the most that you love them by doing creative things for them is always nice. But, making the effort to express your love through their love language makes it a whole lot more special. These Singaporean millennials prove to us how it’s the little ways their partners show them affection through Quality Time that mean the most, rather than the grand gestures.

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