Quality time can come in many different shapes and sizes, bear various levels of importance, and have a variety of unique definitions. These variables all depend on each person’s perception of what quality time means to them. One of my favorite celebrities eloquently summed up quality time in a way that really hits home for me: “I don’t think that the quantity of time is as special as the quality of time with your family.” – Reba McEntire. I love this quote for numerous reasons, but what strikes a chord with me the most is the fact of how relevant the quality vs. quantity struggle can be.
As the wife of a Certified Public Accountant, the time I’m able to spend with my husband is incredibly limited between the months of January and April. I know I’m not alone in being married to a career-oriented individual, and I’m quite sure that a lot you can resonate with the fact that quality time together can seem like a distant memory. I’ve noticed that even little things like watching a TV show together have turned into us half paying attention to the show, half paying attention to social media on our phones, and zero percent paying attention to each other. Sure we’re spending time together, but where is connection between us? We’re just two bodies sitting next to each other, barely interacting (and definitely not in quality way).
In world where there is so much going on around us and the distractions are infinite, how do we make the most of the incredibly limited time we have together? Disclaimer: I’m no expert. However, I do have a few ideas to help incorporate quality into the quantity of time you spend with your loved one(s).
- Engage Each Other – And no, I don’t mean put a ring on it. When you’re together, encourage open and engaging conversations. Step out of the “how was your day?” mindset and try the “what happened in your day that challenged you?” line of thinking. Ask open ended questions and show interest in the answers you receive. You’d be surprised how quickly deep, meaningful discussions can stem from a few thought-provoking topics.
- Put The Phone Down – I can not stress this enough. We are living our lives behind screens and losing touch with the reality that is all around us. Hey, I’m not pointing fingers as I’m just as guilty. But do you really have to Snapchat your dinner? Do you need to be the first one to like on Facebook that your junior prom date checked into a restaurant 964 miles away? I think the world will survive without seeing you post about your yoga class. Put the phone down and actually live your life with the person by your side, not with your Instagram followers who barely know your name.
- Take On A Task – One of the more relationship-building ways to spend quality time together is when you’re both working towards the same goal. Set out to accomplish something that’s been on your to-do list; paint a room, put together some furniture, clean out the basement. Working as a team can be rewarding and makes the time spent doing something you may not want to do a lot more enjoyable. Just remember to bring your patience and grace to the task at hand, fighting over the instructions of how to build a dresser isn’t going to help with the whole quality time concept.
- Get Out And Do Something – Go on a walk, take a bike ride, or run errands together. Get out of the house and do something. One of my favorite activities is playing tennis and my husband is such a good sport about tagging along. While this activity may not cultivate intellectually stimulating conversations and push us to get to know each other on a new level, it does show me how much he loves me. He is participating in something I have a passion for and that is a big deal to me. Not only is he giving up time that could be spent doing something he really enjoys to support me, he’s making and effort and taking interest in things that we can do together.
- Little Gestures – Something that I love to do during the long tax season days is bring my CPA hubby a treat to the office. Froyo and coffee are my main go-tos and two of his favorites. We’ll usually have a 10-15 minute “mini date” while sitting in my car, catching up about our days. It’s a little gesture, on both of our parts, that allows us time to actually spend together. 15 minutes of chatting, laughing, and just having a break in the day does both of us a world of good.
When I realized the amount of time spent together is insignificant compared to the quality of time spent together, I made changes to my approach. As Adlai E. Stevenson so perfectly stated, “It is not the years in your life but the life in your years that counts”. Think about it. Time is the most valuable and scarce commodity we have, make the most of it.
I’d love to hear what quality time means to you and how you’ve found a balance between quantity vs. quality of time!
About The CPA’s Wife
I’m a late twenties fashion forward foodie and dark beer drinker born and raised in the Chicagoland area. Being married to a CPA is a unique world to live in, where for approximately three and a half months each year my husband goes down the rabbit hole that is known as tax season. My two dogs do a great job of filling the void of children (for the time being) and I’m actively involved with helping the homeless (both people and pets) in my area. Wanderlust runs in my veins and I’m always looking for my next destination, especially during tax season. Who doesn’t yearn for a post-April 15 getaway?! I have a family-first mentality and an undying love of football, New York style pizza, and puzzles. I am always searching for new recipes, DIY projects, and life hacks in general. Everyone’s experiences are different and being the spouse of someone very career-oriented, I often find myself seeking out others who are in the same boat. You can find my blog at www.thecpaswife.com and follow me on social media @thecpaswife.