The 7th Love Language

A while ago, I wrote a post about the 5 love languages. At the end of that post, I jokingly mentioned that the 6th love language (one that is not officially recognized by the creator of the love languages, Dr. Gary Chapman) is chocolate.

Through a number of discussions and experiences the last few years, I think I’ve discovered a 7th love language.

First, a little bit of personal history: I seem to date a lot of women whose primary love language is quality time. Maybe that’s just my experience, or maybe a disproportionate number of women identify quality time as their #1 love language.

However, whenever I hear or recognize that a woman’s love language is quality time, I get a little worried, because time is the toughest gift for me to give. I’m highly protective of my time, and I don’t need a lot of time with other people to be happy. In fact, I need quite a bit of time without other people to be happy.

And yet…in its essence, quality time is something I truly enjoy. Dr. Chapman defines quality time as “giving someone your undivided attention. I don’t mean sitting on the couch watching television. I mean sitting on the couch with the TV off, looking at each other and talking, and giving each other your undivided attention.”

Based on that definition, I’m in. I love connecting with other people in that way. I don’t like small talk, and simply spending tons of time with someone else for the sake of counting those hours does nothing for me, but spending truly quality time with someone I care about means a lot to me.

This is where the 7th love language comes in. Again, this is just a theory: I believe that the 7th love language is quantity time. And I think that a lot of people (specifically, women I’ve dated) who identify quality time as their love language actually mean quantity time.

Whereas quality time entails giving someone your undivided attention, quantity time is simply occupying the same space with someone for large amounts of time. Here are two examples of quantity time from my distant dating history:

  • I dated a girl long-distance for a while, and it was really important to her for us to talk on the phone for at least an hour a night. It didn’t matter if we had anything important to talk about or share–the time mattered much more than the quality or connection. I would have preferred to chat just a few times a week and really connect during those times, or only call when she or I had something we really wanted to share.
  • I dated a woman for a few months who perceived that we were drifting away if we didn’t spend a full evening together at least once every couple of days. During those evenings, she was perfectly content just watching TV together. What mattered to her was that I was making the choice to be with her for those chunks of time instead of doing something else, even though we weren’t really connecting.

For a long time I’ve looked down on quantity time because it was so often under the guise of quality time. But here’s the thing about love languages: You have to suspend judgment and instead try to understand where the other person is coming from. Just because their love language is different than yours doesn’t mean that it’s wrong.

That said, I don’t think those two love languages should be confused any more. Quality time and quantity time are completely different, and I think they should be identified as such. So from now on, the unofficial love languages in my mind will be:

  1. Gifts
  2. Quality time
  3. Physical touch
  4. Words of affirmation
  5. Acts of service
  6. Chocolate
  7. Quantity time

Which is your #1, and which is your #7?

You can also find my 15 workplace love languages here.


6 Responses to “The 7th Love Language”

  1. Red says:

    I don’t know if a goal of a language is important to you, but I think what you’re calling quantity time is important to establish a common frame of reference. The more common the frame of reference in a relationship, the easier it is to converse on the topic, because the responsibility of establishing abckground no longer resides on one person. In my family, the men do this accross distances with Movie Quotes. Throw out a Last Crusade or Armageddon reference, and someone else acknowledges it, you know they liked and value that film (you don’t usually remember quotes from something you didn’t like). Same with watching TV, or reading something similar (see: book club).

    Also, your quantity time gives you the chance to talk about things that just aren’t that important. But if the strength of the relationship is actuallty in the little stuff, and you share more of the little stuff, there a stronger commonality is created. While pound for pound, quality time is a better use of your time (to your point), larger amounts of lesser quality time still build a stronger commonality. It takes commitment and patience moreso than effort. In this scenario, I’d compare building a relationship to Barbecue. Sure, I can grill a chicken breast in under 10 min. But with the right prep, commitment and patience, the best rack of ribs take hours to cook.

    • Katie says:

      The barbeque metaphor is awesome! All you needed was some kind of reference to a dry rub or something. πŸ™‚

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      John–That is a great analogy to ribs. And like I said, there’s no judgment for quality versus quantity–it’s merely how different people feel the most loved.

  2. Neha says:

    Maybe it’s not just that the women you date really value quantity time, but that they know how selective you are with your time. Meaning, I wonder if the women you date value quantity time more because they know how important your alone time is to you. Like if a guy was a big football fan and never missed a game, it would really show his girlfriend he cared if he was willing to skip watching a game to go run Sunday errands with her. It’s not like the errands are particularly important to her, but it’s the sacrifice that makes her feel loved. I wonder if you downplayed how much you love your alone time, the women you date would downplay how much they value quantity time.

    Also, according to the quiz my love languages are tied- words of affirmation and gifts. And by tied I mean gifts won by a point, which is kind of embarrassing. Apparently I’m shallow πŸ™

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Neha–A few comments on your comment:

      1. You have a good theory, but I don’t think the love languages quite work that way. I don’t think they’re dependent on the other person all that much. I think it’s moreso that a woman might know that it’s a big gift/sacrifice for me to show my love to them in the form of quantity time if that’s their love language, but that’s as far as it goes. In other terms, for you, if acts of service is not your love language and a guy does an act of service for you, even if it was difficult for him to do, it won’t make you feel all that loved because it’s not your love language.

      2. I don’t really wanted to be “tested” in terms of the amount of time I spend with a woman I’m dating. I know that’s not exactly what you were saying, but if a woman is aware of that, I’d hope she could just give me the time and space I need, not push those boundaries, especially if it’s not her love language in the first place.

      3. Gifts aren’t shallow at all! It’s just the way you feel loved. πŸ™‚

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