The best quality relationship is an equal relationship but, since we live in a competitive society, equality can be rare or fleeting. For that reason, I believe a quality relationship can be measured by how much quality time is present in a relationship. And it’s much easier to describe quality time than it is to describe quality.
Parents spending quality time with their children is one example of quality time being spent between people with very different levels of responsibilities and power. Children need a sense of security and safety at all times and they usually experience that sense of security in the presence of a parent. However, in quality time, the strength and authority of the parent fades into the background as the parent and child become absorbed in status-free enjoyment of an activity or game. In quality-time, there is a mother-child-game oneness that is experienced as total enjoyment of each other’s company.
Adults can have quality time as equals when any status difference between them, or differences in responsibilities and duties, fade into the background as people exchange opinions, knowledge and skills as equals. People feel secure in the company of their peers and speak openly and honestly, which increases trust. The setting can be in a club, organisation, committee, and so on.
Legislators can have quality time when they allow party differences and status differences to fade into the background as they discuss policies or ways of governing. In a similar way, parents can have quality time together in a parenting group discussing how kids should and shouldn’t be treated, or discussing the parenting role in general.
A quality relationship in an unequal society doesn’t require a conversion to equality. But it does require that any necessary, or agreed, differences in duties, responsibilities or status mainly fade to black, so quality time can be spent between individuals who are equal as people.
Bob Myers, author of Travelling the Road of Peace and Happiness.