Acts of Service sounds like a very simple love language, since it’s based on helpful actions in life. However, not just anything can count as an act of service. Like all other love languages, an act of service requires thought, planning, and positive energy. These acts might be expressed by chores around the house, running errands, doing yard work, or keeping up with car maintenance.
Like all other love languages, it is imperative that you express this as your love language. If you feel loved by having someone else do things for you (i.e. wash the dishes) and they don’t do them, you will feel unloved. But if your partner isn’t aware that’s how you perceive love, then he/she may feel you’re being selfish. Take, for example, my marriage. I express my love by performing chores around the house, running errands, and taking care of our puppy. Making him lunch and dinner are acts of love for me. My husband, on the other hand, just sees these as distractions because instead of cooking, I could be cuddled up next to him watching a movie or reading. Acts of Service is clearly one of my primary love languages, but not one of my husband’s.
Now, at this point you may be thinking, “Good grief, if they would just tell me what they wanted, I would do it for them.” I know exactly what you mean when you say that, but that’s not how this works!! I’ve exclaimed that exact phrase to my husband numerous times, but he got to the point where he would retort, “I shouldn’t take to tell you these things.”
Why would he say this? Well, even though he would tell me exactly what he wanted, I began to resent being told this because I felt like he was demanding something from me. Now, most of you don’t know me, so I’ll be up front with you: I am an extremely stubborn individual. I’m a Taurus and Irish, so that already gives you an idea about my disposition. My father is extremely strong-headed, and I am most definitely my father’s child. There’s nothing wrong with this, but I have a terrible tendency to jump on the defense if you don’t agree with me. And when I feel like I’m being manipulated or forced into something, I will plant my feet and refuse to budge.
In his book, Dr. Chapman states, “Love can’t be demanded. We can request things of each other, but we must never demand anything. Requests give direction to love, but demands stop the flow of love.” This is why it is so vital to communicate your love language with your partner, so that they can communicate without being told or pressured into doing it. Being offered with a list of ways that your spouse or significant other views love allows you to have the options of how to communicate when the time is right.
12 Acts of Service
- Give the kids (or the dog) a bath! If you have children, you know this nightly routine can be time consuming and if you’re the cook in the family, fighting with little ones isn’t the first thing you want to do after you just cooked a meal!
- Keep the house tidy. Whether it’s picking up the toys and shoes, folding the laundry, or taking on vacuuming duty – helping to keep your home tidy will be a sign of love.
- Make them breakfast or lunch one day, so it’s one less thing they have to stress about. This is amazing when you have children!!
- Let your significant other go out with friends while you take care of their responsibilities for the evening. Men need their time alone or with their “boys” and us ladies need our girl time. Try to negotiate an even amount of time through the month where you each get some “chill” time with your friends.
- Helping with their chores around the house. I’m known for doing laundry in our household, but I despise folding clothes. Having my husband help with the folding is very helpful and demonstrates love to me.
- Fill up the car with gas. One of my best friends commutes and hour to work every day, so when she leaves it’s dark and when she comes home it’s dark. After dealing with horrible traffic, the last thing she wants to do is stop for gas. Her husband is a sweetheart and will take her car for gas while she unpacks from work.
- Take over the grocery shopping or other errands for the day. Every Saturday morning is grocery day in our house. I make the grocery list on Friday night and after my Saturday morning run, I head out to the different stops. Having someone take over that duty even just once a month so I could sleep in would be incredible!
- Wash the car. This is my most dreaded task, and I begrudgingly do it. I think most women would agree with me, so men – listen up. Take their car and get is washed one in awhile. I guarantee you she’ll be all smiles!!
- Take the pets or children to appointments, play dates, etc. Been a chauffeur is a part of the role as a parent, but this should be split up equal between both parents. If your spouse is the usual driver, offer to take the keys for a day.
- On long road trips, take turns to drive so that your spouse can sleep and/or relax. Trust me – no one like driving more than 4-5 hours at a time.
- Pay the bills ahead of time so there’s no stress. If you know you have the electric bill every month on the 12th, let your spouse know that it’s covered. This will alleviate some stress for them and also share the responsibility!
- Take the kids or dog for a walk (especially if your spouse is the stay-at-home parent). Even just 5-10 minutes of peace to start the transition to the nightly routine is amazing!
I hope you found these ideas insightful and useful for your acts of service partner. Be sure to share with us your favorite ways to express love through acts of service!
This weekend marks the end of our series on Love Languages. I truly hope that this has enlightened even just one person. I know I’ve learned a ton, just from reading and researching!