How to Appreciate Your Partner Whose Love Language is Acts of Service
Acts of service are one of the 5 love languages coined by Dr. Gary Chapman. The other love languages include words of affirmation, physical touch, quality time, and receiving gifts.
We cannot just assume that everyone’s love language is physical touch (and not just sex). Although it is always a thoughtful idea to lean in for a kiss or hold your partner’s hand, there are 5 love languages for a reason.
If your partner’s primary love language is acts of service this can be challenging. This love language is the most time-intensive. It requires time, thought, effort, and dedication. Rest assured, you can stop heavy breathing. Continue reading for some brilliant ideas to wow your partner.
Ask What Acts of Service Means to Them
It is important to understand the ways your partner gives/ receives love
Assuming what gift your partner wants for their birthday is one thing, but there is nothing worse than assuming what acts of service mean to your partner. You may think it means cooking dinner when in actuality it means doing the dishes. If you ask your partner directly, you can’t fail. Have this conversation early on in your relationship, after marriage, after having kids. Because the acts of service may change just as their 5 love languages may change, the longer you and your partner are together.
It is also important to ask your partner directly what acts of service means to them because they may be giving you love without you even noticing. This has been the struggle of many couples; one partner is giving love through helpfulness constantly, but the other partner has no idea and so, feels unloved. Couples have had legitimate therapy over not understanding each other’s love language. Yet, it is so easy just to ask your partner. There is no reason not to love your partner with your 100% best if you are able to understand their love language.
A Little Goes a Long Way
There are so many little things you can do- even more than saying ‘I love you’.
For your acts of service partner, showing you love them is all about quality, not quantity. In fact, for this one of the 5 love languages, actions will always speak louder than words. So saying ‘I love you’ won’t truly show your partner. Instead, try small gestures on a daily basis, such as making their coffee when you know they’re in a rush, or having dinner ready when you know they’ve had a long day.
You don’t have to completely replace ‘I love you’ because even if your partner’s love language isn’t words of affirmation, we all like hearing it from time to time. But if you want to make your love more meaningful, try to do small acts throughout the day. The more meaningful, the more your partner feels loved
Serve Him/ Her
Without becoming their servant
In this day and age, with the feminist movements and efforts to eliminate gender biases, serving your partner may feel against your beliefs. But there are ways to treat him/ her without becoming a mindless servant. Remind yourself that it is about expressing your love. Remember that chivalry is a quality for both men and women. Think: love really does conquer all, and you’ll forget gender biases.
Giving the most meaningful love to your partner should feel good, not that you’re undermining your beliefs. Here are the DO’s and DONT’S to help you stay true:
DONT: Cater to their every whim. Feeling loved isn’t about being overwhelmed with it. And chances are your acts of service partner will naturally want to perform acts of service for you. So, you can’t do it all.
DO: Look for opportunities to serve him/ her. It’s Monday morning and your partner is feeling rushed. Pack him/ her their favorite lunch to mark that off their to-do list and get them out the door on time. You know your partner loathes doing laundry. Sneak in a quick load while they’re making dinner. It’s a win-win for both of you.
DON’T: Get all your ideas from the movies. Opening doors and giving up your umbrella when it’s raining, are nice gestures. But they’re typical. The more meaningful the action, the more love your partner feels.
DO: Be creative. Only you know your partner inside and out, so only you know the little things that will mean the most. Doing something average may go unnoticed as an act of service anyway. Try to wow your partner. Maybe your partner is always losing their chapstick. Place a few chapsticks in several places where he/ she may need one; in a kitchen drawer, in the car, on the nightstand. This is a gesture that shows you did a little extra. Sharing a movie snack on the couch? Red gummy bears are both your favorite? Try sneaking a few more their way, now that’s truly a sweet service!
DON’T: Wait on them hand and foot. Number one, your partner is more than capable. Number two, no one is asking you to be a slave to love.
DO: Pamper your partner a little. You do not need to shower them in lavish gifts, or dazzle them with money, but a little pampering is a great act of service. You can go ultra cheesy: after a long work week of 10+ hour days, set your partner up on the couch, fully equipped with their favorite snacks, a pillow, and the remote. Or you can turn down the cheese a bit: your partner looking a little stressed? Draw up a warm bath and a glass of wine, for just the cure!
You can be sweet without spoiling. Serve, without slaving away. Odds are if you go out of your way even a little bit, your acts of service partner will notice. And it shouldn’t be hard to do considering all the things your acts of service partner does for you.
The Acts of Service are Endless
Need it in black and white? Try these ideas.
You can never run out of good things to do for your partner. Every day there are chores, errands, new things on the to-do list. Doing even just one task for your partner each day can go a long way, but if you really need it spelled out for you, here are some foolproof ways to give your partner all the good feels.
- Check, please! This is a great move, especially if you’re trying to beat those gender norms. If you’re the girl trying to perform acts of service for your man, he may not always approve of this gesture. But even the most chivalrous of men will accept it once or twice. Sneak your credit card in at the beginning of a date and it’ll be an unexpected surprise that he can’t say no to!
- Pitch in There are always chores, chores, and more chores. The work is never done. While still being sensitive to the stage of your relationship (for example, it may be hard to clean a room if you’re just dating), try to help out when you can. Besides cleaning this can be picking up an item at the grocery store, or running an errand because it’s ‘on your way’. Chores are easy acts of service that can be done regularly.
- Make breakfast (or lunch, or dinner) Food is always a good idea. Each meal can have a different impact on your partner’s day. Make them breakfast and he/she will have the confidence and energy to make a successful day! Pack him/her lunch and they will feel extra cared about and lucky to have a delicious meal waiting for them. Have dinner ready and your partner will come home feeling relaxed and loved, especially with a full stomach.
- Remember, it’s the little things Think of your partner’s needs the way you think of your own and the little things should come to you easily. Maybe he has a favorite brand of gum? Carry that in your purse instead. Maybe she has a favorite shade of lipstick, but always forgets hers at home? Keep an extra tube in your car and she’s sure to be amazed.
Acts of service are truly about going above and beyond, in the simplest of ways. There is much more thought behind the ideas listed above, than a generic, let me wash the dishes. If you’re worried your partner wot notice your small gestures? Don’t worry, an act of service partner always notices.
Master Acts of Service
We don’t all speak the same love language, but you CAN show love to your acts of service partner.
The 5 Love Languages are not an exact science, and they are not all or nothing. We do not all speak the same love languages, but you and your partner do speak the same language; love. You don’t have to commit yourself to performing only acts of service for your partner. There are most likely other love languages that are important to him/ her as well. It is the combination of love languages that makes up who we are, and how we interact in our relationships. Understanding each other’s love languages is just an excellent place to start to be able to love better.
If you’ve recently made the shift and tried to do acts of service for your partner, but feel as though it is all for naught, ask for feedback from your partner. The least effective way to give/ receive love is to assume. The love languages are meant to be open and shared. So it is acceptable to ask your partner if he/she has felt loved? If they have interpreted your acts of service as love?
Often our acts of service partners promote acts of service themselves in various ways, even in their occupation. They could be Firefighters, Police Officers, or Nurses to name a few. These workers show they care through their actions/ acts of service to others. If your partner goes above and beyond for complete strangers, don’t you think he/ she deserves your above and beyond? You’ve got this. Show him/her all the ways that they are loved through your acts of service.