By Tawny May
Last week we discussed the love language of receiving gifts--the love language that presents the recipient with something tangible he or she can hold onto that represents the love of a spouse. Let's put a spin on that and talk about acts of service. These love languages are very similar; the biggest difference is that the receiving gifts routinely involves something physical being given, where acts of service is typically an action being given.
You know that phrase, "actions speak louder than words"? This statement couldn't be more true for those whose primary love language is acts of service. Dr. Gary Chapman tells a story that goes like this: Maxine and David had been married for 15 years. She tells Dr. Chapman that she's frustrated with her marriage because her husband always says he loves her, but he never shows her he loves her. He quotes Maxine saying, "If David loved me, he would do something to help me."
Although David was telling Maxine he loved her, her love language was acts of service and not words of affirmation. Dr. Chapman taught David about the love languages (particularly acts of service), and sent them on their way. A month later, Maxine said their marriage was better than ever!
The take home messages here are to know your love languages and to be patient--it takes time to learn how to speak a new language. Give your spouse guidance if you know you'd receive love through acts of service. Tell him or her, "It would really mean a lot to me if sometimes you would ____..." but remember this: The mind frame of, "if you loved me, you'd do ____ for me" is manipulation. Be sure your suggestions are pure and unassuming; true acts of service are to be given voluntarily.
Two quick examples:
1) My husband's good friends, Jake and Brooke, and I were talking about this a few weeks ago; Brooke said that her husband, Jake, always fills up her car with gas. If he notices her car is getting low on gas, he'll pop over to the gas station and will top her off real fast. Small, simple, but so sweet, thoughtful, and helpful!
2) Just tonight, my man and I walked out the door to run some errands when he suddenly disappeared. I found him a minute later down the walkway rubbing a stick into the pavement. He'd seen a spyi-der chillin by our door and he played sleuth to kill it without me noticing. But I'm glad I did notice because that little moment filled me with love - I was so grateful (especially when I pried it out of him that it was a black widow). That little act of service filled up my love tank!
Here are some more ideas to get your creativity going for how you can speak this love language more fluently:
The best possible way for me to think about the acts of service love language is to equate it with going the extra mile. If there's something you know you really shouuuuld do for your spouse but you're just.. not... feeling like it? Yeah, if you do that? It's definitely an act of service. If your lover receives love through acts of service, that pretty much means you need to up your thoughtfulness game stat. Go the extra mile! You'll be amazed at the results you'll see.
You might also enjoy learning how to live the love languages of Physical Touch, Receiving Gifts, and Quality Time.
Photo Credit: Caitlinn Mahar-Daniels
“Marriage is a mosaic you build with your spouse. Millions of tiny moments that create your love story.”
You Know You Want to Read
Everybody Loves These