Who wants to hear the phrase “Actions speak louder than words” just one more time? Probably no one. We have grown up on this phrase and its multiple variations. One of the most recent variations on social media is, “What you do speaks so loudly, I can’t hear what you say.” But if you wholeheartedly agree with the importance of actions over words, congratulations! You “speak” acts of service love language.
But what are the signs of this love language? Follow up to see how acts of service manifest themselves and what to do if your love languages are different.
“Expressing love in the right language. We tend to speak our own love language, to express love to others in a language that would make us feel loved. But if it is not his/her primary love language, it will not mean to them what it would mean to us.”
Gary Chapman, the author of The Five Love Languages for Singles
Love languages were first popularized in the 90s after Pastor Gary Chapman’s book, The 5 Love Languages, hit the shelves. In it, he described the five languages of love and suggested that each of us has a primary love language – how we give and want to receive love.
Even though all love languages are equally valuable, the focus of this article is on the acts of service love language. You may very well see yourself or your partner as you read this. If you’re not sure what your love language is, take this quiz to identify yours.
If your love language is acts of service, you feel loved when your partner performs those acts for you.
How can you be of service to a loved one, and how can that loved one be of service to you? Check out these 6 ways to express acts of service as a love language and what to do if you are its receiver.
If you are a giver of acts of service love language, above all, it’s important to honor how your partner feels and expresses love. Based on that, you can offer your service and make them feel better.
We all have things we do well and others not so much:
If you know what your partner’s least favorite chore is, you can pick up the slack. Maybe it’s blowing the grass of paved areas after a lawn mow; maybe it’s unloading the dishwasher; maybe it’s putting their folded clothes away, cleaning the ashes out of the fireplace, running errands, or other household chores. Whatever these things are, choose a few and take them over. It’s one less thing for them to have to do.
There’s a recent Pew Research study that concludes that when partners share household chores, that partnership tends to be happier – at least the majority of couples say so.
If you and your partner have a good relationship, you will know when they are or have had a bad day. Make plans to perform acts of service at the end of their day.
This can be anything, from picking up their dry cleaning, having a nice dinner ready (cooked or takeout), their favorite cocktail or wine, a shoulder massage, and a bubble bath after this terrible long day. Again, you need to know what they prefer to de-stress so that you can serve up those acts.
Consistency is the key. Whether you are promising little tasks or a home improvement project, don’t promise what you can’t deliver. When a partner has unmet expectations, they can wonder how much you really care. So be careful what you promise to do.
You love them so much, but remember you don’t have superhero powers.
You are committed to showing love to your partner but you have your own responsibilities too. Based on how much time you have, make sure that you can deliver those acts of service when you say you will.
If you know that your partner’s love language is acts of service too, it’s a good idea to have some communication on a regular basis. This way, you will know which act will make them extremely happy:
If your love language is acts of service, you find joy in doing things not just for your partner but for friends and family members too. That’s why when you receive love in this form, you are eager to give it as lots of acts of service.
But it’s important to be aware that some people will take advantage of your kind nature, so be aware. That’s just human nature. Your acts of service can and should involve self-care too. If you want to give love, remember to do nice things for yourself if you are single and between relationships.
Even if you have the same love language, your partner cannot possibly meet all of the needs and desires of your love language. After all, they have school or work obligations and have a right to some independence (e.g., time with friends). Be mindful of this.
If your love language is physical touch and your partner’s love language is acts of service, is your relationship doomed? Of course not. When a couple has different love languages, partners need to understand the other’s love languages and accommodate them, just as they want their needs to be accommodated.
If you are in bed, ready for sex, but your partner is still puttering around in the kitchen to make you an amazing lunch for your day tomorrow, don’t feel frustrated. Remember to be grateful that your lover cares that much about you. They are doing tangible things to make your life better. And you are wonderfully receiving love.
When someone’s love language is physical touch, they will naturally want sex far more than one whose love language is gift-giving or acts of service. If you face this problem but still fail to feel grateful, a sex therapist may be helpful in “translating” the reality of your relationship into each other’s love language – like seeing that sex can be a gift to a partner, for example. And if the issue is deeper than that, the therapist can help them work through this too.
When other’s love languages are creating issues in a relationship, it’s probably time for a date with a therapist who can help the couple to work through their differences in approach to love.
The most important method of keeping a relationship healthy when two different love languages are involved is communication. After all, every partnership is built on negotiation and compromise. If you want quality time, and your lover just wants to cook your favorite meal all by themselves, work it out. The quality time can be you enjoying that amazing meal together and you showing plenty of appreciation for their efforts.
Manifesting acts of service love language from a long distance is indeed the trickiest among all the other love languages. However, it should not be an obstacle to giving and receiving love.
In the case of a long-distance relationship, an act of service may bleed over into gift-giving. Here are some examples of how you can be of service to a partner when there are miles between you:
You’ll have to get a bit creative, but the concept is the same. Focus on what your partner likes and what they do not like to do. How can you accommodate this and make their life a bit easier from far away? Even a little act of service will get their appreciation.
Related reading: Does Distance Really Make the Heart Grow Fonder?
When you deal with acts of service, you need to understand what you should and should not do to care for their needs and desires. In most cases, you can achieve this through healthy communication skills and active attention to things that irritate your partner.
When relationships are strong, partners can have open conversations about everything. For this practice, the talk should include what annoys or irritates you both and make them appreciate and feel appreciated by their partner.
When your partner’s love language is acts of service, here are some “no-no’s” for them:
If acts of service is your love language, you will also have things you would prefer your partner do for you and things not so much. You should not be afraid to “speak louder” if they are not “getting it.” Here are some examples of what you should avoid:
Related reading: How To Maintain Your Individuality While In a Relationship
Lots of relationship experts speak to this acts of service love language. Whether it’s your or your partner’s language, it would be a good thing to study it a bit. In the end, honoring one another’s love languages involves communication, an unselfish attitude, and a commitment to each other.