Love Language #4: Acts of Service

by | Aug 27, 2009 | love, relationships

This post is the fifth post in a series about The Five Love Languages. For more information, read my Sunday, 8/23 post and click on the link above to visit The Five Love Languages website.

(I want to begin today by saying and reminding that learning The Five Love Languages is so important as we relate to people. Even if you aren’t married, what you are learning can be applied to ANY relationship…and I have to say, it’s kind of fun to figure out who in our lives have which love language(s). Have fun with this!)

The fourth love language is Acts of Service. Dr. Gary Chapman explains, “Acts of Service means doing things your know your spouse would like you to do. You seek to please her by serving her, to express your love for her by doing things for her.”

He continues, “Such actions as cooking a meal, setting a table, washing dishes, vacuuming, cleaning a commode, getting hairs out of the sink, removing the white spots from the mirror, getting bugs off the windshield, taking out the garbage, changing the baby’s diaper, painting a bedroom, dusting the bookcase, keeping the car in operating condition, washing or vacuuming the car, cleaning the garage, mowing the grass, trimming the shrubs, raking the leaves, dusting the blinds, walking the dog, changing the cat’s litter box, and changing water in the goldfish bowl are all acts of service. They require thought, planning, time, effort, and energy. If done with a positive spirit, they are indeed expressions of love.”

This is my friend Jeanie’s secondary love language, and it was my mom’s primary love language. I also believe it’s my mother-in-law’s as well. Mom loved to cook for her family. She was the master at keeping our home clean. She loved to sew. She loved to iron…in fact, she would come out each week or every other to do my ironing. Doing that made her feel good, and it was her way of showing me that she loved me. She used to come out and weed my garden. She used to bake extra banana bread and give us a loaf. She would hem our pants, sew on our buttons, and did anything else in the sewing area for us. She loved to watch Ali and Zach anytime she could…to spend time with them and help us out. (Her secondary language was Quality Time. 🙂 )

Mom loved it when I would do things for her. When she was frail and sick, I could still show her love by washing her hair, curling it, and making her feel pretty in the process. She would always say, “Oh, Julie, this feels so good. Thank you for doing this for me.” It brings a smile to my face as I’m writing this. 🙂 I would make sure she had clean laundry, and have her clothes hung up and folded just the way she liked. I would bring her homemade treats and extra food. I would organize her many, many pills in a monthly pill box. I would run errands for her. Those were ways I could really show her how much I loved her…because her love language was Acts of Service.

If I could have two secondary love languages, this would be almost tied with Receiving Gifts in matter of importance for me. Bill has picked up on this…he will get groceries for the week after getting off work. He will surprise me by washing and vacuuming my car. He does his own work laundry. He folds towels and other laundry…even without me asking. He makes more dinners for our family than I do most weeks. He mows the lawn, trims around everything, and he even helps pull weeds in the flower garden. The other night I was in my office and I heard the vacuum running! All these things that he does are expressions of his love, and I so appreciate them! That’s why he does them.

Many times I have come home from working or whatever at night, and Ali has completely cleaned the house! She melts me every time she does this! 🙂

How should we communicate with someone who has Acts of Service as their love language? Use actions words like “I can,” “I will,” “What else can I do?” Actions? Helping with house and yard chores, repair/maintenance and acts of kindness. What to avoid? Ignoring spouse’s request while helping others.

Is there someone in your life who has Acts of Service as their love language? They consistently volunteer to do something for you. They bring you homemade goodies. They want to help you paint your home, move, or anything else. They bring your dinner. Try doing something back to help this person…it’s easy if they are your spouse. See what the response is…if there’s not much response, then he/she might not be an Acts of Service person.

Tomorrow we’ll learn about the fifth love language…Physical Touch!
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