Throughout time I’ve had many conversations with people about their relationships with their families or with their girlfriends or boyfriends. Among all, there was one case that struck me the most; a colleague of mine was rather heartbroken after his mom had passed away because he felt he had never truly connected with her. Moreover, he doubted she had ever loved him, because, as a child, she had never showed affection through physical touch, like other mothers had.
We made an interesting discovery right after I asked him if she did “Acts of service”. Expressing love through “Acts of service”…what is that? 20 points at scrabble?
No, it’s actually a love language that manifests through one’s ability to provide for the needs of others. It’s basically taking care and being receptive, at its best.
After clarifying the concepts we were dealing with, this mate had the surprise of finding out his mom did love him because she had always made sure he had the proper clothes, put food on the table and tended to every other material need he had as a child. He understood that just because they had different love languages, it didn’t mean there was no affection there.
So, if your partner does all the annoying and boring things you don’t like doing, then he’s speaking “Acts of service” and maybe, you’re not listening. One of the keys in identifying your loved one’s primary language is to be receptive; observe their movements. Is the gas tank full when it should have been half empty? Are your keys on the small table in the hallway? How did they get there? You usually forget them in the car.
Has the trash been taken out? And the list may continue… You get my point.
Performing “Acts of service” also means being there for when your partner needs you and catering to their needs. For instance, if she had a horrible day at work and she’s exhausted, help her relax by making her some tea, giving a massage or preparing a hot tub, if that is what she likes. Of course, another key here is to know what your partner enjoys and be patient enough to learn if you discover yourself clueless about these things…
My recommendations for learning how to speak this love language are:
- Help with chores.
- Look for opportunities to serve him/her (what I said about paying attention).
- Pamper your significant other (if you’re preparing a hot tub, why not order some pizza in the meantime? .. or some healthier food ..).
- Give reassurance when your partner is insecure .
Before moving on, I’d like to detail the last point I’ve just made by giving an example: your husband has an important presentation tomorrow for which he is overly-stressed. Offer to help him organize his files, listen to him practice his speech, prepare the coffee the following day and if everything went well, why not, go and surprize him with homemade lunch to celebrate.
Below you have popular acts of service that have and will continue to warm people’s hearts:
- During the cold months, put a towel in the dryer while your spouse is showering so it’s all fluffy and warm when he/she gets out.
- Clean the kitchen or bathroom; do the dishes.
- If you are a man, stop postponing fixing the sink or changing the lightbulb. Do it now!
- If he/she is a food enthusiast, cook a special meal.
- Fill up the g
as tank without being asked.
- Drop your spouse at the door when it is raining. Especially at work!
- For men: Open car doors for your girlfriend or wife.
- Go to the store and buy items you know he/she loves—without being asked.