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One of my dear friends has a bit of a mystery love language. In one fell swoop, she will hug you, give you a gift, wash your dishes, clear her calendar to spend time with you, and tell you how wonderful you are. It is kind of hard to pinpoint which love language means the most to her! ~smile~
She knows that I am not a fan of doing dishes. In our dorm room days, I would let dishes stack for days if I was not given a little push to clean up. Now that I have an entire kitchen at my disposal, the temptation exists for me to let dishes pile up much longer! Because of her great heart and desire to please, my friend would wash my dishes every time she came over to dog sit. Even if I left her a note telling her not to worry about the dishes, I would still come home to a sparkling clean kitchen (and it was awesome!). At first I wondered why she felt compelled to clean my kitchen when I was gone, but soon I figured out that she was washing my dishes to show me love through Acts of Service (“Service”). (Thank you, friend! You know who you are. ~wink~)
Service people love to help others out and love to have others help them out! Your Service friends will probably show up with enthusiasm on moving day and seem excited to do you a favor (e.g., get chicken soup for you if you are sick, etc.). These are also the friends that feel so loved and cared for when you serve them in some way.
If your sweetheart speaks Acts of Service, he or she is probably elated when you do an undesirable job such as cleaning bathrooms, filling cars with gas, or grocery shopping. Have you ever fixed an appliance or untangled a necklace only to get the world’s biggest “thank you” from your honey? A good number of us appreciate a thoughtful deed such as taking our car through a car wash, but we don’t necessarily feel loved after such a gesture.
When I was a kid, we had chores divided into days of the week. Monday, I cleaned the hall bathroom. Tuesday, I cleaned the back bathroom. Wednesday, I dusted, etc. Well, for a while, my dad had vacuuming duty on Thursdays – and let me tell you, he hated it. One day, I decided to surprise him and vacuum before he got home from work. He opened the front door just as I was finishing and you would have thought the publisher’s clearinghouse crew was greeting him with a giant check. He was ecstatic! He had been dreading that chore all day and he was so excited that I had taken it off of his plate. He has never officially taken a love language quiz, but I think it is safe to assume that Acts of Service is way up on his list. ~smile~
Recommendations for Showing Love to Someone Through Acts of Service
Help With Chores
This is pretty cut and dry. Help around the house, help in the yard, help with a project, help with a ministry, help with Christmas shopping – the sky is the limit to how much help you can give your Service sweetie. First, find out the chores he or she grossly despises and capitalize on them. Does she hate cleaning out the garage because she always runs into spiders? Be her valiant knight and kill the spiders (and clean the garage)! Is his shower black with filth? What an act of love it is to clean a single man’s shower! Can you fix computers? Then you always have a way to show love through Acts of Service. ~smile~ Can you bake a killer pineapple upside down cake? Oh yes, you have a serving talent to offer! (This could also double for someone who has the love language of Gifts!)
Look for Opportunities to Serve Him or Her
There are obvious ways to help your Service sweetheart, but there are also other ideas which you can uncover by paying careful attention. Maybe he always forgets to get a church bulletin until he is already settled into his seat on Sunday morning. Slip out and go pick him up a bulletin. He will appreciate the thought. Perhaps she is always forgetting her lipstick. Find out what shade she wears and keep a stick in your car (in the winter) or in your house. She will find it sweet that you were thoughtful and made her life a little easier.
Pamper Him or Her
It is raining. Her car is across the parking lot. Take the keys and trudge through the puddles in an attempt to keep your lady love dry and happy. He is feeling poorly. After three weeks of working sixteen hour days, he is under the weather. Set him up on the couch with his favorite magazines, games (iPad, computer, etc.), and bring him the remote. Make him soup and fluff his pillow. Maybe it sounds cheesy, but he will eat it up! ~smile~
Offer Help to Your Sweetheart When He or She is Feeling Insecure
Just as a Physical Touch person needs a hug when he or she is down or a Words of Affirmation person needs a verbal pick me up, Acts of Service people need their sweethearts to serve them. If your girlfriend has a huge presentation to give at work the next day and she is feeling overwhelmed, help her organize her files. Bring her a favorite cup of herbal tea. Go fill her gas tank so she does not have to worry about it in the morning while she is crawling with nerves. Tell her that you will bring her lunch after the presentation to help her celebrate its completion! All of this practical help will show your Service person that you highly value her.
Let Your Help Come from the Heart
Make sure you are helping and giving because you want to; however, don’t overextend yourself and feel resentful for doing the lion’s share of the giving. Acts of Service lovers don’t want people helping them out of obligation. They love a cheerful helper! A happy smile and a helping hand translates to, “You are the best and I love you!” And if your honey does speak the language of Service, he or she will probably be serving you a lot as well. After all, it comes naturally for them!
Make Doing Acts of Service a Habit
Neither Eric nor I are Acts of Service people. We could do chores for each other all day – and while we would appreciate them, our love tanks would not be filling. Eric would need hugs and a back rub and I would need him to stop “helping” me and spend time with me. Acts of Service may as well be speaking Chinese to me. Someone could speak it to me all day long and I would have no idea what was being said.
If I had married someone who needed me to show him Acts of Service, I know it would have been a crazy stretch for me. Chances are, I would have needed to make some chores a habit (e.g., surprise him with his favorite meal on the first and third Sundays of the month, etc.). At first, I may have needed a physical reminder (perhaps a statue of a woman vacuuming) to constantly remind me to find ways to serve him. Some days, I might have wanted to throw in the towel, but that would not have been best for my marriage.
Even the most tiresome jobs in life become easier the more we do them (largely because our competence in doing them increases). The faster we make something a habit, the sooner we can stop forcing ourselves to constantly think about it. If you need to show your honey Acts of Service, make yourself do it faithfully for a while and before you know it you will be doing it without thinking twice!
What are some unconventional ways you can show your sweetheart love through acts of service?