Expressing the Love Language of Acts of Service

Acts of Service - Love Language

Have you ever given much thought to how you provide love and appreciation for your partner? You probably show them affection in several ways, from a quick kiss when they come or go to helping them with tasks or spending time together. However, one way is likely more common than others. If your primary means of showing your appreciation is through helping them with tasks in practical, but meaningful ways, you may be engaging in the acts of service love language.

What Are Love Languages?

Everyone says, “I love you,” a little differently. Some use their words. Others offer tokens of appreciation. No matter how you show your affection, it likely falls into one of the five love languages. Coined by Gary Chapman, “love languages” describe how people best show and receive love and appreciation.

Based on Chapman’s theory, there are five love languages:

  • Acts of Service: Affection is shown by doing something to help a partner, like handling a chore or errand for them.
  • Physical Touch: Affection is shown through physical affection, such as cuddling, hugging, or kissing.
  • Quality Time: Affection is shown by spending time with each other.
  • Gifts: Affection is shown by giving thoughtful gifts. The price is less important than how thoughtful the gift is.
  • Words of Affirmation: Affection is shown by praising or complimenting your partner.

Typically, people use and appreciate all love languages. However, most people have a primary love language, which is the one they tend to rely on. According to a survey of over 10,000 people, the most common love language is words of affirmation, with 23% of respondents falling into this category. Acts of service and quality time tied at 20% while 19% of respondents reported physical touch as their preferred love language. Receiving gifts is the least common, with 18% of people falling into this category.

Ideally, both partners share a matching love language, but this doesn’t always happen. However, differences can be overcome by understanding your partner’s primary love language and tailoring your affection to fit. When your partner engages in your primary love language with you, you tend to feel validated, understood, and valued, which can lead to better relationship satisfaction overall.

Acts of Service Explained

Performing acts of service involves showing your affection by helping your loved one. It can be as simple as making sure your partner’s laundry is done before work or preparing their favorite meal.

Some people might feel like it’s a lot of work—and it can be. You’re investing your time and energy into doing something for your partner that might feel tedious or boring. However, if your partner’s primary love language is acts of service, your efforts won’t go unnoticed.

Often, people who value acts of service show a few clear indicators that can provide this insight. They tend to engage in acts of service for you themselves without prompting while simultaneously conveying appreciation when you help them instead. Typically, rather than lavish gifts, they tend to prioritize helping or supporting you in practical ways. However, the best way to know if acts of service are your partner’s preferred love language is to ask them.

Giving Acts of Service

If your partner’s preferred love language is acts of service but yours isn’t, you’ve got a bit of planning to do. However, it’s easy to get into the swing of things and show your partner how much you appreciate them.

Start by paying attention to details. Does your partner drink coffee or tea? How do they prepare it? Get to know their habits and preferences so you can take a load off of them and help them feel loved.

Another easy starting point is to consider things your partner dislikes and take those tasks on. If you live together, what are their least favorite chores? Maybe they hate doing the dishes or handling the yard work. You can volunteer to do those chores so they don’t have to.

It can help to understand both your and your partner’s strengths and weaknesses and use them to help determine tasks to help. For example, maybe you’re an expert mechanic but your partner doesn’t know the first thing about cars. Taking on their routine maintenance or handling repairs without being asked could be a good starting point. If you’re a great cook, you can handle more of the mealtime tasks, or if you can sew, you might repair popped buttons or small tears in their favorite clothes.

Having a partner who prefers to be shown care through acts of service doesn’t mean you have to do all of the tasks around your home. It simply means taking on tasks that your partner would otherwise handle to show that you’ve noticed them and that you care about them.

If you’re still unsure where to start or how to implement acts of service into your relationship consistently, figure out the little things you can do to help that fit well into your schedule. For example, if your partner is often too busy in the mornings to pack a lunch, you might prepare a quick one for them and hand it to them on their way out the door.

Or if they have a brief window during which they squeeze in walking the dog before work in the morning, you might make it a point to have their coffee and breakfast ready to go when they get back. Simple routine tasks that help make your partner’s life a little easier can go a long way in conveying your affection for them.

Receiving Acts of Service

It’s not always easy to implement acts of service into your relationship compared to other love languages. While words can be spoken in seconds or sent over a text, gifts can be ordered within a minute online, or touches can last a moment, acts of service require a certain time commitment. If you or your partner is on a strict schedule, it can be difficult to find the time to squeeze it in.

Like with all love languages, it’s important to communicate your feelings and preference for this love language. Let your partner know that you feel the most appreciated and loved when you receive acts of service. This doesn’t mean they have to do every little thing you ask of them, nor do they necessarily have to squeeze it into every single day. Appreciate the effort, time, and thought put into their gestures of love when they can, and don’t forget to thank them by responding in kind with their love language.

Ideas to Express Acts of Service

If you’re unsure what to do if your partner’s love language is acts of service, here are some grand gesture ideas and simple strategies to get started:

  • Stock their favorite snacks when grocery shopping.
  • Pick up their favorite treat on your way home from work.
  • Book them a spa day or other preferred event and handle the house, kids, or pets while they relax.
  • Pick up one of their chores when they’re busy with other tasks.
  • Set up a luxurious bath experience for them, complete with a bath bomb and candles.
  • Join them and learn more about their favorite hobby, even if it’s not something you’d usually care for.
  • Plan a vacation or trip out of town on your own and surprise them with it.
  • Give them a comfortable massage after a long day.
  • Keep their staples stocked, like toothpaste or their preferred toiletries, so they never run out.
  • Take care of one of their weekend projects, like mowing the lawn or cleaning the fridge out.
  • Pack them their favorite lunch just because.
  • Take care of them while they’re sick.
  • Surprise them with breakfast and coffee in bed.
  • Get their car washed.

Understanding love languages is an important way to communicate effectively with your romantic partner while helping them feel like you care and understand them. However, if you need a little more help navigating your relationship than you can get from discovering your love language, our compassionate counselors are here to help. Contact us today at (866) 653-6220.