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Don’t Bring Me Flowers! Fix The Toilet! – Part IV


“Acts of service” is the love language that probably takes the most effort.

When you are in a relationship with someone who naturally is wired to express love with an act of service, it comes very easily for him or her.

  • The friend who jumps up from the dinner table and helps with dishes.
  • The brother who shovels your driveway before you get home from work.
  • The spouse who makes your lunch for work the next day.

As much as we all love receiving acts of service, it can be daunting to try to “do” things for someone else when we don’t have the time, can’t think of what to do or simply are not motived by that love language. However, there are some simple ways to perform acts of service without feeling the pressure to think of something to make another person feel loved.

The great part about acts of service is that unlike the other love languages, it that they are more specific in nature. For example, think of the “hone-do” list. By all definitions, that is a list of things that will make the other person happy as each one is checked completed. It is a bit more awkward and can even sound needy to have a “honey-do” list for the other love languages posted on the frig:

“Hold my hand in public for 5 minutes.”

“Tell me I’m attractive.”

“Don’t talk on the phone with your friend while you are driving with me.”

“I want a new set of golf clubs for my birthday.”

Act of service can be well defined without sounding insecure. By following a few guidelines, two people can mutually agree to fill the need in an honoring way. Here are some things to consider:

  • Watch what the other person does in their routine and choose one thing to do for them. Examples:

    • Put the other person’s music selection on in the car, not your own.

    • Offer to carry something: books, groceries, trash to the garbage can…

    • Scrape the snow off the windshield, take off your shoes in his/her house, set the table for a meal.

  • Think like the other person. Examples:

    • Give him/her the better seat in the restaurant

    • Wipe out the sink after you wash your hands

    • Wipe your feet and take off your shoes. Put them next to the other shoes.

  • Make a list. Examples:

    • If you are just getting to know each other, a list will set you both up for failure. Instead, focus on either praising the person for ways in which he or she has demonstrated acts of service or ask what you could do for that person that would be helpful.

    • If you have been dating for more than six months – it is ok to have a “honey-wish” list within reason. The key word is “wish.” If you demand or expect another person to shift immediately from operating in his or her own love language to yours, you will end up feeling unfulfilled and needy. Try small incremental ideas first.

    • If you are married, EXPECT a “honey-do” list and don’t fight it. Just be careful with time limits or unrealistic expectations. Remember that usually one of the spouses does not operate under the love language “acts of service” so it may not satisfy a need for him or her as much as feel like a never-ending checklist.

The easiest way to know how to express love to someone wanting acts of service is to remember it’s not how you feel about the person, what you say or even your good intentions. It is simply what you DO.

Join us for the series on Love Languages:

Parents with teens dating? Prepare them for healthy relationships HERE

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About Lisa Jander

Teens call me, "Mama j." Parents call me the “Teen Dating Mechanic.” I believe that by teaching teens about the risks in dating we can shift their thinking about relationships in this culture. As a Certified Relationship Coach, Public Speaker and Author of a book titled, “Dater’s Ed: Driver’s Ed Model for Dating,” I am passionate about promoting family education to STOP reckless dating before it begins.

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