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2009-05-14 6:16 PM
Love Languages Part 5: Acts of Service
The fourth language in Chapman's five is what he calls Acts of Service. Many people show their love by doing things for their loved ones. Cooking, cleaning, paying bills, walking the dog, mowing the lawn, etc. The range of possible actions is incredible so it is important to find out which specific actions make your partner feel loved. Perhaps I take the time to fill the gas tank on her car so that when she goes somewhere in the morning she never has to worry about running out of gas. However, maybe filling the gas tank isn't important to her and she would feel more loved if I cleaned the cat's litter box instead. If your loved one desires Acts of Service from you then it would be a great idea for them to sit down and write a list of preferred actions that they would perceive as acts of love. Chapman (as well as my personal therapist) is big on making lists because it forces us to think concretely about the issue and put it into words.
They require thought, planning, time, effort, and energy. If done with a positive spirit, they are indeed expressions of love. pg 97
Parental example can play a big role in how we perceive Acts of Service and in which actions we choose to take to show our love. For example, my love language is not Acts of Service but it was clearly my Dad's language. From a very young age I remember that he would always do things for my mom. If my mom needed something from the store, no matter what time of day or night, he wouldn't hesitate to get in the car and go get it for her. However, the actions of our parents won't necessarily reflect the actions we would naturally choose. Due to this influence, it is common that before marriage we'll choose one set of actions to show our love (that come more naturally) and after marriage we'll choose a different set that tends to mirror our parental example.
.. what we do for each other before marriage is no indication of what we will do after marriage. ... Our actions are influenced by the model of our parents, our own personality, our perceptions of love, our emotions, needs, and desires.pg 106
Even though Acts of Service isn't my primary love language I still try to do things for my partner to show how I feel. My lady is allergic to cats and so when she comes to visit I try to air out the house, sweep the floors and dust, etc. in an effort to remove as much allergen as possible. I want her to feel comfortable and welcome in my home and she has been wonderful in her thanks for all my hard work. It's a win-win!
Regardless of your partner's language, are there little things you do for them regularly? Even if they are incredibly small, you'd be surprised how important they might be! What are some things that your sweetie does for you that give you the warm fuzzies?
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