Loving in a Perfect World
In a perfect world, every couple would speak the same love language. Showing your honey love would come as naturally as breathing and blinking. But, alas, it is not a perfect world. It is an interesting world. The uniqueness of our other halves keep us on our toes and constantly growing – that is, if we allow our differences to breed growth and not turmoil.
Neither Eric nor I are primarily acts of service – and we often joke about how sad it would be if one of us was. Eric could take two weeks off of work and fix everything in the house and it still would not make me feel loved. I would appreciate it tremendously – maybe even expect it at some level – but it would not translate to “I love you, Heather.” Now, if he stopped his work, sat down with me, looked me in the eyes and said, “Tell me about how you are doing. Let us spend tonight talking and eating ice cream. Does that sound good?” I would see stars and rainbows. ~smile~
Still, if Eric was an acts of service man, I could look at all his efforts and realize he was showing me love. Even if I did not feel it to my core, I could tell myself, “See, your man does love you. He is speaking his language, but he is pouring out loads of care at your feet. You are one blessed lady.” Part of the importance of knowing your sweetie’s love language is so you can be aware of when he or she is trying to say, “I love you.”
Get Ready to Roll Your Sleeves Up and Work!
If you do not speak acts of service naturally, you are super busy, or you have a strong play ethic, fulfilling your sweetheart’s need for help (i.e., acts of service) may be tricky. Anyone can choose to serve occasionally, but unless it comes innately to you, you will have to make service a habit – as is the case with any love language you do not speak naturally.
I ran across this insightful quote from a blog post on the 5 Love Languages website:
“The next time your spouse criticizes you, look behind the criticism and see if you can discover their love language. They are trying to tell you what is important to them emotionally. Don’t fight the criticism. Seek to learn from it. Love effectively by learning your spouse’s primary love language and speaking it daily.”
Though the quote was directed at married couples, it can also apply to dating and engaged couples as well.
Now, let us move along to seven more tips for blessing your special someone. If your boyfriend or girlfriend self-identifies as an acts of service person, or you have figured it out from studying his or her behavior, pay close attention to these ideas!
- Do pesky chores! Take note of which chores he or she absolutely hates and help with those tasks when you have the chance. Taking out the trash, cleaning bathrooms, cleaning out the fridge – we all have odd jobs we irrationally hate. Discover your sweetie’s most detested duties, and show your love by removing those burdens when you can. Eric called in our latest Buffalo Wild Wings order and picked it up – and that meant more to me than a dozen roses!
- Help them figure out problems. Eric is the master at figuring out technology. When I am ready to throw my computer out the window, he can click a few buttons and have it working again like new. Sometimes, I would feel so lost if he was not gifted in this way! Acts of service people appreciate having someone fix what is “broken” in their world. This could include changing oil in the car (or taking it to the shop), repairing household appliances, minor plumbing, and figuring out how to work that remote control with 1,000 buttons.
- Center some of your dates around service. After a difficult week, maybe your boyfriend or girlfriend would love nothing more than to stretch out on the couch and watch TV while you make his or her favorite meal, clean the kitchen, and pick up dessert. It is a thought! If you really want to score some points, straighten up and Swiffer as well!
- When he or she asks you to do something, do not put it off (if at all possible). We cannot always jump on every task as soon as our sweetheart requests it, but we can prioritize it and write it down so we will not forget it. It is aggravating when our desires are ignored, but for an acts of service person it is more than annoying – it is hurtful. An angry, “How many times have I asked you to…?” may be a glimpse into his or her heart. The root of the anger is likely emotional pain. So, if you can take care of a request directly, do it! ~smile~ If you cannot, write it down and get to it as soon as possible. It may also help to let him or her know you have not forgotten and that you have plans to get it done.
- Accept his or her help! The language we understand is often the language we speak. Independent people can struggle to open themselves up to a helping hand, but pushing your sweetie away when he or she is trying to help can be received as a deep rejection. If you are fiercely independent or you have tasks you prefer to do yourself, let your significant other know; but, also find ways he or she can help you. Then, when asked, “Is there anything I can do for you?” you will be prepared! For those chores you want completed in a particular way, consider teaching your method to him or her if you are feeling brave. ~smile~.
- Make a list. Heather, why are you so determined to make us list stuff?! Well, for one, it is a short and simple way to get thoughts out of our heads and onto paper where we can further organize them; and, second, making lists prompts us to think of ideas we would not have otherwise considered. Instead of leaving your actions to chance, make a weekly list of ways to show acts of service to your honey. Since he is working late, I will go over Monday and clean his bathrooms and surprise him with dinner. Wednesday, I will take his car to get inspected while he is at work. He always waits until the last minute and I have some free time Wednesday. With a calendar, and a plan by your side, your sweetie’s heart can be constantly refreshed.
- Give them service-oriented gifts. Though you will still want to include some physical items or experiential gifts, wrapping a piece of paper that says, “I will wash your car five times this summer,” or “this entitles you to one free carpet cleaning” may be as appreciated as a diamond bracelet. Even if you pay someone else to do it, that is still providing an act of service. (Though it probably will mean a bit more if you do the work yourself. ~wink~)
Being the psychology nerd I am proud to be, I love sipping coffee and discussing personality types, love languages, birth order, and basically anything psychology related with my friend, Jennifer. Recently, as we were in the midst of a stimulating conversation, I had the thought, “How cool is it that we are all so different?! How boring would it be if we were all alike? I am so thankful God created us uniquely so that even though we can be generally typed through a personality quiz or evaluation, we are still completely different in some way than the rest of the world.”
What can you appreciate about your sweetie’s needs and unique quirks? What does he or she bring to your world that no one else can?
We hope these tips were a blessing to you! If you know someone who is dating, engaged, or married to an acts of service lady or gentlemen, send this post their way!
What chores, errands, or general help can you provide your significant other this week?