Acts of Service

February 25, 2009

This week we’re looking at “acts of service” – doing something for your spouse that you know they would like for you to do. Cooking a meal, washing dishes, taking out the garbage, mowing the lawn, changing the baby’s diaper, and painting the bedroom, etc.

If this is your spouse’s primary love language, nothing speaks as loudly as these acts of service. You may give him or her words of affirmation, but they are thinking, “Cut the talk. If you loved me, you would do something around here.” For them, actions truly speak louder than words.

Jesus gave a simple but profound illustration of expressing love by an act of service when He washed the feet of His disciples. In a culture where people wore sandals and walked on dirt streets, it was customary for the servant of the house to wash the feet of guests as they arrived. When we translate this into a marriage, it means that we will do acts of service to express love to our spouse. Why not choose one to express love to your spouse today?

You may be tempted to stop helping around the house because you get criticized. Your spouse’s critical remarks may be your best clue as to his or her primary love language. 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.

When I talk about acts of service as an expression of love, I am not talking about being a slave. When we treat our spouses as slaves, we remove the possibility of love because we remove their freedom. “If you were a good spouse, you would do this for me” is not the language of love. “You will do this, or you’ll be sorry” is manipulation, not love. If acts of service are to be acts of love, they must be freely given. Requests give direction to love, but demands stop the flow of love.

Learning to speak this love language may require some of us to reexamine our stereotypes of the roles of husbands and wives. Is this difficult? Perhaps. That’s why I use the word love language. Learning a new language may be difficult and take time, but it can be done. A willingness to examine and change stereotypes may be necessary in order to express love more effectively.

Is your love language Acts of Service? What are some creative ways that your spouse has filled your love tank?


  1. Oooohhh. This is my love language! Dr. Chapman I am facilitating a 5 Love Language for couples seminar in April. Any suggestions for hands-on ways to reinforce the 5LL with the couples?

  2. My primary love language is Acts of Service. My husband sometimes makes supper/breakfast, he sweeps once in a while, he washes the dishes sometimes, he takes out the garbage all the time, he serves me fruit and other things, he trims my nails, gives me massages and more. My husband speaks my love language in different ways. Thanks for the opportunity to share.I've included your button in my scrolling blogroll. I am so excited to be following your blog. We have been so blessed by your love languages book. My husband and I have used it to minister to married couples and recommend it over and over. We also have the one for children(our children 5&6). I think I'll stop this comment now. I am so excited that you are on blogger and I can get to receive your posts on a more frequent basis. Thanks to your team who left a comment on one of my posts.Have a blessed day!

  3. I love you Book Love Language for the children, I was raised In a dysfunctional Home and Having My own children, I had No Idea what to give them Or How.. that you for Practical and easy ways Of showing Love to them as Individuals!charise Hite

  4. A close family friend has mentioned The Five Love Languages for me and my husband. From reading the comments I’m really excited about reading it and putting it into action.

  5. My husband’s love language is acts of service. It took me awhile to accept and appreciate this because acts of service is not my love language. I have had to be purposeful about doing acts of service in the beginning but now acts of service come more easily.Thank you for sharing with the world the insight that God has given you.

  6. One of your representatives (Kristen maybe?) commented on our blog and recommended your blog to us after one of our authors posted a review of your book. So glad to have found this blog! Thanks for allowing God to use your writing to help multitudes of relationships. Many Christian romance writers use your book as a craft book and as a reference when teaching writing workshops at American Christian Fiction Writers and other various conferences. Blessings,Cheryl Wyatt

  7. I just wanted to say that acts of service are a little way that I can share my love. I looked at service as something huge and outside but it can be as easy as just seeing what some else is doing and do something to help support them… DOing small things help make a big difference in our family… My husband hates the computer cause it takes away from ‘his time’ but when I assured him that I need to visit with friends and family and that I would keep it to 1/2 hour then he was much more willing to encourage my time on the computer. I also hate to do the dishes. He hates to cook. We do the job the other hates and sometimes even do the one we hate. That’s when you know you really are loved…

  8. My husband and I took the quiz and his number 1 was acts of service. However, anytime i fold his laundry, cook or clean…it is much more likely to be over looked then if i stop by his work with a gift or leave him a card. Was his results wrong?

  9. This is just my opinion. Im not Gary Chapman or anything, but this sounds familiar, so im going to comment. It could be that receiving gifts is his second LL. But since the test said his first is acts of service, you wanna focus a little more on speaking that one.Perhaps you should ask him what types of services he would like. Maybe he feels as though you cooking, cleaning, etc are just things that you wanna do to keep your home in order. You have to figure out what acts of service will be specific to him. What he will notice personally. And once you ask him and he tells you a few things, youll be able to understand his needs more and perform services according to his suggestions. Then you can get creative and do other services he didnt mention, because you’ll understand his Idea of an act of service. All men are different, so you as a wife have to figure out what makes your husband happy in that area. Hope that helps! May God bless you and your marriage!

  10. My finance and I read the book this weekend and are working hard to speak each others LL. His were Quality Time and Acts of Service. The concern I have is that we live 1500 miles away. How do I speak his LL so many miles away? Any suggestions would be nice.

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