Acts of Service

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?