To begin this blog series, I have a guest post from my mom Laura, who frequently blogs at Homeschooling with Joy. From my own personal observations, it seems as though Acts of Service is one of the less common love languages, and one of the easier ones to overlook. The people who speak Acts of Service tend to be the ones who are the first to jump up and help, especially in organizations and groups that they care about... which can lead to them being taken for granted. It's a beautiful language to speak, and I hope you enjoy reading what my mom has to share about it!
My love language is Acts of Service. As a mom, I have a lot of responsibilities. Anyone helping out in a tangible way is great on a practical level, as well as making me feel loved. If someone does something for me without me having to ask, well...that speaks love louder than anything.
On the other hand, when people don't voluntarily do anything to help me out, especially when I'm tired or stressed or not feeling good, I get grumpy and, after awhile, makes me feel unloved (or at least taken advantage of). When friends don't make an effort with the friendship and it appears to me as if I have to do all of the work, I really have to take a step back and tell myself that they aren't doing this because they don't love me but probably because they are just as tired, stressed or not feeling good so they didn't think to do it. People who don't have this love language tend to misunderstand what it means. They tend to think that the person with this love language likes to do things for others. Wrong :)
As a mom, and the only one out of a family of nine with this love language, it sure is hard! I'm already expected by everyone to do so much, but it makes it more difficult to remain content when people don't speak my language. Believe it or not, it also has an impact on my relationship with God. When people do things for me that I haven't asked them to do, I feel loved. I think that's why I like the little (and big) surprises that God can give. Those mean so much to me, but unfortunately, they tend to not come as often as I would like. It sometimes takes a conscious effort to remember that someone loves you (God included), even if they don't show it by acts of service.
If someone in your life has this love language and you want to “fill up their tank” then random acts of kindness are huge. Do something, even if it is small, that will help that person out. For example, walking past something on the floor that you know doesn't belong there and just stooping down to pick it up and put it where it needs to be. Time taken: about 5 seconds. Payoff: huge amount of gratitude from me! If you don't know what to do, even just asking what you could do to help is a great start.
They say that people tend to show love in the same language they have, so when I want to make a statement of love to someone I try to do something nice for them; it might be a small thing or it might be a big thing. I might put something away for them or do a chore for them or tidy things up a bit for them. I don't know if they take much notice, but to me it says “I love you”.