Love Language # 4 - Act of Service
This love language essentially means helping or doing tasks of your spouse proactively to make his/her life easy. If you are a house wife you would expect your spouse to cook meal, help with household activities, make a tea or coffee for her sometimes. Where husband’s expectations will be like wise.
Life gets quite boring when we do only what’s expected from us. If we are not helping each other, if we are not coming out of our comfort zone, then we will never be able to express our concern for the other. Act of service then means being considerate of what your spouse and alleviating his portion of tasks or sharing responsiblities with him/her.
Imagine your wife has served you for 20 years. She had done everything possible for you and you have been utterly inconsiderate of all that she has done. You never helped her, you have never been appreciative of all that she has done and you have made her feel as if she was meant to do what she did and there is nothing spectacular about her work. This way you are ignoring her and treating her like a doormat. This happens when you become too self-centered and fail to understand that you wife needs help.
There are 3 interesting observations which the author has made :
- What we do for each other before marriage is no indication of what we will do after marriage
- Love is a choice and cannot be coerced
- Criticism is an ineffective way of pleading for love
We all are touched by these 3 observations and we truly need to consider love as an action not as a feeling.
Every person has different strengths and weaknesses. They choose tasks based on what they are good at first and then think of what’s required from them. The expectations of your spouse might be such that you need to work on tasks in which you are not that good first. Don’t shy away from doing the task, because your act is an expression of your concern and your love for her.
The spouse also need to understand that we all have our unique strengths and weaknesses. Your spouse might not be good in doing what you do best. You need to lead in such situations. This is where first love language Words of affirmation also come in to play. For example if your husband is not good in cooking but out of concern he has cooked world’s worst dish, don’t make him insignificant or disparage his efforts. On the same note, the husband should understand that doing things for his wife will only make her feel good about you. Don’t shy away with your weaknesses, take feedback and improve in future.
Your husband might not be as good as you are in household activities or vice versa but a he needs your encouragement to improve himself. You got to help him to help you. If you demean his act of service, you will discourage him and he will never think of helping. Remember you are what you are first because of your parents and then because of your spouse.
Having said that it’s very important to also understand that there should be only one leader who should lead from the front, and other should follow with full support and open mindedness. For example, I believe my wife is much better than me in handling relatives, at home and with my son, so there she is the lead and I follow and in may other cases, I lead and she follow. There shouldn’t be two leaders at the same time. This will create conflicts.
This is 5th in the 7 part series of 5 Love Languages book summary.