5 Ways to Show Love to Your “Acts of Service” Husband

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Have you read the book, The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman?  You definitely need to if you haven’t already!  I believe that every married couple should read this book.  It has been one of the best resources for helping me understand my husband’s needs and the types of things he responds to.

For those of you who haven’t read the book, I’ll give you a quick idea of the gist.  The concept is that there are five basic ways people show and feel love.  Words of Affirmation, Touch, Gifts, Acts of Service, and Quality Time.  Each person has their own love language (or a mixture of several).  The point of the book is to identify your love language(s) and that of your spouse.  Understanding your spouse’s love language will show you the things you need to do to make that person feel loved.

After taking the quiz in the back of the book (The quiz is quite accurate.  It nailed both my husband and I pretty well!), I discovered my love language is Quality Time.  I feel loved most when my husband makes a point to spend time with me, when he sits down and has a conversation with me without distractions, or when we have a meal together without looking at our cell phones.  (Those are just a few examples).  My husband, on the other hand, feels love by Acts of Service.  He feels my love most when he sees me doing things that show him I was thinking about him.

Now, not only do people receive love in their love language, but by nature, they give love the same way.  So for example, my husband often does things for me to make my life easier that I, unfortunately, don’t happen to notice.  He sometimes does the dishes, fills my car with gas, sweeps the floor, etc.  If I notice him doing one of these things I think, “Aw that’s sweet.”  But my thoughts stop there.  I fail to realize that by him doing chores for me around the house, that is him showing me that he loves me.  In his mind, he’s giving me love in the way that he knows best.

So the idea is that by learning your spouse’s love language, you will fight your natural urge to show love your way (because your efforts may go unnoticed).  Instead, you focus on showing love in the way that your spouse best understands.  My husband now knows that doing things for me is not going to evoke the best response…  but coming home early on a Friday to spend time with Little One and I will.  That doesn’t mean that he has stopped doing things for me altogether… because cleaning the dishes and sweeping the floors are a definite help to me while I’m taking care of a baby all day long!  And doing those things earns him some major kudos!  But he knows not to RELY on those things to show me love.

The trick is that while your spouse should try to learn and speak your love language, you can’t forget to look for the times that he/she shows love in his/her own language.  Because while it may not be what speaks best to you, you can still learn to notice and appreciate the fact that to them what they’re doing speaks volumes.  It’s all love anyway, no matter how it’s shown.

It has taken a while for us to understand what we both need in order to feel loved, and we are still working on it every day.   I particularly have a hard time showing love to Outdoor Broker because it usually requires DOING THINGS, and I feel exhausted all the time these days!  But that just means that I need to push through and maybe pick the house up while Little One naps, instead of taking a rest to read a book.  Because at the end of the day, I may be completely worn out.  But instead of Outdoor Broker coming home to a cluttered house that adds to his stress, he will enter a clean, pleasant home and be able to rest his mind and shower me with love.

 

So how do you show love to an “Acts of Service” husband?  Here are a few things that I try, or let’s be honest… plan to try, on a consistent basis.  I admit, I fail to do these things quite often.  But they are good goals to have, at least for me, and they keep me thinking of ways I can serve my husband.

 

1. Keep the bed made.

(Or at least make sure it’s made by the time he gets home from work!)  I don’t know about you, but I feel such a sense of peace when I walk into my bedroom and the bed is made and looking all pretty.  It tricks me into thinking that I’ve got it all together.  My husband is the same way.  Even if the house is covered in junk and baby stuff is strewn all across the floor, when my husband walks into the bedroom and sees the bed put together, there’s a sigh of relief.  It might be only slight, but it’s always there.  This may sound like such a simple, insignificant thing, but walking in to a made bed helps put his mind at peace after a long day at work.  So I make a grand effort everyday to make the bed.  A lot of times it’s at the end of the day after his call telling me he’s on his way.  But I make sure to run into the bedroom, place Little One in the Pack N’ Play, and get that bed made!

 

2. When your husband asks you to do something, do it.

Outdoor Broker asked me to clean out the refrigerator a while back.  Well, that wasn’t high on my priority list.  I had a ton of other things I wanted to be doing, and cleaning out the fridge wasn’t one of them!  So I put it off.  He asked me to do it again.  I said I would, but put it off again.  And this went on for a while.  I’m pretty sure we might have gotten in a fight over it at some point, which was probably the extra push I needed to go ahead and clean it out.  If I had just cleaned it the first time he asked, we could have avoided a lot of problems.  Even though it wasn’t important to me, it was to him.  And the fact that it was important to him should have put that fridge at the top of my priorities!  But I was selfish and unthoughtful.  I think of the feeling my husband would have had it he had come home the day after he asked and found the fridge clean.  He would have thought, “Wow, that woman loves me.”  Instead, he had to come home day after day to see that his fridge was still a mess and wonder how much I really value his desires.  My advice?  Make what’s important to your husband important to you!  And just clean out that fridge!

 

3. Do a chore that he normally takes care of.

Put on your big girl panties and mow the lawn, take the car the have the oil changed, wash the car… just do any chore that your husband typically does.  For me, that means something even as small as dragging the trash can to the end of the driveway on trash day.

 

4. Surprise him with something he enjoys.

Outdoor Broker says that his favorite thing I ever did for him was the day that I surprised him with an afternoon of canoeing at the lake.  This was during our first year of marriage when I was still a little “crazy in love.”  I spent a big part of my day getting the canoe on top of the car… by myself.  If I were to do this type of thing these days, I’d recruit one of my husband’s manly friends to help me.  But back then, I was new to town and a little less resourceful.  I somehow managed to hoist that gargantuan monstrosity on to the top of the car all by my lonesome.  I struggled quite a bit, and I’m pretty sure the neighbor gave me some strange looks.  It was probably hilarious to watch.  But Outdoor Broker was shocked when he came home and found the canoe loaded up!  I have done nothing this epic since.  Maybe someday I should do something “crazy” again.  It was definitely worth it.  I have a friend who surprised her husband with a trip to Italy.  He didn’t find out until the day they were to leave.  I could never pull this off, but it was amazing for them!  It’s okay to be crazy when showing your husband some lovin’.

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5. Arrange a babysitter, and go out on a date.

This always sounded so easy to me… until I became a mother.  It’s hard to go out, just the two of you, when you have a child!  For me, it’s hard not only because I’m nursing, but also because I’m pretty attached to my little guy.  I don’t like leaving him.  I’m also particular about his sleep schedule, and no one can make it work like me!  Haha.  Can you say… control freak?!  But I know it would mean a lot to my husband if I arranged a way for us to go out together sans Little One.  Ladies, nurturing your marriage becomes even more vital when children enter the picture!  I am learning how hard that is, but how oh so important it is also.  Make a way to spend time alone.  It will show your husband that he’s still important to you, and it will nurture your marriage in return.

 

If your husband’s love language is Acts of Service, give these five ideas a try!  You might see pleasant results!  (I’m sure you’ll find pleasant results doing these things for your husband regardless of his love language!  You can’t go wrong when doing something out of love!)  But just as a disclaimer, they are specifically tailored to my husband and are the types of things I know he responds well to.  Every man is different… so tweak them how you see fit to make them work for you and your husband.  Happy loving and God be with you and your marriage!

2 Comments

  • Jennifer says:

    I came across your article on Pinterest and I know you wrote this over a year ago but I find that we have our love languages in common, my significant others love language is acts of serve like your husbands and mine is quality time. What are some other things you do for your husband? And what does he do for you to show you love through quality time?

    • mandy says:

      I am sorry for my super late response, Jennifer. I took a long break from my blog. But I am back and I’m going to start posting much more often. I would like to answer your question.

      As far as some other things I do for my husband whose love language is Acts of Service… I pay close attention to the things that make him happy, and make a point to do them. For my husband, who happens to be a little OCD and loves a clean house, a lot of what makes him happy involves the atmosphere of his home. For example, having a clean suit, pressed dress shirts, clean undershirts, etc. at all times makes him happy. When we’re behind on the laundry, it physically stresses him out. He likes to feel ready and prepared for work, and when his clothes aren’t clean, he feels unprepared. It also helps him relax to have the clutter picked up around the house, minimal dirty dishes in the sink, and general cleanliness around the house. The point is that I take note of the things that stress him out, and try to minimize the possibility of stress as much as I can.

      So as far as things he does for me with my Quality Time love language… a big one is putting away the cellphone when he’s with my son and I. When we are having a conversation, he minimizes his distractions and gives me his full attention. He makes sure to get home from work early enough to spend time with our son before his bedtime. He keeps his weekends open in order to spend time with me. He asks me what I think before he decides to go hang out with his buddies.

      These are just a few examples, and I hope that answers your question! Thank you for your comment!

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