More than nuts and bolts acts of service

Acts of service can be a tricky love language because what seems like an act of service to you may not seem that way to her. As an example, a female friend of ours said, “Unloading the dishwasher is not an act of service, it just means you live here.”

Doing something she thinks you should do, or something she does not mind doing, is not much of an act of service. Doing something she enjoys doing is actually a negative thing, even though you are “helping out”.

So, what “counts”?

  • It’s a real blessing to sometimes do for her one of “her jobs” that she does not enjoy.
  • If you have been less than diligent about something that is “your job” – becoming regular at doing it will bless her.
  • Being quick to do anything she can’t do (because of the strength needed, or some knowledge of skill she does not have). Being dependent on you for things will feel unsafe if you have a habit of not taking care of those things when she feels then should be done. OTOH, if you routinely cover these tasks well, she will feel safe being dependent on you, and this can make her feel closer and more loving.
  • If you have kids, teach/help them to do things for themselves, and do a reasonable share of the needed housework. Without your help and support on this, she may decide it’s ultimately easier to do things herself than try to get a stubborn or forgetful child to help out. The act of service here is taking over the responsibility of reminding nagging to get the kids to do what they should.
  • Finally, if you promise to do something, do it – and do it completely and in a timely manner.

If you feel she nags you about doing things, ask yourself why? Do you let her down in some areas? Her nagging may not be about the thing that is really bothering her. On the other hand, she may nag as a habit that came from before she was with you. If she was in a relationship where nagging was the only way (or best way) to get things done, she may do it to you out of habit. Likewise, if her mother nagged her father, she may do it without even realising what she is doing. If you feel she nags unfairly, ask her if she feels you don’t do things when you should, or if she feels you only do thing “on time” because she nags. It’s not an easy habit to break, so give her some grace. Be sure to keep doing things in a timely fashion so she will learn the nagging is not necessary, and check in with her every couple of weeks to see how she is feeling about it.

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