Acts of service means doing things – be it chores, child care or running errands – you know your spouse would like you to do. You look to please the other person and express your love by doing things for each other. Love must be freely given, so be sure no one is feeling forced into acts of service. We can request things of each other, but demanding something from another feels quite different. This may require you to examine gender roles within your household and if certain expectations came into the relationship without being spoken. Remember that requests give your love direction, but demands can stop the flow of love.
Acts of service can be used as an exercise in frugality as well. Accomplishing an act of service can save you and your household money in the long run. This can add to the warm feeling your partner may receive should budgeting be on his or her mind. Alternatively, if you find yourselves with more money than time, paying someone to do the act of service could also be an option; however, you will want to discuss this with your partner before moving forward. Present this option as a way to take some day-to-day tasks off everyone’s plates so you all may spend more quality time together.
It is important to communicate precisely what you would like most for your partner to do for you. Doing simply what you think he or she would like is quite different from doing what your partner really wants. To get started, try having both you and your partner make a list of five acts of service that you feel would not only be helpful to you, but would also make you feel cared for. Keeping the list concise will make it easier to follow. Plus, each item will not only be more likely to be completed, but the list will be less overwhelming to your partner. Try these suggested items for two months, then check in with your partner to see how everyone is feeling about the experiment.
As time goes on, the feeling of being “in love” will eventually fade and the work will begin. Long-term relationships tend to ebb and flow, so you will want to ensure you have a strong basis of the relationship to fall back on in times of need. Our actions and how we express love are often influenced by the model of our parents, our own personality and our perceptions of love. Understanding your partner, where he or she originally learned about love and which particular acts of service they appreciates most will help you get over the difficult humps in your relationship and get you back on track to smooth sailing.