Noticing the Small Things - Acts of Service

Monday, January 29, 2018




It took my husband, Logan, awhile to understand that I’d much rather him wash the dishes or change a diaper instead of giving me a random hug or backrub. Heck, it took me awhile to realize I needed Acts of Service to feel loved over the other love languages.

My husband is really great and showing love with compliments and touch. Like, really great. I know many of my friends wish their husbands were the same! So I sometimes feel a little guilty for not seeming to appreciate it as much as others would.

But that’s why it was so helpful to learn about the love languages. Logan is great at compliments and touch because his love languages are Words of Affirmation and Physical Touch. Mine, on the other hand, are Acts of Service and Quality Time.

For the first several years of our marriage, Logan was pretty terrible at taking out the garbage. It just really bothered me. I did most of the housework and really only expected Logan to change air filters and take out the garbage on a regular basis. That’s it! Easy, right?

Well, it wasn’t. Logan just really doesn’t like taking out the garbage for some reason. He’s always been great at helping with the dishes or even occasionally vacuuming and mopping. When we just had one child, I worked once a week while Logan stayed home, and most days I would come home to an immaculate house. He cleaned the whole thing! Yet he still was terrible at taking out the garbage.

I know what’s your thinking...Really, Jen? All this fuss about the garbage?? I know.

Eventually, I realized that I could either continue to let something so silly as the garbage to cause strife in our marriage...or I could just take over the garbage myself. I chose the latter, and I did it because I loved him. My love language is Acts of Service, after all.

I wish I had realized sooner exactly why it bothered me so much that Logan always procrastinated or forgot about the garbage. Yes, I was annoyed that he wasn’t listening. It felt like everybody else’s husband is perfectly capable of taking out the garbage. But I think the more important factor is that I was not feeling very loved. Like I said, Acts of Service is my love language. If he loved me, he would just take out the dang garbage!

Sometimes it’s not so simple though. Logan probably goes above and beyond most husbands when it comes to other things around the house, so I realized I could cut him a little slack with the garbage. No, it didn’t mean he didn’t love me. It just meant that he chose to love me with different Acts of Service - doing the dishes, cleaning the floor, or going through the bedtime routine with our three young boys.

After a lot of effort on both of our parts, we’ve gotten in a good groove with each other’s love languages. If my former self knew just how often Logan now helped me out around the house, many times without me having to even ask, I’m not sure I would have believed it. When I come home from an errand and realize Logan completely cleaned the kitchen while I was gone, I feel so, so loved - even more than I would have had he bought me a nice gift or gave me a massage. He knows it now, too.

Because I very much appreciate the effort Logan puts into Acts of Service, I make sure to show my appreciation in ways that he likes, specifically his love languages. It gives him extra motivation to continue to do those Acts of Service that I love.


Jen is wife to her high school sweetheart, Logan, and mom to 4 boys, 1 in heaven and 3 here. She blogs at Into Your Will about faith, marriage, books, pregnancy loss, and a whole lot of randomness. Her little family loves random dance parties in their kitchen and friendly competition while playing board games. She is constantly striving to accept God’s will for her life, even in the small stuff and especially in the hard stuff.
To give you some incentive to show some acts of service (besides the incentive of showing your spouse they are loved, of course!) I am giving away a Mrs. Meyer's Kitchen Basics Set in your choice of scent. Because cleaning is a lot more fun when it smells nice.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Make sure to check out the previous installments in this series:



62 comments :

  1. This series has been so fascinating to read! I always thought that I was Words of Affirmation...but reading your post makes me think maybe I'm more Acts of Service than I realized. I wonder if you can change throughout your life. Like I appreciate Acts of Service now having kids more than I used to!! ;)

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    1. It is possible to have them change! I was pretty solely Quality Time and kind of Acts of Service before marriage and kids. By the time my second baby came gifts meant A LOT and Acts of Service ranked higher too.

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  2. I'm lucky that both my husband and I are acts of service--but I still need him to actually do something I want him to do in order to feel loved. Plus I seem to be a higher-energy person than him anyway, so I want to tackle to-do lists on the weekend, and he doesn't. --MariaE

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    1. You're one of the rare few to share a love language! It is true that personality types can play into how those love languages come across and get expressed. I'm very extroverted and I like quality time to be going to see a play or trying out a new place in town. My husband is an introvert and his preferred quality time is an old school movie at home with snacks. It can definitely take some translating!

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  3. Ha, the garbage thing has been huuuuuge for me! Growing up, taking out the garbage was always the men's/boys' job, so coming to terms with the fact that even when I ask him to take it out, it may still not happen, has been challenging and requires a lot of intentional humility. I've tried to adapt, but it's harder in the winter when it takes 20 minutes to bundle up the kids just to take the garbage out. Yikes. When I've taken the quiz, though, I come up primarily touch and words of affirmation. Work and especially taking initiative was highly praised as a virtue growing up, though, and I think acts of service is one of my primary giving love languages. I still find the whole determining just one or two languages challenging for myself. I usually rate high for most of them (not gift giving), so it appears I'm just intensely needy.

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    1. Gosh, yes, garbage was always the man's job in my house growing up, so it took me awhile to realize my house as an adult didn't need to do the same. We really have to figure out what works best for our marriage!

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    2. Acts of Service is something I have had to learn to appreciate as a love language. I saw helping out where ever I could as just something one does when you are there. It took me a while to notice that doing things like cleaning the bathroom made a HUGE difference for how my husband felt loved.

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  4. I've really enjoyed this series! Thanks.

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    1. Glad you've been following along!

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  5. I'm definitely an Acts of Service kinda gal as well, while my husband is like yours, Jen. So it means a lot when he washes a load of dishes. First of all, because that's not something he would notice or care about on his own, and secondly, because he knows it's going to make my life easier. <3

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    1. It's totally about the things that show he thought about what would be a direct help for me. Things like asking if any library books are due that he can drop off or getting the diaper wash started.

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  6. He and I both have Acts of Service in our love language. He likes to cook meals for me.

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  7. Acts of Service is my love language. I love when he does simple things that should just be done anyways, like bathing the babies or cooking dinner. Those small things help my day a tad bit easier which i love.

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  8. There is nothing I see more as an act of love as doing the dishes, as I do most of the cooking :))

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  9. I'm more quality time, which my husband is good and not good at giving. When we're alone he is fantastic, but around others it is difficult for him to give me attention. Something we're working on. Acts of Service is big for me too, as this is much of my family, but my husband not so much.

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  10. It seems like we both tend to use all the love languages to show our love and we both seem to appreciate all of those too. I can't drive because I have ptsd too badly from being hit by a drunk driver when I was a teen and a trauma in a car prior to that. Even after years of therapy and medication I still can't and no longer even want to try. My husband is extremely understanding and never complains that he is our only driver, even when it's something like I have to go to an appt. whether it's the dr. or to get my hair done, or shopping or whatever, he goes with me & is as sweet as can be. Also even though I know it is logically silly that I am terrified of all spiders no matter how small and all centipedes. I can capture them in this long bugzooka thing that keeps them away from me but my husband will take them outside for me and let them go to ensure I don't have to look at them or get too close. He does MUCH more than that but those stand out to me because not everyone would be so compassionate, empathetic and never get impatient over it, the way he is with me, even after 15 yrs of doing those things, not one complaint. To me, that really shows love. He's a special man.

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    1. Oh of course I do many things for him too, besides all the common things a devoted homemaker does.. I LOVE thinking up extras to show my love. Some people may think they are silly and I KNOW he even though he loves them he never would expect them either... but that makes me love doing them even more. Each day before he gets home from work, I fold an origami heart onto the paper towel roll and I fold his clean bath towel into a heart shape and set it in the bathroom for him. I often put hearts on his food I cook for him or shaped into one too.

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  11. When he has been at work all day, and he still makes dinner for me. He also knows that I hate meat and will help me out with that one too.

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  12. Acts of Love is pretty much how I love my life. I am not married. I take care of my Mom who suffers from end-stage emphysema. I help her and my family in any way I can.

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  13. He provides for us and I do most of the housework but he does help with the cooking.

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  14. Yes! We're constantly working on communicating about this, but Acts of Love really are vital -- for me they include cooking dinner and doing the laundry. I reciprocate by doing the shopping and cleaning.

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  15. Acts of service was my mom's love language! I love watching my dad unload the dishwasher for her before he leaves for work in the morning <3

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  16. Acts of service isn't a love language for me or my husband, but I figure every mom of young kids appreciates service!

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  17. Your blog is such an inspiration to me. My husband's love language is acts of service. To help our children understand why service is so important, we serve our community as a family. They love it so much that they wanted to donate their Christmas to a family we knew who had lost everything in a fire. It was the best Christmas we have ever had. We had everything we needed. We had each other. Thank you for the great thoughts to ponder once again!

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  18. Oh one for us would be mowing the grass. Normally...the men do it. But...I have learned to do it when it needs to be done and he has been busy. I actually have started to enjoy mowing the lawn...and its always appreciated.

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  19. Acts of Service is also my love language...My husband is great with responding to this. Many nights he will cook dinner while I finish up a project at home or for work and he cleans the bathrooms each week because I cant handle the odor of cleaning solutions due to my asthma.

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  20. I love when my husband washes my car

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  21. Acts of Service are what I get... that and grief otherwise.

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  22. The act that has stood out to me is making great meals

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  23. My top one is quality time, but I like acts of service, too!

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  24. To me, the act that stands out is laundry!

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  25. My husband would scratch my back as an Act of Service

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  26. We both have Acts of Service and quality time. We do acts for each other daily - whether it's taking the garbage out without asking, doing laundry, picking something up for the other one on the way home - we try to be courteous and thoughtful every day. (liz n)

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  27. Yes, my husband is acts of love!! He loves it when I clean the pickups for him

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  28. Acts if service is my husband's love language. He makes lots of meals, which I always very much appreciate.

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  29. My husband definitely has acts of service as his love language and I greatly appreciate it

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  30. We do not, I am not sure what that even means lol. My husband is the least romantic and most hardcore man out there.

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  31. We have Acts Of Service,he helps me out alot around the house ,it would almost be impossible to do by yourself! It doesnt take alot to keep each other happy,he makes me coffee (my favorite). I always try to concentrate on the little things in life!

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  32. I'm lucky to have my husband as the Acts of Service type of love, what with a 3yr old, 2yr old, 1yr old, and one on the way, it's nice to have a little help!

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  33. I've really enjoyed this series! Thanks.

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  34. My husband and I do have an Acts of Service kind of love. We try to do helpful things for one another every day. I'm happy I found your blog and I'm looking forward to reading more posts!

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  35. My husband does a lot of the chores which is very helpful.

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  36. amy guillaume lindermanFebruary 12, 2018 at 8:55 AM

    my husband does the laundry....he knows i hate trying to move in the tiny little room. i like to mow the lawn and don't mind doing the dishes and cleaning.

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  37. This is where we are in a disconnect. It is one part of our marriage that needs work. We both have to be committed to it. Pre-kids my action was to cook, clean, and laundry. Now that we have children I need a bit of help with things as I get overwhelmed yet he is resistant to help me.
    It will take time but eventually there will be a connection. Time..

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  38. My favorite acts of service is that my hubby drives me to all my appointments and errands due me not driving due to my medical issues. My email is traciemcooper0515@gmail.com

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  39. I haven't finished reading the book and have yet to really figure out our respective love languages. We've been together almost 10 years though, so I think we're doing alright.

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  40. It's really all the little things, he turns his car around for me, starts it and kisses me goodbye every morning. I turn down his side of the bed, make his favorite foods and updated my "at home" wardrobe from sweats and t-shirts.

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  41. Hubby has Acts of Service as one of his love languages. He does the laundry and the dishes and vacuums all the time.

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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  42. We work hand in hand to take care of our cats. We shelter elderly rescues. We have 11 at the moment. We also tend to several feral colonies. He loves them as much as I do. (jozywails@gmail.com)

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  43. He provides for us and he actually does take out all of the trash because I just refuse lol! I do all of the other yucky housework though, we're a great team!

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  44. Acts of service is one of my love languages, but he usually doesn't do anything for me. But, every once in a while he will put the dogs out or bring them in for me.

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  45. Acts of service is not our love language, although we are both fairly good at doing them. We share the main love language of touch. Our secondary love languages are different ones, so it is a challenge for us at times, but we truly make a valiant effort...
    Pam C.
    treasuretoday@aol.com

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  46. I don't think Acts of Service is either of ours -- mine is words of affirmation and his is physical touch. This was a thought-provoking post. And what an appropriate giveaway. Thank you!

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  47. I've never heard help each other out as acts of services. This was the first time I heard this term.

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  48. I live with my children but we show each other acts of love. From the older ones reading to the littles, to I love you notes in lunch boxes. Thank you for sharing and for the opportunity

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  49. Serving each other and doing what makes each other happy!

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  50. We both share responsibilities around the house, it makes me happy to make him happy.

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  51. Random chocolates or flowers is his way of showing love. Although gifts are not one of my love languages, I love and appreciate his efforts.

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  52. My husband does the shopping and takes the kids to there dr appointments which are many one having a heart transplant the other had Cancer so they keep us busy and they are not able to drive he really helps so much since i had become ill.

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