Acts Of Service Love Language: What This Really Means Your Partner Wants

Sometimes finding the right connection with someone is all about knowing their love language, and them knowing your love language. Not sure what a love language is? Let's explain.

The theory of love languages first came to light in Dr. Gary Chapman's book "The 5 Love Languages." In it, he claimed everyone has at least one of five love languages: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, or physical touch. According to Chapman, one's love language indicates how they interpret love, both giving and receiving it. However, the languages can be misconstrued. For example, if your partner's love language is words of affirmation, they probably don't need a daily handwritten poem affirming your love. Just like receiving gifts doesn't mean they need buckets of diamonds on the reg. Another love language that can leave one scratching their head is acts of service. If your this is your partner's love language, does that mean they want you to volunteer at a soup kitchen?


"[If your love language is acts of service] it means that you either feel loved by or enjoy caring for your loved ones by doing practical actions that will help them in some way or that you believe that they will appreciate or enjoy," licensed marriage and family therapist Samantha Kingma tells Cosmopolitan. "These helpful actions may be done with or without the other person having specifically asked for the help."

Acts of service can appear in many forms and don't have to be grandiose. It's just about showing you're there to help.

For you to be aware

If your partner's love language is acts of service, then it's important to be aware of who and what they are — both on the surface and deep down in their core. Is their favorite food homemade macaroni and cheese? Cool. Then make it for them as a surprise. In making them dinner, you're not just doing something that will help sustain them, but you're expressing your love without having to say a word. Does your partner advocate for animals, but you two don't have time to have a pet of your own? Then plan a date where you two can take shelter dogs for a walk. 


"An act of service is about dedicated time and effort, usually in a nonverbal way," holistic therapist Medina Colaku, M.A., LAc, tells Mind Body Green. "It is quite literally showing up in ways that are tangible, meaning actions speak louder than words." You're acknowledging things about them and turning them into acts. Also, don't forget to do the dishes after you make them dinner. 

For you to show appreciation

People who interpret love through acts of service need to feel appreciated for all they do and all they bring to the relationship. This doesn't mean you need to throw a parade in their honor once a week or anything even remotely elaborate. It means that in doing something small, like having their coffee ready for them when they wake up or booking them a massage randomly, or taking them to their favorite restaurant, will show your appreciation for them. Even just telling them that you appreciate them because honestly, no one says this as often as they should to their partner, can go a long way. 


What it really comes down to is making your partner feel loved by showing your appreciation through small and kind ways. It's about recognizing how important these gestures are to your partner and the impact it has on them in regard to your relationship together. 

For you to pay attention

If you know your partner goes to yoga every Thursday but noticed they forgot their mat, then bring it to the studio for them. If you know that it's that time in the week when the sheets need to be changed, then take it upon yourself to do it. Do they have an appointment during lunch today? Then pack them a delicious lunch that they can take with them to work. 


"One of the best ways to really engage in acts of service is being able to predict the pattern of behaviors and intervene without being asked," licensed psychologist Marcuetta Sims tells Cosmopolitan. It's not so much about giving your partner attention, but paying attention to what they do and the schedule they keep in their day-to-day life. When you pay attention to the details, it gives you the opportunity to be better at providing acts of service for them.

For you to be proactive

When you've been with someone long enough, you become able to read them. Especially if something is off. If you can tell your partner is having a bad day or is stressed out, then do what you can to lighten the load. For example, run the errands for them that you know they have to do after work, clean up around the house, have a bubble bath waiting for them for when they get home or ask them if you can help with a work project. "[It's about] being in tune with what is burdening them and then taking action to help them," Natalie Buchwald, LMHC, tells Pure Wow.


Burdens can come in many forms, not just professionally, so if you notice that your partner is struggling in some way — and you should, because you're paying attention — then do your part to make things easier for them. If you're not quite sure how you can pitch in, then ask them. Just because you know your partner's love language, doesn't mean you should ease up on the communication.

For you to be there

Although the acts of service love language is far different from the quality time love language, sometimes just being there is the service your partner needs. If they're sick, then hang out with them on the couch and make sure they have everything they need. If you're both looking forward to the next episode of "The Last of Us," hold off on watching it without them and wait until you can make some popcorn and enjoy it together. 


For people whose love language is acts of service, you essentially want to adhere to the proverb that "actions speak louder than words," because that's pretty much what acts of service is. While you can tell your partner that you love them 100 times a day, what's really going to resonate for them is what you do to make their life easier, happier, and more fulfilling, and that means being aware, paying attention, and showing appreciation in small, grateful ways.