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Pros and Cons of Having the “Acts of Service” Love Language

August 12, 2019 by

People often turn to zodiac signs to gain insight on their personality and social habits, but when it comes to what makes someone feel fulfilled in their relationship, Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages is the most commonly used tool.

The 5 Love Languages will show you that if you love compliments, your love language is Words of Affirmation. If you think that receiving a present is the ultimate way to feel loved, Receiving Gifts is yours. The language of Quality Time suggests you enjoy spending weekends with your partner more than anything. If you feel most connected during times of intimacy, you speak the love language of Physical Touch.

Out of the 5 languages, the one that has a bit of a bad reputation is Acts of Service. This language describes those who prefer the idea of coming home from a long day’s work to a clean house and dinner on the table. If this would be your preference, it means that you feel most loved when other people do things for you, rather than just with you or to you.

While some may think that people who speak this love language are lazy, it really means that this sector of the population believes that actions speak louder than words. This love language is all about one’s ability to demonstrate their appreciation or love for another by doing things to show their feelings.
Because it is easy for someone to say I love you without truly meaning it, people often respond better to being able to see someone show their feelings in a more concrete way.

This is precisely what makes some people respond to this language. If your partner can realize how much you do on your own and they want to help take some things off your plate, this may be the thing that shows you that the person truly loves you.
To you, the person’s actions are not about the chore itself, but they’re about demonstrating to you that they are on your side.

If your partner takes the time to pick up some groceries that you need, or get the oil changed in your car so you don’t have to, what you hear is “I’m considerate of your needs and will sacrifice my own time to benefit you.” And that is not a trait in somebody that is easy to find.

However, if you are not self-aware, Acts of Service may become problematic.

All relationships need to have balance so both partners are getting their needs met, so having this love language may put you at risk for letting your expectations exceed reality. In other words, if you believe your partner should do one thing for you, and they do something else, you could start to self-sabotage your connection.

This can lead to an unbalanced relationship in which one partner has unrealistic expectations for what the other person needs to do in order to prove their love. This is where things can get tough, because no one wants to be in a relationship that comes with a to-do list. One partner shouldn’t feel entitled to certain things while the other person has to accommodate those needs. Partners should each feel like their love is reciprocated in some way.

So how you do walk this fine line of wanting acts of service without crossing over to taking advantage of your partner?

The answer is communication.

If your love language is acts of service, you can’t make assumptions. Assuming that your partner knows which acts of service you place the most value on and then expecting them to do these things is a quick way to make your partner feel like you are taking advantage of them.

Here are some Dos and Don’ts about how to communicate without being demanding.

Do

1. Clearly tell your partner the actions that you value. This will help them prioritize those actions and understand why they are important to you. If you feel like you can’t clearly express what you need, try telling your partner about a situation in the past in which a friend did a favor for you that had a lasting impact.

2. When your partner does something for you, acknowledge it and thank them. Even if they do something that you did expect, still communicate your gratitude.
To make sure your partner never feels like they are being taken for granted, after you tell them which acts of service are important to you, make sure to acknowledge it when they do them. Say something like: “Hey, I noticed you cleaned up the house today while I was at work. I was hoping to get that done soon, so thank you so much for taking it off my agenda.”

3. Make sure to learn your partner’s love language as well. They may speak a different love language than you do, so make sure you are aware of the things you need to do to help them feel loved in return. This way, your partner can feel love from you and return that with doing acts of service.

Don’t

1. Expect your partner to know what you want. If certain acts of service will make you feel especially loved, say something.

2. Get upset if your partner says “no”. It is important to keep in mind that acts of service lose their meaning if your partner isn’t doing them at their own will. Learn to be okay with your partner declining to be able to do a favor and trust the fact that if they could help you, they would. However, if you feel like they’re always saying no to your needs, it might be time to have some clear communication with your partner.

3. Depend on your partner to pick up your slack. Even though your partner supports you, you still have to maintain your own responsibilities so they can do the same. Dumping all of your tasks on your partner is a quick way to ensure a breakup.

At the end of the day, the Acts of Service love language is legitimate and should not be shamed. As long as you speak your partner’s love language in return, don’t feel guilty about feeling love through acts of service.

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