Be fluent in your partner's love language with these Acts of Service examples.
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Does your significant other go all gushy when you fill up the car with gas or unload the dishwasher? These little gestures are part of the love language known as Acts of Service—here’s how to talk more of it.
There are many ways to say “I love you.” And learning the way—or the language—that resonates most with your partner is crucial in building a happy, fulfilling relationship. That’s the general idea behind marriage counselor Gary Chapman’s best-selling book, The 5 Love Languages.
What are the five love languages?
In his book, Chapman defines five different styles of expressing and receiving love: Acts of service, getting gifts, quality time, physical touch and words of affirmation. You and your partner may not speak the same love language; what sends one person’s heart soaring may leave another feeling flat. A shoulder massage at the end of a long day will be the best thing ever to the person whose love language is physical touch. But to someone who speaks the language of quality time, a hike and a picnic will be much more meaningful. Once you figure out the language that your partner speaks, you’ll be better able to communicate your feelings of love.
If Acts of Service is your significant other’s love language, look for ways to lighten their load, says psychologist Jennifer Thomas, PhD, a frequent lecturer on The 5 Love Languages and co-author with Chapman on the upcoming book Making Things Right at Work. Your partner “will feel most loved or appreciated when you take a literal hands-on approach to helping them,” Thomas explains. “Saying that you love and care about them while sitting around rings hollow. You will fill up their love tank when you roll up your sleeves and get to work. For them, talk is cheap; actions speak more loudly than words."
So which actions will make your honey swoon? Consider this your romantic to-do list.
125 Acts of Service Examples
Fold your partner’s laundry.
Make your significant other’s favorite dinner.
Fill up the pantry with your partner’s favorite snacks.
Wash the car.
Organize their workspace.
Schedule the home repair appointment they keep putting off.
Plan a special trip for the two of you and work out all the details from travel tickets to itinerary.
Make them a special lunch to take to work.
Bake a batch of their favorite [fill in the treat here].
Fill the car with gas.
Complete a task you’ve both been putting off for months.
Walk the dog.
Take the kids on an adventure so your partner can enjoy a quiet house for an afternoon.
Mow the lawn.
Hire someone to deep-clean the house.
Tackle the sink full of dirty dishes.
Fix the broken [insert thing that’s been broken forever here].
Tidy away the clutter in the living room.
Match the random socks in your partner’s sock drawer.
Pay the bills.
Weed the garden.
Take the kids to all their extracurriculars for a week.
Chill their beer glass.
Clean out the garage.
Have your loved one’s favorite shirt/jeans/hat/boots mended.
Change the baby’s diaper.
Frame your significant other’s favorite photo/concert poster.
Bring them a cup of coffee or tea made just how they like it best.
Give them a hug if they’re feeling down.
Say thank you for something they did for you.
Make note of things they routinely ask for help with—then start doing them without being asked.
Take over bedtime duties for a night (or more).
Set up the coffeemaker so it’s ready when your partner wakes up in the morning.
Bring them their favorite cocktail.
Organize a night-out for your partner with their BFFs.
Change the sheets on the bed.
Call in and pick up prescriptions when they’re sick.
Deal with the irritating insurance company/car mechanic/landlord yourself.
Buy the fresh tube of toothpaste.
Put their favorite scented soap in the shower.
Vacuum or sweep.
Make the kids’ lunches.
Load or unload the dishwasher.
Ask “What can I do to help?”
Make reservations for Date Night.
Buy your partner a treat when you’re out running errands.
On the weekend, get up with the kids and let your partner sleep in.
Make them a special playlist.
Do the grocery shopping.
Set aside time to do your partner’s favorite activity (golf, yoga, antique shop) together.
Bring in the trash cans or set them out.
Hold/open the door for them.
Draw them a bath (bubbles/candles/flower petals optional).
Ask if you can bring them anything while you’re up.
Keep your promises. If you’ve committed to doing something for your partner, follow through.
Schedule them a foot or neck rub at the local spa.
Put fresh flowers by their side of the bed.
Pour hot water in their favorite mug to prep it so it’ll keep their coffee/tea warm.
Untangle and tidy up all the cords.
Charge their phone.
Replace the batteries in the remote/fire alarm/whatever annoying item that’s run out of batteries.
Make them fresh-squeezed orange juice.
Get tickets to go see their favorite band/movie/museum.
Help find their keys/wallet for them.
Refill their water bottle.
Pick up a bottle or six-pack of their favorite beer/wine/seltzer.
Order lunch to be delivered to their workplace.
Return their overdue library books.
Make an early morning coffee shop run for their favorite muffin/bagel/smoothie/hot drink.
Check in on them when they’re extra-busy or stressed.
Be the designated driver on a night out.
Run that necessary errand.
Sign your partner up for a yoga class/tennis lesson (whatever activity they always wish they had more time for).
Make the bed.
Get dinner started (or be the sous chef if it’s already underway).
Do the chore they hate.
Change the light bulb.
Buy the new book by their favorite author.
Record their favorite TV show.
Give them a ride somewhere.
Sharpen their pencils.
Pay their parking meter.
Hear what they’re stressed about and take action to help alleviate that worry.
Plan a surprise party.
Show them some social media love.
Be on time for an event that’s important to them.
Give them a compliment.
Stand up for or show support for your partner in a discussion or debate.
Help them brainstorm for a work project.
Share your umbrella when it’s raining.
Come up with a list of goals together and strategize about how to achieve them.
Share bites of your delicious dessert.
Wait for them when they’re moving a little slower than you.
Take care of their pet/plant when they’re out of town.
Share your shade on a hot, sunny day.
Go with them to do something they’re nervous to do.
Start their shower for them so it warms up.
Scrape the snow/ice off their windshield.
Carry their bag.
Organize their shoes.
Light a candle in a scent they like.
Turn down their side of the bed at bedtime hotel-style (with or without tiny chocolates on the pillow).
Smile at them.
Replace the empty toilet paper tube with a new roll.
Offer them the last bite/piece of bread/splash of wine/cookie.
Turn on one of their favorite songs in the car.
Adjust the temperature for them (open windows, turn on a fan, bring them a blanket, build a fire).
Clean the bathroom.
Help put away groceries.
Set up a joint calendar that makes it easy for you both to keep track of what’s going on.
Bring them a bouquet of flowers.
Clear their dishes after a meal.
Pick them up from the airport.
Kindly remind them of something they often forget to do/bring.
Change the oil in the car.
Organize an area of the house that’s prone to clutter.
Give them your jacket/sweater if it’s cold out.
Encourage them in their personal goals—fitness, weight loss, job searches or otherwise.
Start their car in the morning so it’s warm enough/cool enough when they get in.
Empty the trash/recycling.
Provide tech support.
Give your partner space when they ask for it (sometimes they’d rather not have help with something).
Save them a seat.
To dig deeper into all the different love languages, check out How to Show Your Partner You’re Grateful for Them, Using Their Preferred Love Language.