Have you read The 5 Love Languages? Stop what you're doing and go grab a copy.
OK now that you're back, what love language do you speak?? How about your partner? After a lot of waffling back and forth, I've landed on Quality Time. And, more specifically, quality conversation. I need some good old-fashioned date nights where we talk and talk and talk until we can't keep our eyes open anymore. Really talk, not about how the kids are doing or how our days were but where we see our lives in 10 years, what our hopes and dreams are for the future, who we want to see our kids grow in to. Real talk. That fills my tank.
Brad, on the other hand, is Acts of Service. His tank gets filled when I'm really taking control of the household and, more importantly for him I think, figuring out what tasks he needs help with or support on. I think this one is the most time-intensive and effort-full of the love languages. Especially if it's totally not in your wheelhouse. I didn't really have chores growing up and have never lived alone so there's just a little bit of a missing link there for me. But I'm learning that the more I perform acts of service, the easier (and more fun!) they become.
If you're in the same boat as we are (your love language is NOT acts of service but your partners' is) here are a few suggestions on how to fill up that tank!
1. Pack a lunch
This is a little old-fashioned, but every now and then, pack a lunch for your husband. Add a little note to make it extra special.
2. Hire someone to help
Cleaning the bathroom is not my gifting and, honestly, I have trouble finding the time or energy or forethought to do it. So if this particular act isn't going to happen, hire someone! It's still getting done and it's still speaking his language.
3. Set expectations
OK so this isn't exactly an act of service, but often this particular love language leaves the one doing it feeling a little like a maid/mother/housekeeper. So talk about what you expect from one another. I always make dinner and then usually end up cleaning up too. But when I brought up that I think he should be taking care of dishes after I cook, everything runs so much more smoothly.
4. Don't do it halfway
Procrastinate much? Don't wash the clothes and then leave them in baskets for days. Don't fill up the dishwasher and leave the items that wouldn't fit on the counter. Finish the job. Half done is not done to someone who's love language is acts of service.
5. Figure out what's important
Brad is always stressing about how we need to get a budget. I realized that this is a way of saying 'hey, this is a way you can help me fill my love tank!'. Making a budget makes me want to hide, but knowing that it'll be a way to build upon our relationship? That's a little incentive. (also turning on fun music & wine helps with budgeting!)
6. Use what you have
Computer wiz? Expert party-planner? Really great listener? Use those instead of or in addition to making an extra cup of coffee for him in the morning or taking out the trash.