Service as a Gesture of Love

If I had a dollar for every time someone said to me, or I thought to myself, “Don’t be so down, someone else has it worse than you,” I would be sitting by the pool eating bon bons and letting the sun grace me with its glorious rays. With that in mind, I will say that generally that mentality is pretty terrible. If you are feeling bad about something, reminding yourself that someone has it worse is just going to make you feel worse about yourself.

When it comes to relationships though, I think that this mentality might not be a bad one. That is, if you’re going to do something about it. If you are feeling bad about your relationship, providing service to your partner can help both of you to feel better about your relationship. I also think providing service to others with your partner can help to build up your relationship. Let’s spend a little time today talking about both.

My family are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (you may know them as Mormons because of their belief in The Book of Mormon). A significant part of church doctrine is that families can be together forever, and as a result you should invest some solid time investing in your family.

The Church puts out three magazines, one each for children, teens, and adults, and the adult magazine is called The Ensign. I can remember, as a child, reading an article in The Ensign talking about falling out of love. The author of the article reported that she was struggling because she had fallen out of love with her husband and, as you might expect, was chaffing at the idea of being stuck with him forever. Because she took her covenants with her husband and God really seriously she did not want to feel that way and realized the only thing she could control in her relationship was herself, so she got to work. She started making a concerted effort to do things for her husband, write about what he had done that day that she appreciated, and vocally praised him for things that he did.

As she made the effort to provide these little acts of service for her spouse she found her view of him changed and that he also changed. Because she took the time to provide these small acts of kindness her marriage changed and she was once again in love with her husband and rejoicing that she got to spend forever with him. I find this example to be true in my own marriage. Times when I strive to provide sincere service are the times when I feel the luckiest to be with such an incredible man.

The other piece of providing service is serving together. It could be something simple like working together to take care of your family, or serving your community at large. I will admit, Nateanite and I are not active in our community as a couple these days. Our service together dominantly stays within our family, but we both met because of our commitment to serving others. We were both cabinet members of our Student Senates and met because of our passion for advocating for accessible and affordable higher education for the citizens of Minnesota. I think that the advocacy we did, and it was ultimately at a local, state, and federal level, made a difference in the lives of the citizens of our state. That commitment to helping others has remained, in one way or another, throughout or marriage and I think we are better for it.

What are some ways that you serve those in your life, especially in your long term relationships?

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Rachel Hanson

Rachel is a blogger who writes predominantly about parenting and ways to juggle “having it all,” even though she thinks that phrase is overblown and generally impossible. She also thinks that time management and cutting yourself a little (or a lot of) slack are key to managing all the pieces of your life. Rachel and Nateanite have been married since 2010 and they have two daughters. Electric is three years old and Adorable is 10 months old. You can visit her online home “My Mother Told Me”, see who she’s engaging with Facebook, check out what she’s reading on Twitter, or see her body of work on LinkedIn.


  1. It is interesting to see this concept discussed, in this case, from a spiritual perspective. Many years ago, I heard a recording of a Franklin Covey training. It was primarily aimed at a business crowd, but at this point was discussing relationships. The speaker said something that has stayed with me since. Love is a verb. Now from here on out, I can’t be sure what were his words and how much is what I built out of them…so, please…any mistakes are mine…but here’s my impression…romanticized love expects feelings to lead actions, mature/real love learns that actions can lead feelings. So, nothing could make more sense to me that as she started to care for (in the sense of actions of service and showing care/respect) her husband, that she once again began to care for (in the sense of feelings of love and care) him.

    Thank you for sharing this. It transcends religion.

    1. Thank you so much for your comment, Althea! I couldn’t agree more – actions leading to love is a concept that absolutely transcends religions.

      Ultimately, I think it really hurts us when we think of romantic love as the only love. I’ve said before (even here, I think) that I’m fortunate to have been in love my entire life. My parents showed me what love means, especially through service, and I (in turn) was able to show my parents and siblings how much I loved and valued them by helping them. This isn’t to say that I, or anyone else, is perfect. But we all do our best :).

      I also find it slightly ironic that you picked up that tidbit at a Franklin Covey training. Franklin Covey was actually an active and practicing member of the LDS church until his death several years ago.

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