Increasingly these days I fear that the word Love is bandied about way too freely. People say it to someone because they think that's what they are SUPPOSED to say, not really because it reflects how they feel. I'm not even sure many people truly understand what love means anymore.

For several years now I have been telling people that “love is a verb, its not something you say, but something you do.” I've said it, and I still firmly believe it. However that one short statement by itself is a bit of an oversimplification. One you must be in a place where your love at least partially overcomes your sense of self. Otherwise that which you do for the person you love will lack sincerity. Without sincerity your efforts will fall flat.

One of the best ways to exercise the Love Is a Verb principle is through small acts of service. Grand gestures performed rarely often produce fading results. On the other hand, small acts of service performed consistently can communicate commitment, sincerity, and selflessness.

In his book The 5 Love Languages author Gary Chapman describes acts of service as one of the 5 Love Languages. His book also talks about how important acts of service can be to a relationship. I want to speak specifically about how importance I feel small acts of service can be to your relationship.

It can be as simple as a phone call, or refilling your spouse's coffee cup ! I do believe that it should not be a matter of doing one of the other spouses chores. You should help your spouse it such a way. However I'm talking about doing something FOR them. I'm talking about establishing regular habits of doing something of personal service for your spouse. Not something done out of duty, something you didn't have to do at all but did anyway.

One of the best examples of what I mean is what I call the “Chewing Gum Story.” My parents had one of those old fashioned “until death do they part” marriages. I have been blessed to benefit from their example. When I was a young single adult, my mother and I had a conversation that I will always remember. I wanted to get married some day and some how we ended up on the subject of how people stay married. She said “ You know how I love chewing gum right ?” Of course I did. She went on to relate that my father would often stop after work to play pool or whatever with his friends from work. Which I knew. She went on to explain how when he did so he would often bring her a pack of chewing gum, or a pickled egg or some other small treat that he knew she would enjoy. The item isn't the point. The point is even when he was out “hanging with the boys” He consistently showed her in tangible ways that he was thinking about her wherever he was.

Another example from more recent years comes from a colleague at my secular job. My job is very near my home. I was walking out next to this particular colleague one day. Without thinking about it I called my wife on my cellphone to tell her I was on my way out. It was a habit I had started back when I worked further from home. Which my wife appreciated because she knew about how long it would be before I got there. Anyway my friend asked me how far away did I live. I replied about 5 minutes. She said kind of frustrated like “ If either of my ex husbands had EVER called me from five minutes away to tell me they were on their way home, I might still be married.”

True love involves thinking about the needs of the other person. But it goes beyond that. True love involves being invested enough to turn your thoughts and feelings into action. It also requires making the effort to understand what small, regular actions will make that person happier. I cannot emphasis the importance of these actions being consistent. They very much must become a part of you. You also must be willing to listen, really listen so you can pick up on clues your spouse may be sending out about what they need you to do. They may not even realize themselves that they asking you for something !

Always remember the principle of Love is a Verb, is not about you, its not about what you think, its not about what you feel. Love is a Verb is a selfless concept. Its about putting the other person and their needs first, and being willing to show that you have in concrete ways and not just words.

I encourage you to work hard to look at small,m personally meaningful ways to make your spouse happier. You both will reap the benefits !

Author's Bio: 

Rev. Robert A. Crutchfield is Senior Pastor and Founder of Compassion Church of Katy. He also serves as editor of Faith That Inspires Action, a Christian Blog which in 2012 was read in 159 countries. His work can also be seen in Katy Christian Magazine,, and His First Responders Prayer was included in all three novels of the First Responders Series by best selling author Loree Lough. He is also a veteran husband, father, and grandfather