How to Love a Husband When You Feel You’ve Nothing Left to Give {in honor of Valentine’s day}

How to Love a Husband When You Feel You've Nothing Left to GIve | Faith and Composition
He pulls in after a day at work, and the house is in a state of organized chaos. The older two kiddos have constructed an obstacle course in the living room, which they quickly abandoned for a game of their own creation: one sits on a blanket and the other pulls her around the tile. It’s the closest thing they get to sledding in Texas, and it’s both hysterically endearing and maddening; the latter because they insist on running through the kitchen, where I’m trying to prepare dinner. The baby stands at my feet yelling for attention, so I scoop her up and use my one free hand to sweep onions into a pot, fragrant with butter.

I hear the garage door open, and I haven’t the energy nor the freedom to go meet him. “Daddy’s home; run and give him a hug,” I yell.

The older two pile topsy turvy into his six-foot-four frame, a tangle of arms and legs, punctuated by kisses and squealing. It’s a sweet scene, a welcome greeting for a man who deserves it. But I don’t greet him with the same fervor; because, lets be honest … I’m exhausted, poured-out, and I haven’t much left to give at 6 pm.

He walks in, and I give him a peck. “Can you take her?”, I ask, passing the baby into his arms. He obliges and begins his nightly routine of distracting the children and helping to clean up their trail of destruction so I can finish dinner. His love language is service, so it’s not a big stretch for him, but there’s a conviction in my spirit that whispers: he deserves more. This husband who provides for my needs and takes me as I am, who vowed to forsake all others for me. This man who encourages my hopes and supports my dreams, the one with whom I get the privilege of walking this great adventure, he deserves more than my left-overs.

But here’s the tension, the daily battle; mothering little ones is an all-consuming laying down of self for the needs of our children, and by the time the witching hour rolls around, we’re empty. We’ve poured ourselves out only to find that there’s not a whole lot left to give our husbands.

This isn’t just my own personal struggle. I’ve talked with some of you; you sense the tension too. Even if you’re not a mom, heavy circumstances, weighty demands, busy commitments, financial stress, illness … they can all suck us dry.

So how do we love our husbands well in a way that communicates both respect and affection when our energy reserves are low … nay gone? Sure, we can carve out date nights, discover his love language, speak words of affirmation, reciprocate affection. Those are good tools, but I’m not talking about a ten-step program. Instead, how do we love him well with a constancy that belies circumstances and an expression that isn’t dependent on what we’ve left to give?

We can’t love him that way when we’re empty out of our own sheer will, not authentically at least. I know; I’ve tried, and I come up short. But here’s the beautiful scandalous part, dear friend: you, me … we love the man God gave us best only by loving the God who gave him first.

How to Love a Husband When You Feel You've Nothing Left to GIve | Faith and Composition

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind,” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.” – Luke 10:27 

Sure I have moments where I meet my husband’s needs, affirm his headship, voice my feelings, show him affection; but to love him authentically, sacrificially, when I’ve nothing left to give, when I’m tired and the kids have exhausted my reserves, when the demands of the day have drained me? The only way to do that is by the grace of God.

Because when I’m poured out, when my cup is empty, when I’ve given more than I have the capacity to give, only God can fill me back up with an abundance that enables me to love extravagantly out of the excess. 

The Lord reminds us repeatedly throughout His word that He is the giver, the sustainer, the wellspring of life. He turned water into wine when the wine ran dry; he sent manna from heaven when stomachs were starved; he fed five thousand with two fish and five loaves; he gave a baby to barren Sarah; he sent His son to be born of a virgin.

“I will make rivers flow on barren heights, and springs within the valleys. I will turn the desert into pools of water, and the parched ground into springs.” – Isaiah 41:18

Do you see it, friend? God is in the business of transforming the empty and barren, turning ashes into beauty. He delights in restoring, redeeming, resurrecting. 

So if today, tomorrow, next week, next year, you want to love your husband well, but you find that you are empty and tired … turn first to the wellspring of life. For He will fill your parched spaces and poured-out places with an extravagant abundance that will overflow.

How do you show love to your husband when you’re tired? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section! Please just be considerate and adhere to the comments policy (top right sidebar) when writing.

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20 thoughts on “How to Love a Husband When You Feel You’ve Nothing Left to Give {in honor of Valentine’s day}

  1. gina

    “restoring, redeeming, resurrecting”….the way your words grace the page for both you and those of us reading.

  2. Pingback: Loving when you’re empty | pinkgiggles&puppydogtickles

  3. Meredith Bernard

    I so appreciate these words today! I am that woman at the stove with kids running wild and one on the hip…or under my feet…or both. I appreciate the reminder that the only way I’ll ever love my man “enough” is through an excess of love for my God. And though it will neve be “enough”, it can be more than yesterday. And that will be a step in the right direction. Keep writing…;)

  4. Shonda

    Wow! Wow! I wish I would have read this 3 years ago after having my first child. It’s such a huge transition when you have to learn to juggle all the different responsibilities of life, wife and motherhood. It’s reassuring, comforting and encouraging to read just how much you’re surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses.

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  6. The Well-Bred Woman in Progress

    When I’m tired? After dinner and the kids’ bedtime, I meet both our needs by lying or sitting next to him and leaning on him. Sometimes he watches TV or plays on his phone, and I don’t always talk. But we’re there for each other; I’m physically resting, he’s mentally unwinding. I used to think I had to entertain him after work, be this brilliant, dazzling hostess with perfectly coifed hair, fresh makeup and clean clothes, but what I noticed that he notices is my paying attention to just him, not even to myself (for the purpose of pleasing him). He just wants me nearby. It works for us. ❤

  7. Julia Denae

    Loving this today. My husband is a busy fireman and I tend to be so unthankful when he comes home and is just plain tired. I am his help meet and I want to have pure joy in the crazy moments and empty moments. Thank you. My cup runneth over 🙂

  8. Lauren

    I start to show my husband how much I love and respect him first by meditating on verses that remind me of how much God loves me such as John 3:16 or 1 John 4:10 which says, “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent His son to be the propitiation for our sins.” In order for one to give love to another we need to meditate on verses such as I have mentioned before the well has run dry. I tell myself that it’s not about how much I love God, so that I may not boast, but about how much he loves me. I try to make a conscious effort to read and memorize a verse on love, or call to mind moments in my life when I can clearly look back and see God’s handiwork and repeat it to myself over and over until it sinks in. Then and only then I can give my husband the love and respect that he so richly deserves as the incredible godly man he is.

  9. charitylynnphoto

    I know the empty feeling all too well. The problem I had for so long was admitting when I was empty. I somehow believed I was a failure if I ran out, so instead of acknowledging my limitations I continued on punishing everyone in my path! Thank you for the beautiful reminder of how God replenished the spirit.

    1. Cheneria

      You have just given me revelation of myself. I just said “That’s Me.” I unconsciously have pushed myself to believe that if I am empty from a long day of house work and children, then somehow I have failed or is failing. It seems “crazy” when I have spoken out loud about it but it is very true for me. This just says to me that I need God more than I really know. Thank you!

      1. shaleneroberts Post author

        We all need Him so much more than we know, don’t we? I like how Tim Keller puts it: “The gospel is this: We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope.”

  10. Hilda

    O this is helpful. I am so encouraged to know I don’t have to try hard to love when I have nothing else to give but to rely on the source of love for that grace. Help me Lord to love you as I should, then I can have enof love to pour out on my husband. Amen

  11. Natalia

    Your post and my finding it today as one of God’s little miracles. Yesterday I shared with my husband my fears and anxiety about having a 3rd l.o.due in a month and adapting to new challenges. It was not easy for him. So he felt distant today and I thought I did not have any reserves left to connect and support him, that was until I read your words.

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  13. Sarah

    Wow! Wow! These words are anointed by the Holy Spirit! Thank you so very much! Don’t ever stop letting the Lord speak through you!


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