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.
“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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