LOVE: From a Full Heart or a Heart to Fill?

A Heart to Fill ….

"The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that one is loved; loved for oneself, or better yet, loved despite oneself.”  Victor Hugo

We come into life with a heart that is empty — waiting to be filled.

Mom and Dad try to fill it. But sometimes Mom and Dad don’t know how to love from a full heart …. or their hearts become empty. Maybe they are loving me but I don’t feel it. I keep looking for their approval, a proof that I am lovable. When I get correction or direction, I think that I have failed; I don’t measure up.

As I grow older, I try harder or seek out love and approval from someone else - an older sibling, a grandparent, or friends.

As I continue on my journey through life, I look for a mate to fill my heart — someone who will love me all the time, forever, no matter what.

Some of us find that person — the one who fills my heart.

We get married …… but something happens.

She wakes up grumpy in the morning and doesn’t respond to my affection. I feel rejected and unloved.

He is irritable and criticizes the way our house looks. I feel like a failure and unloved.

We go out to dinner with friends. He makes fun of me. She talks down to me. I feel disrespected. I feel unloved.

It becomes apparent that he doesn’t fill my heart. I must have married the wrong person.

She doesn’t love me the way I am; she is trying to change me. She only shows me love if I do everything her way. I can do better with someone else.

This sequence of events plays out in millions of lives. But as one country singer put it, I am lookin’ for love in all the wrong places.

[Read more about the search for love below and loving from a full heart on the back.]

My Search ….

The single desire that dominated my search for delight was simply to love and to be loved.  Augustine

That was Augustine’s search over 1600 years ago; it is the search for each of us. Augustine pursued sexual immorality and paganism to fill his empty heart.

Augustine’s search ended with a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. As he said, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.” I will always be hurt and disappointed in search of a love to fill my heart — forever, no matter what — until I find that love from God.

We love, because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19) Love originated in the heart of God and flows out into our empty hearts. God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit. (Romans 5:5)

A Full Heart….

Love is the overflow of joy in God! . . . It is first a deeply satisfying experience of the fullness of God's grace, and then a doubly satisfying experience of sharing that grace with another person.  John Piper

A full heart comes from the outpouring of God’s love into the heart of His child.

See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. (1 John 3:1)

One of the most encouraging and satisfying parts of that relationship is that He loves me. PERIOD. I didn’t have to DO anything. He wants me to be His child. He gave what was most important to Him to show me how much He loves me.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8

And NOTHING will change His love for me. PERIOD.

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)

So, what does all of that have to do with my marriage?
How I feel about my kids/parents/friends?

Here’s what - It means that if you will allow God’s love to flow into your heart and fill you, that you can quit draining the life out of other people!

Instead of making demands or having expectations of others, I can pour into them out of the love overflow of my heart. I can love from a full heart! Forever. No matter what!

Love isn’t about getting; it’s about giving!

Pouring Out ….

What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like. Augustine

When I stop expressing love because my spouse has done something to make me mad or hurt me, that is a red flag that I am not loving from a heart filled from God. I am loving out of what I think I am getting/not getting from the other person.

What does it look like to pour out love to my spouse/others?
What if I don’t know how to do that?

Love doesn’t always have to be flowers and chocolate (although those two work for me!).

Love starts in the heart but has to be demonstrated. Words carry no weight without actions.


  • Kind words. Say something affirming/encouraging. 
  • Affection - including non-sexual, physical touch, hugs. 
  • Listen - give undivided attention, no texting, phone, computer, or TV. 
  • Help - look for practical ways to take some of the load off your spouse. 
  • Give something thoughtful, doesn’t have to be expensive. 
Love from a full heart!