A parable of finite love

There once was a widow who believed each person had a finite amount of love to share.

She had a son who adored her, who had moved in with her so she wouldn’t be alone.

One day, when this caring man had passed his fortieth birthday, he met a woman who swept his heart away.

Years passed, and their loved deepened.

The son told his mother he wanted to marry.

His mother believed  if her son married, his love for her would shrink, because love was available in a limited supply.

So, she responded her voice full of hurt, “You’ll kill me if you get married, for I will die from lack of love. Do you want to be responsible for my death?”

Taken aback, the man responded, “Absolutely not!” and dropped the idea of marriage for the time being.

A decade passed, and although the subject was broached several more times, the response remained the same.

The son, still desperately in love, told his mother he would not move after marrying; he and his bride would both stay with her.

She refused, knowing there was not possibly enough love to go around, and told him she just couldn’t live with another woman in the house.

Although the son and his beloved continued to see one another, his body couldn’t handle the stress of a broken heart.

He passed away before he turned sixty.

And his mother was left all alone.


Sad to say this is a true story about a long-ago, distant relative, a tragic tale of a mistaken belief and unrequited love.

I hope as you have read this you, too, have been shocked at the idea that a person could view love as a finite commodity.

After all, love is not like a loaf of bread that can be cut into just so many slices.

Love is the sweet yeast of life that grows, multiplies, and blesses us all. (Click here to tweet this!)

That being said, a splinter of that limiting belief may have worked its way into your heart without your realization.

The symptom might be annoyance at your husband’s close relationship with his buds, or resentment at the new beau in your best friend’s life.

When you dig down below the hurt, you may discover a fear that there just won’t be enough love for you.

Don’t let that minor irritation grow into something major that infects your relationships, especially something that comes between you and your spouse.

Remember what it says in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (NIV):

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails.

Love will never fail. It is available in abundance, and the more you give, the more there is to share.

I invite you to read a previous post, Love by the book , based on the above verse, to inspire and help you strengthen and/or rebuild your relationships.


Question: Do you believe that we each have only a finite amount of love to give? Have you been the recipient of love given freely and abundantly? Thanks for stopping by, and please jump into the conversation. We just love to encourage and help each other here!

Sharing at NOBH, Better Mom, Finding Heaven

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  1. I have in the past, had jealousies around my friend’s relationships with others – which seem to stem back to my need to feel “special” to people. This was a huge awareness for me to gain, and once I had the realization, I was able to change the beliefs and behaviors around it. Yes, there is enough love to go around for all!
    ilene recently posted…How to Be Kick Ass on The FlyMy Profile

    • I imagine it made a big difference in your relationships, Ilene. I think it makes our friends pull even further away from us as they feel our jealousy or clinginess. :-(
      Thanks for adding your thoughts!

  2. Beautiful post. What a sad story. Unfortunately, it’s probably more common than we know.

    In my experience love is the opposite of finite. Infinite. The more I love, the greater my capacity to love grows.
    misssrobin recently posted…My Current CrazyMy Profile

    • Thanks, MissRobin. I think you are right about this mindset being more common than we realize. Your experience is like mine: more love equals lots more love!

  3. Good post, Kim, and I like that you used outside friendships as an example. Deep down, I think that was how I felt earlier in my marriage. I felt threatened by several of my husbands friendships. But God has been a kind and gracious Teacher, and helped me get over a bunch of insecurities.
    And I am grateful.
    Thanks for sharing today.
    Susan Stilwell recently posted…A Monday Pause ~ ThoughtsMy Profile

    • Time can really put things into perspective for us, can’t it, Susan? Thank God for his patience as he teaches us. :-)
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  4. That story made me so sad! I’ve never consciously thought of love as finite, but I’m sure there have been times and situations that a splinter has worked its way in, as you described. I’m so thankful many of the people in my life love fully, abundantly, unconditionally.
    Kristin recently posted…Confessions of a book abuserMy Profile

    • My initial reaction was the same, Kristin: just overwhelming sadness for so much love that went untapped.
      I called those thoughts splinters just for that very reason: they can work their way into our flesh without realizing it at first. Thanks for dropping by!

  5. I wondered if this was going to be based upon a sad but true story. I’ve seen this problem happen in many ways within families. In fact, I have a friend whose marriage is being rocked by the enmeshed relationship her husband has with his son/her stepson. And you are so right about love–it really cannot be divided, but only multiplied. Thanks for this great reminder, Kim!

    • It is so sad to see how a mistaken view and belief of love can rock a marriage. I always appreciate your point of view, Beth. Thanks so much for sharing. You just never know who might be touched by your words!

  6. How sad. I can’t imagine thinking like that – though I know that there are many situations like this. There is a situation like this in my extended family that while not the same is very similar. There is the assumption that love is finite, and maybe even worse that person believes she only should be loved. It is very detrimental to another relationship. I won’t go into details, but it’s such a sad and frustrating situation. Thanks for sharing this story. It really makes you think.
    Jolene recently posted…Naples Grape Festival 2012My Profile

    • Oh, Jolene, you have my sympathy. Years ago I had a dear friend who married a woman who believed this very thing. She was so jealous of any time spent with his family, for she truly believed love was a finite resource to be carefully doled out. It is frustrating, sad and painful. Sad to say that marriage did not survive. My prayers are with you!

  7. Wow, that is soooo sad!! What a waste and it just breaks my heart!! Sadly, I know women now who were not allowed to marry for the same reasons.
    There is enough love to go around, thanks for the reminder!
    Lisa recently posted…Things getting tough? You are almost there!My Profile

    • I never realized until long into my adult life that there were folks who believed this, Lisa. You are so right-there is plenty of love to go around. We will all just have to keep spreading the word, the love and the joy! Thanks so much for dropping by.

  8. There can be times when a relationship takes someone’s attention away from someone else, but I believe that there is plenty of love to go around. What a tragic story based completely on lies. Jesus wants us to love everyone and how sad that she believed that her son being in love was going to change his love for her.
    Dionne recently posted…31 Day Challenge: Grace to be meMy Profile

    • Dionne, you really summed it up: it was all lies. Very tragic indeed. I am so grateful for a mother in law who welcomed another daughter into her life! Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts.

  9. I’m sometimes tempted to hold back love in small ways – when I’m busy, I tend to hoard my time and not give as freely of it to others. What a great reminder that, instead, love multiplies!
    Dr. Ann recently posted…Be Confident In Conflict: How To Create A Spirit Of CooperationMy Profile

    • Oooh, a love hoarder. Now there’s a perspective I hadn’t considered, but I am guilty of that. Ack! Share and multiply, that is the way. Thanks for the fresh perspective, Dr. Ann. :-)

  10. what a sad story on so many levels…that the man couldn’t be an adult and say “no” to his mother, and his mother’s manipulation… I think we all have finite energy but if we connect with our infinite God, He will give us the love we need to love others well…great points about friendships…thanks, Kim :)
    Dolly recently posted…Double Giveaway of Emily Wierenga’s book, Chasing Silhouettes…My Profile

    • You are right: fear and jealousy make us do terrible things to those we love, Dolly. However, you provide a simple and powerful answer: connect with him and he will provide in abundance. Thanks for bringing those points to the table!

  11. Wow, this was a compelling post. The story is so sad. I feel so blessed to have the love of a very good man. I have great joy in him and our children and grandchildren. I would say the love that is selfish really isn’t love.
    Blessings for this one!

    • Well said, Leann! Selfish love is not love at all. Reading a story like this certainly brings our own blessings into focus as you note. Blessings back to you and thanks for stopping by.

  12. Wow! How sad! Love for a mother will always be different than love for a spouse, but I hope, one day, when I am a mother, that I can raise my child to be a godly man or woman and be happy for them when they choose a life partner who is also a godly man or woman. I don’t expect my child to love me in the same way that my husband would. I also don’t expect to love my mother in the same way I love my husband. I need to be secure in my Heavenly Father’s love, enough to let go of my husband, my family, and my friends and trust He’s got them and He will love them perfectly when I fail. I need to be secure enough to let others like my family members and my friends go and trust that they will love me, and even when they don’t I need to be secure enough in my Heavenly Father’s love to know that He will love me always and unconditionally when others fail me.

    Loving my husband has made me more loving toward my family and my friends. I think this is because of exactly what you said, “Love is the sweet yeast of life that grows, multiplies, and blesses us all.” Amen, sister! The more love I experience through my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and the more love I experience through my husband, the more I want to love others more deeply and purely and sacrificially. Unconditional love gets rid of the unfair expectations we put on others – it calls us to love even when we don’t feel loved, and loving means letting go of self. I love the verse in 1 John 4:19, “We love because He first loved us.” We need to remember that true love is selfless.
    Hannah Williams recently posted…Do I Delight in Evil? Day 8My Profile

    • Beautifully said, Hannah! Unconditional love frees us of jealousy, doubt, fear—those negative emotions that keep us from loving so abundantly. I am so glad this post touched you. Thank you for sharing so openly with your heart! I believe your children will benefit tremendously from your love, faith and trust. I encourage you to read my October 8, 2012, post on a parenting from a service dog. :-) While you don’t yet have children, it carries an important lesson to keep in your heart always.

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