You tried to kiss me and say goodnight. And I shrugged you off.  

You asked me what was wrong. And I said, “I don’t know.” 

You wanted to know if I was mad at you. And I said, “No.” 

At this point, my already foul mood was growing fouler by the minute. I snapped at you to leave me alone. To just give me some space. To back off because I really wasn’t sure what was wrong.  

To be completely honest, what I really needed from you was a hug.  

But I wasn’t going to ask for that.  

In fact, if you had tried to hug me, I probably would have bristled at first, angry that you didn’t respect my wishes to be left alone. But as you continued to hold me, I would have softened into your loving embrace. I would have burst into tears while reassuring you I was OK and not even all that sure why I was crying. I would have wiped my tears on your sleeve . . . and in the end, I would have felt better.  

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Because what I really needed at that moment was a safe place to just let it all out.  

To let out all the tears. All the frustrations. All the pent-up feelings. All the worries and anxieties that were plaguing my heart. 

I couldn’t put a finger on one thing that was bothering me. I couldn’t name exactly what I was feeling. And for the life of me, I couldn’t just snap out of it and move on.  

Because the truth is there wasn’t one thing that was wrong. It was just everything. All of it. All at once. 

The truth is sometimes a woman’s cup just gets a little too full.  

The daily demands of running a home, caring for kids, working, staying in shape, staying in contact with family and friends, and all the other little things that fill a woman’s day can pile up quickly. The fears and worries over our children, our marriages, and our lives can fill our minds and overwhelm our souls. And inevitably the overflow will pour from our weary eyes. 

Because there is only so much a heart can hold onto before it needs to be emptied.  

Those tears I would have cried if you would have hugged me would have simply been my way of emptying my cup. So that I could fill it up again.  

Because those demands—and all those things that weigh on a mama’s heartwill never go away.  

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I know when my cup gets too full, I can be snippy. Short-tempered. Passive-aggressive. Like a cranky mama bear to deal with.  

But dear husband, in those moments I need you to put on your brave face and hug the bear.  

Because in those moments, I don’t need you to fix it. I don’t need you to help me figure it out. And I don’t need you to make it all better. I just need a safe place to empty my heart’s cup that has been filled a little too full.  

So, the next time I seem a little crabby. The next time you ask me what is wrong and I say, “I don’t know.” The next time I seem overwhelmed and ask you to please just leave me alone.  

Please don’t listen to me. 

Because, dear husband, in those moments what I really need from you . . . is a hug.  

Collene Borchardt

Collene is a wife and mother of three as well as a chronic illness warrior. She loves to write messages of hope and encouragement for women. Read more from Collene at Or visit her over at or