You Complete Me, My Better Half.

“You complete me.” I remember when the movie that popularized this phrase came out. I don’t think I was allowed to see it (I still have only seen the first few minutes). I have seen the scene where Tom Cruise says this line to Renee Zellweger. Since then, I have heard people say this or similar things to it over and over again. I have often wondered what exactly it means. Even though it was meant to be romantic, I think it portrays an incredibly unhealthy way of interacting in a relationship. When one person is so dependent on another that when they are not together, they cannot function, there is a problem. This is no different than saying, “She is my other half.” I am guilty of saying this. Usually in the form of, “She is my better half.” Its a nice flattering thing to say but is it really the way that we should establish ourselves within our marriage union?

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There are a lot of fancy psychological words used to describe this idea. Differentiation of Self, Undifferentiated Ego Mass, Internal Locus of Self. All of them are basically describing one thing. A confidence in one’s self that is so solid that if one was separated from any other particular person or group of people, they would still be able to function in a healthy way. We are of course not talking in spiritual terms here (There is a whole additional blog post devoted to differentiation and spirituality). Its a wonderful thing when two people can come together not because they need each other but because they want each other. This deepens the relationship to a level that is more voluntary and vulnerable.

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What would marriages look like if instead of being with someone because they met a need and filled an empty void, we entered into these relationships because there is something about the other that is so desirable that (I almost said, “we can’t live without”) if they felt the same desire and passion for us, a glimpse of heaven on earth would be seen. I don’t want to live in a world where I need things. I don’t want to live in a world where I am needed. I want to live in a world where those in relationship with me are there because of desire and admiration.


About joshkellar

I'm married to an incredible woman of God and have two daughters that love to laugh and delight in the Lord. My goal in life is to bring others into closer relationship with God by engaging them in His story as we journey together in a faith-filled community. The basis for every decision I make in life comes back to my calling to share the love of God with those around me. My hope is that at every opportunity I will encourage others into a greater lifelong journey of discipleship.

Posted on November 14, 2006, in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. This gave me a lot of food for thought, making me rethink of the ways I say things in regards to my love to Jon. Having lost a child, I sometimes wonder how I could survive losing someone else so close and yes, important, to me, like dh or my son.
    However, dh and I have talked about this, how we dont’ want to make our world revolve each other, our family, because we know…that could be gone. I dont’ want to even think of it because it makes me sick to the stomach, but then again I don’t want to live in fear. It’s really hard. Thanks for letting me share. I found your blog from looking at jon’s list of friends on facebook. This is Miriam Wrye btw!

  2. I feel that bob’s comments are certainly valid. I hope that my post was not perceived as a comprehensive analysis of the way that relationships should be. I think that when a person’s spouse dies, they should feel a void. I do not believe my comments discredit that. I believe there is a healthy void when a spouse dies. By this I mean that there are emotions that are to be expected. These emotions are tied intimately with the union that is created “when the two become one flesh.” As I mentioned in my post, a whole additional post could (and might be in the future) be devoted to differentiation and spirituality. As I feel it was clear that my post was directed primarily toward voluntary couple relationships we enter into, I will not address bob’s comments regarding children.


  3. What then? If my spouse dies I should feel no void, only a frustrated desire? And are you not contradicting Christ by saying that a man and wife should not be two halves of a whole? “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”

    And if you desire a world where those “in relationship with me are there because of desire and admiration”, you will be forsaking the love of your daughter. Her love for you will, for years, be inextricably bound up with her deep needs, both emotional and physical. She will depend on you for teaching, shelter, food, affection. An infant starved of any love dies as surely as an infant starved of food.

  4. I’ve often avoided relationships where I felt that I was filling an empty space in a girl’s life.

    It just seems like too many people have a vaccum of empty space; they want to fill it, so they find a lover or marriage partner. What ends up happening is that they eventually find someone who’s emptiness sucks as much as theirs and then they press their emptiness together and the emptiness is all there is to hold them together.

    Who wants to be trapped with someone because you are both too empty to be happy alone? Not me. Then again, I am still single at 30, so maybe some people would question my judgement on that.

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