You Complete Me

Jerry MaGuire got it wrong.  I actually sort of like this movie, but I think this scene stands at the crux of one of the problems I think exists with our view of love in America.  “You complete me”?  That’s a real problem.

Let’s break two competing views of love into mathamatical equations, because it makes it easier to explain where I’m coming from.  The first is the Jerry MaGuire view on love which I call 0.5 + 0.5 = 1.  The “you complete me” phenomenom of “I wasn’t whole before, but now that I’ve met you I’m now whole.”   Do you start to see the danger of this view on love?   How can another person rely on someone else who they have no control over to complete them?    Mathamatically it’s also dangerous because you are taking two people that don’t consider themselves whole and asking them to make one whole.  That sounds like the road to disappointment and co-dependence to me. 

Before I became a Christian I really think this view of love made sense to me because I didn’t feel whole.  I was a 0.5 and I could feel it and it hurt.  I assumed that I would find love or fullfillment outside of me and that would make me complete.  I tried to fill up that hole through booze, the search for love, acedemic success, among others.  A common path for those that don’t feel whole.  It led to more pain because that hole can’t be filled, it’s more like a black hole and the more you try to fill it the greater it’s mass and pain become.  Then after becoming a Christian and the hole being filled- those other pursuits lost an amazing degree of interest to me.  I felt whole.  The Lord or likely the Holy Spirit was what I was missing and the pain went away.  Now I was whole.  At  times I still fell back on bad habits of “searching” for something that wasn’t there, but eventually met my wife and it was around the time we were dating that I began to think about this problem of “you complete me” love.

So the alternative theory on love is 1 + 1 = 2.  You take two completed persons and turn them into something other, something greater then themselves.  If one of those people dies, disappoints/leaves the other, etc you are still left with a completed person.  Personally I think that completion should come from the Lord and I think the strength of my marriage rests on our being redeemed by something other than ourselves.  One of my old pasters put it something like “if my wife had to rely on ME to be a good person, she’d be in big trouble, luckily the Lord is on her side” (quotes to designate a thought not my own, that’s not even close to a quote of what he actually said).

Published in: on February 10, 2010 at 5:21 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Good stuff.

    Pastorally i find it difficult to convince people that they are whole (or to put another way ‘ayight’) with God just as they are. I can proclaim it all day long but some people have a hard time believing i am talking about them.

    Relationally, I also see the sharks on the other side of this. I see couples who, and at times see myself, fail to see themselves, after marriage, as a single unit. So instead of seeing themselves as a “2” in your math, they see themselves as 1 & 1 living in the same house. So they don’t make decisions together, they still fail to see how their actions affect the other person, etc.


    • I like the song, but I’m thinking specifically about the intro words.

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