“You Complete Me”
Don’t you just love a good romantic movie? The year we got married, the romantic-comedy Jerry McGuire hit the big screen. It had something for everyone, sports, comedy, romance, even a cute kid. We watched the relational ups and downs of an unlikely couple. And just when we thought it wasn’t gonna happen, Tom Cruise captured the heart of a tearful Renee Zellweger with the line happy endings are made of, “you complete me.” What woman doesn’t want to hear her man say that? But, is this declaration healthy or even a fair representation of the marriage relationship?
In marriage, many things are overtly hazardous to the relationship; infidelity, alcoholism, drug abuse, physical abuse, just to name a few. However, many times there are things that seem sweet but are actually dangerous. Co-dependency is one of these things. At first glance, recognizing co-dependency in the marriage relationship might not seem obvious, especially if both partners are contributing. You simply see a couple that is close, loving, and enjoys being around each other. But when you look closer, you may get a glimpse into their unhealthy tendencies. Whether we realize it or not, seeking our “completion” or wholeness in another person only satisfies temporarily.
What does co-dependency look like in the marriage relationship? Co-dependency is when one person is somehow held responsible for the other’s ability to reach their full potential. This suggests that the individual can’t effectively achieve their goals or function daily without the other, as if God doesn’t have an individual plan or relationship for them alone. In co-dependency, one partner sacrifices all for and ends up defined by their relationship. That’s an awful lot of pressure to put on any human!
The truth is we were all born incomplete. Ecclesiastes 3:11 tells us that “God has put eternity into the human heart.” We have a sense that there is more. We have a longing to fill the void and find completion. We search and search and think a job, hobby, or another person, our spouse, will fill that resounding emptiness we sense. We continue to chase fulfillment, but our idols always come up short. The good news is, there is an answer. Colossians 2:9-10a says, “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ, you have been brought to fullness.” It’s only in the person of Jesus Christ that we settle the question of completion.
So, where do we go from here? First, we have to assess the relationship we have with our spouse. Do we depend on, or are we co-dependent on each other? Have we made our spouse our god? If so, we have to recognize the need for true salvation from the only One who can offer it, then ask Jesus to forgive us of our sin and save us from self-reliance. Once we have been placed in Christ through salvation, we are complete. Only two, healthy, whole people who are looking to Christ to fulfill them will be able to love their spouse the way God intended.
Marriage wasn’t designed to bear the weight of co-dependency. If left unchecked over an extended period of time, it will eventually suffocate the life out of the relationship. Once we begin consistently reading the Bible, praying, and walking in a loving relationship with Jesus, we will find satisfaction in who we are and in His inseparable love for us. This is the only co-dependency that truly breathes life into us and strengthens us to be the spouse God has called us to be.
“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
Enjoying the Adventure,
Daniel & Bonnie