How Jerry McGuire Got It Wrong – Relationships Part 2
The words are immortal. Used in love letters and weddings. Jerry to Dorothy:
“I love you. You complete me.”
~ Jerry McGuire
Jerry McGuire got it wrong!
“You complete me.” Really?
I’ll get hate mail for this… but that’s a bad way to start!
Think about it. The flip side reveals what this is really saying: “I’m not complete. As a man, as a human being, I’m not a complete person.”
Now, if Jerry had said THAT to Dorothy, she might have had second thoughts. Do you think she wants a man who isn’t a complete person… who has holes in his personality… who isn’t quite all there… who can’t stand on his own two feet?
- fill the holes in my heart – cuz I’m not all healed from previous hurts…
- meet my needs – cuz I can’t take care of myself, I need a mama…
- fix me – cuz I feel broken, messed up, and life ain’t working right…
- make up for my weaknesses – otherwise I can’t do this and I’m not strong enough to handle things for myself.”
Yep, sounds attractive when you look at “you complete me” that way. And that’s what it means!
But when you complement some one, two complete people come together, people who can stand up for themselves, people who are not perfect, but whose growth and maturity don’t depend on the other’s completing them.
Complementing is: “Combining in such a way as to enhance or emphasize each other’s qualities.” ~ Online Google Dictionary
So, if Jerry said…
“Dorothy, you complement me.”
OK, so it’s not so poetic. But there’s a world of importance in the meaning!
To complement someone is like the two mallards here. Beautiful together, they fly together, they protect their nest together. But each is capable of flying independently, feeding independently, and flipping around the lake independently. They don’t complete each other. They complement each other.
When you complement someone, you’re a better person. Not because of need, but because of compatible strengths, mutual purpose, shared experience. You want to better than you you’ve been before, because the relationship enhances and emphasizes the qualities of strength and beauty you already possess.
Can you climb a mountain by yourself? Sure. Is it more fun with other climbers? Absolutely. Just don’t count on them carrying you up because you can’t do it yourself.
Are you OK by yourself? Have you learned to do things, to enjoy life, by yourself, and be OK? If so, you’re “complete” as an individual.
THEN, when two complete people like that get together, what strength they have! You come alongside each other, rather than need each other. You’re partners, rather than each other’s parent.
When you complement someone, you are free to have and to be a hero to them. No one is perfectly complete, so when you stumble, you’ve got someone to steady you, to help you, to challenge you and to keep you going strong. That’s not the same as being in a relationship because you “need” them. It’s a different, and healthier, foundation.
I’m in the process myself, same as you. I’m proactive about this… I go to movies by myself and purpose to enjoy myself with Pibb in one hand and popcorn in the other. I go for walks by myself, I sit on the dock by the lake by myself, I look at the stars, I read books… by myself, on purpose.
I’m even planning on climbing a mountain by myself this summer! On purpose. To learn to be a complete person. (Now, if a group of friends said, “Hey! We wanna come! Can we come, too?” I admit I’d have a hard time turning that down. The point is, I CAN do it by myself, and I’d be OK.
So, there’s food for thought. I’m only a $1.50 psychologist, and I’m happy to hear your thoughts on this.
And I’ll be OK, no matter what you say! ~smile~