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It’s a cute little saying.

“Oh let me introduce you to my ‘better half.'”

Actually, it’s become so commonplace, some don’t even say it to be cute. It’s said almost without thinking. As a mater of fact.

And I understand what people mean by it.

But I still hate it.

I don’t want to be a semantic Nazi, but I think we need to be clear about what makes for healthy relationships.

Because in case you haven’t noticed, our culture is suffering in the “healthy relationships” category: dating, marriage or otherwise.

Would you like to thrive in healthy relationships?

More specifically, would you like to one day find yourself in a life-giving, life-long marriage?

Then you need to understand this very important principle: healthy relationships are not formed by half-people.

To be precise: a life-giving, life-long marriage is comprised of two very whole people.

As Paul declared in Eph 5:31-32:

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.

Did you catch that: the two shall become one. Not two halves. Just two, as in two wholes.

1 whole person + 1 whole person = 1 marital union

1/2 + 1/2 = 1 is math, but marriage isn’t math. It’s a mystery. And to hear Paul tell it: a profound mystery.

Even still you may wonder if the right relationship with the right person will complete you. You may even deeply hope it will.

To be sure, many, while under the influence of infatuation, swear it has completed them!

Tom Cruise famously declared as much to Renee Zellweger. But that was just an act.

Did Tom feel the same way about each of the three women he fell in love with and married in real life? I don’t know. He never told me. But clearly none of them complete him anymore.

So what’s the answer? Can marriage complete you?

It could!

But probably not like you’re thinking.

When you imagine marriage to the right person (like Tom Cruise or Renee Zellweger) completing you, you may hope marriage will accomplish one ore more of the following:

If you thought that way, you wouldn’t be alone. Many believe the right marriage to the right person will prove the pathway to the perfect life; a way of making you “complete.”

Admittedly, that sounds wonderful, but there’s only one perfect person who can complete you like that, and you can’t marry Him, because He’s already committed to marry His bride, the church. (But when the day of that marriage feast arrives, rest assured, there will be no more loneliness, no more pain and no more sorrow!)

Until that day, don’t despair!

Marriage still holds the power to complete you! Not to make your life complete, in the sense of perfecting your life, but to make you complete, in the sense of perfecting you!

This is the sense in which I, along with millions of other happily married folks (yes, there are millions of us), have experienced “completion” in marriage.

As you may have gathered by now, this completion didn’t happen when we first met (“You had me at, ‘hello.'”) Nor did it didn’t happen at the altar when we said, “I do.”

Instead, those of us in life-giving, life-long marriages find ourselves being completed one day at a time, as we say things like…

  • “I’m sorry.”
  • “I forgive you.”
  • “I believe in you!”
  • “I believe in US!”
  • “I’m never going to give up on you.”
  • “I’m going to fight for you!”
  • “We can do this!”
  • “We will make it through this.”
  • “We’re going to figure this thing out.”
  • “We’re in this thing together.”
  • “It’s going to be worth it.”
  • “It’s not over til it’s over.”
  • “Let’s pray about this.”
  • “Let’s go to God’s word.”
  • “Let’s get help.”
  • “I am still committed to you.”
  • “I will keep the covenant I made to love, honor, and cherish you as long as we both shall live.”

In short, the completion marriage offers isn’t a prize, but a process.

And here’s the beauty of this truth for those of you who long for completion: you don’t have to wait around for the “right person!” Indeed, if you let it, even marriage to the “wrong” person can complete you.

Of course, if you want the “completion” of marriage to be more enjoyable, you’ll need to pursue it with wisdom and intentionality. And if you desire to increase your chances of enjoying the ride, you’ll want to prepare for marriage like it were the life-long ultimate-ninja-warrior-level relationship that it is.

So all of that to say, have you? Have you even begun preparing for marriage like you would a successful career: intentionally, intelligently, and IN ADVANCE?

If not? What are you waiting for?

Don’t wait for marriage to complete you. Let it happen today in the relationships you already have today!

And to guide you along the way, check out our Hot Topic page dedicated to healthy relationships.

Date Night Advice (DNA) series: What Marriage Vows Cannot Vow
Part 10: Marriage Vows Cannot Vow to Complete You
Click here for the next post in the series.

DNA: It’s What’s For Dating

Dug this weekend’s DNA? Be a good friend and share with your friends on the social media platform of choice: Instagram, Youtube, Facebook, or Twitter.

The LoveEd discipleship series, Beyond Sex & Salvation, will empower you to prepare for relational success when it counts: BEFORE you fall in love!

It’s NOT for couples, but for any wise individual who thinks they might want to get married sometime before they die. And would like to learn how to better build healthy relationships in the meantime.

Check out all three study guides in our store. You can walk through them on your own, but it’s more fun with friends (that and it kinda makes sense to grow in relational success in actual relationships with others), so consider putting together an FMU LoveEd small group study.

Even better?  And ask a rock star married couple you respect to lead it!