Have you seen that movie where the guy says to the girl, ‘You complete me?’
Notice I did not mention which movie. I don’t have to. I have heard this sentiment expressed many times, in conversations, in songs, in the interrogations of single people as though their lives depended on getting married.
This concept of love as the key ingredient to our sense of self has permeated our culture.
It is the notion that we are not complete within ourselves because we need another person to complete us. And not just any person. A romantic and sexual person. Apparently it is romance and sex that make us whole.
Apparently romance and sex make us whole.
Am I the only one who has a problem with this?
Beyond inferring that we are all walking around as half-people, I think there are three main issues with this kind of belief:
- It implies that single people cannot be whole. For those who never find a partner or who separate from their current partner, the You-Complete-Me message claims singles are incomplete by virtue of their singledom. It says singles are doomed. And it infers all partnered people are whole. This is not always the case.
- It casts all other relationships as inferior roles. Close family relationships, beautiful long-term friendships, spiritual families, one’s faith relationship with God – apparently these are all inferior to the love of a partner.
- It misses the whole point of identity. Yes, our identity is shaped in part by others, by our relationships, by the experiences we have, and by who we strive to be. But that is not the source of our identity.
It misses the whole point of identity.
Christ is the source of our identity. Our faith shapes our souls, our true selves, the part of us that remains when all else is stripped away.
We do not lose ourselves when we give our lives over to Christ. Our identity is found precisely in giving ourselves over to God. It is one of the paradoxes of God’s kingdom: the more we lose ourselves, the more we find him–and we find our true selves hidden in him.
It is in Christ that we find who we are and what we are meant to be doing.
It is in Christ that we find who we are.
When our identities are in crisis – when yet another relationship has failed, when another person has let us down, when we are faced with an existential crisis – it is in Christ that we find wholeness.
May you find Christ in the crisis.
Do you, or other singles you know, feel whole in singledom? How do you respond when others worship at the shrine of romance? How do you see your identity in Christ? Share your story. Let’s have a countercultural conversation.