Three little words that can change your life… You complete me. (9 of ?)

Sometimes the simplest little things can have big impact on our lives. In this series of posts I examine very short sentences (each just three words long) that can make a difference in your life. If you have a three word sentence that changed your life somehow, share it with me and I will share it with the world.

I was surprised when I Googled this little phrase to see so much already posted about this. I sort of remembered it from the Tom Cruise movie Jerry McGuire, but it was the history going back to the ancient Greeks and Plato that surprised me (click here to read that article post on the Relevant Magazine site). Greek mythology has an elaborate explanation of how the human race was split into male and female by the god Zeus out of the androgynous offspring of the moon. The entire two parts of a whole thing is a fascinating read and is said to have led to the phrase “my better half” in our modern lexicon.

While not mentioned in the Google response I was thinking when I read it that the Chinese Yin andyin yang Yang Taoist symbols apply there, too; although in the Taoist beliefs they represent opposing forces in constant battle and not two parts that make up a whole. Of course, we all know couples that seem to be in constant battles, too.

Another thing that surprised me a bit is how overuse and maybe sometimes inappropriate use of this little phrase, some of it based upon the movie, has served to marginalize it. The phrase has not totally taken on the guise of a caricature in the vernacular yet, but it isn’t far from that. It’s referred to somewhat derogatorily as “an old soul mate saying” in many of the Google responses. That’s a shame, because for many it still has great personal meaning.

There is great value in the phrase when it is meant to allude to the love and companionship that may have been missing in one’s life that are filled by a meaningful relationship. Perhaps instead of “you complete me” the more appropriate phrase would be, “you fill the void that was in my life.” Over time, in long-term relationships, more and more layers of meaning are added to that little phrase.

old cooupleCouples in long term, committed relationships that last, move through phases in life, in which some things that were primary to the relationship in the beginning fade into the background; and new things, or things that were there all along but just not front and center, take more prominent rolls. Where once two bodies intertwined; now, two souls have become enmeshed. The heat of ardor and lust is replaced by the warm comfort of love and companionship. The rapid heartbeat of passion is replaced by the reassuring heartbeat of companionship. The two persons almost seem as one. Together they are strong and capable and unafraid, but apart they may become disoriented, confused and anxious.

You may have known older couples like that and thought, “How cute is that?” Sometimes they

"Image courtesy of Simon Howden /".

“Image courtesy of Simon Howden /”.

shuffle along, supporting each other, maybe holding hands or with arms intertwined. It wasn’t cute; you were witnessing true love and commitment; and, each of them made the other complete. I suspect that is why you occasionally hear of both parties in one of those relationships dying within days of each other. It is often been said that they couldn’t stand to be apart – they had become incomplete.

So, rather than snicker when you hear those three little words or thinking of the Tom Cruise movie or toss the line off cavalierly ; think about that little old couple shuffling along in the mall together. They have found something together that you can only hope you find in your life. They understand and are living the commitment that they made to each other. They know that the other half of them will be there in times of need. They have made each other complete. You should be so lucky.

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