Benjamin and I celebrated the anniversary of our first date last night with some delicious Culver’s ice cream. As we were sitting there in the restaurant, I kept thinking about our relationship – about how much it has changed and how much we have changed. We have grown so much, but still… Benjamin just doesn’t complete me.
I know, I know. Way to kill the romance. It should be more like those chick flicks —
The handsome hero bursts onto the screen and flashes a smile at the oh-so-beautiful heroine.
“I love you, Marsha!” he says. “I’ve always loved you!”
“Oh, Gerald!” she sighs. “How I have longed to hear you say that. You complete me!”
The two embrace and you (or the person who forced you to watch this sappy drivel) sigh(s) contentedly. All is right with the TV world.
Now, I love a good romance movie. I really, really love a good romance movie. But the idea of falling in love so completely that it is like that person meets all of your wants and needs?
That’s alarmingly dangerous.
We know from the Bible that God placed a desire in people to be with people. When Adam was alone with just God in the world, God said, “It is not good for man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18), so He created Eve.
Love and marriage are good things, fashioned and formed by God Himself.
In Genesis 3, we see the perfect picture of what our relationship with God is supposed to look like, too, as Adam and Eve walked with God in total connection.
That means we have two needs: (1) the need to connect with other people, but even more, (2) the need to connect with our Savior.
Deep down inside, we long for the past perfection of the Garden and the someday perfection of Heaven in which we can be in total communion with God. We long to connect with Him in a deep and meaningful way.
And when that seems hard, we try to fill that longing with people… And that’s when we rely on others to complete us.
So how do we make sure that our love for our significant other is only fulfilling that need for people, and not trying to fill that need for God?
Well, first we have to actually be complete in Christ. To know that we are, first we have to know how totally incomplete we are on our own. Isaiah 59:2 says that our sins have utterly “separated us from God.” That vital relationship with our Creator is lost, and it left a giant, gaping hole in its place.
But, Ephesians 2:13 says, “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” Christ’s death on the Cross, if we accept the gift, makes us whole again. It has made us so that we “are complete in Him” (Colossians 2:10).
Being so fulfilled in every way by Christ totally changes our view of people. They become a blessing instead of a crucial lifeline.
1. We have to make the effort to put Christ first in our relationship.
I don’t know how many times I have thought to myself, “Oh, I can just skip reading my Bible today because I am spending such good quality time with Benjamin, which makes God happy!” Um, that’s not how it works… Matthew 6:21 says, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” I have to ask myself: Are my priorities Earthly or Heavenly?
And if you are with someone who hasn’t accepted Christ’s saving grace and isn’t living for Him, you will never be aiming for this goal together.
2. We have to be ready for the fact that the other person will mess up.
People sin, all the time, even after they have accepted Christ. That’s why putting them on a pedestal can hurt us so much. If our life is filled with what that person thinks and what that person does, then we are going to be shattered when they disappoint us.
3. We have to love them with 1 Corinthians 13 love.
(You were waiting for that chapter to pop up, weren’t you?) Open up your Bible and look at that chapter. It’s not easy, it’s not always romantic, but it’s rich and it’s real, and it’s not based on circumstances. Those verses are God’s desire for our relationships.
So, long story short: Love for other people, whether significant other, family member, or a friend, is wonderful, and good, and created by God. It’s something to be treasured and worked at.
What it shouldn’t be trying to do is fill Christ sized holes. It shouldn’t be up on a pedestal, the focus of our life, or the relationship we identify most closely with. If it is, then the problem is still there, it’s just hidden under some roses and candy hearts.
So, dearest, sweetest husband, if you’re reading this, I am about to say to you perhaps the most loving thing I have ever said: You don’t complete me. You really, really don’t. Smooches!
Share your story! When have you tried to fill your need for Christ with other people? How do you keep your relationships focused primarily on Jesus?