Did he have you at hello or does your love run a little deeper?
I’m not a big Valentine’s Day fan. Not because I don’t like a little bit of romance, flowers, or chocolates it’s just that I don’t like the Hallmark Card, bad stuffed animal version of romance that lands on one day a year. Can’t we be romantic more frequently or at least not on the same day as everyone else? Call me the romance scrooge but I really don’t like a lot of our cultures versions of love and romance. Maybe I’m a skeptic but if Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries can’t work it out then what chance do the rest of us have?
How many of you saw and loved the movie, Jerry Maguire? Me, me, me! I loved that movie. My favorite scene happens when Jerry (Tom Cruise) comes back to Dorothy Boyd (Renee Zelwegger) and says the now famous words, “You complete me.” Seriously, every woman in the audience swooned when the very charming Tom Cruise uttered those words. Later however, after I calmed myself down, I started to question if those words were really what women should be looking for.
Do we really want an incomplete partner? What exactly would it take to fill that person up? Do we need to be one and a half people if we marry our incomplete suitor? Hmmmm, Tom Cruise and his misaligned malocclusion (sorry, I’m married to a dentist) suddenly didn’t seem quite so enticing. Wouldn’t life be just a bit easier if we came into relationships as two whole people? Not two perfect people but two complete individuals who don’t need to be emotionally filled up by the other person?
What would two complete people in a relationship actually look like? They would definitely be collaborative not competitive. Think, “I’ll pick the kids up while you make dinner” vs. "I worked harder than you did today so you should make dinner and pick the kids up." This dream couple would compliment not complete each other. They are just fine on their own but even more interesting when they are together because they bring out the best in each other. They certainly wouldn’t be the pair who needs to prove to the world what a perfect couple they are by annoying displays of PDA or constant reminders to the rest of us that they never fight. Instead they would be conscious of their struggles, verbalize them, and find creative ways to improve their interactions and relationship.
How do we know if we are actually whole or not? Here are a few things to consider; are you a conscious person? In other words, are you aware of what you think and feel and how those thoughts affect your behavior? Or are you reactive, spiteful, defensive, angry, fearful or needy? Those are typically not signs of the conscious person. What are some of the things that you say to yourself or others about your spouse? Do you often say, “He makes me feel _______?” Or, “It’s her fault that I overate (overdrank, kicked the dog, yelled at the kids, etc.) because she made me so mad!” Not good signs that you are taking responsibility for your own actions or feelings.
If one day you wake up and realize that you feel neither conscious nor whole, it’s not too late! Start today by owning your own emotions, taking responsibility for yourself, not allowing yourself to be treated like or act like a victim, to use anger responsibly and not as a weapon. Teach your children to be whole but imperfect themselves. Life and love are so much more fun that way. Who wants to have to take care of our own consciousness as well as those around us? If after reading this you are tempted to tell your partner that they are neither whole nor conscious, let me suggest that that’s a bad idea. Take responsibility for yourself, you are the only one you can control anyway.
After that initial amazing adrenaline buzz of love, isn’t the best kind of love one that is reliable, kind, compassionate, and growing? Where two people love their individual realities that become even better when they are with the other person? A relationship that can tolerate tough times, periodic separation, and the demands of external forces without collapsing is the one that will stand the test of time. Isn’t the most romantic love the one that doesn’t need high priced roses and syrupy cards one day a year but true compatibility and half-priced roses every other day of the year?
So thanks anyway Jerry Maguire. It turns out you didn’t have me at, “Hello.”