When I was single, I often pictured the day I’d be in a relationship. I imagined never feeling lonely again. I imagined introducing my boyfriend—or eventually, husband—to my relatives and friends. I thought that finding the right guy would make me feel complete.
Fast-forward five or six years: I’m married. And, like a cruel joke, I still didn’t feel complete.
Don’t get me wrong: My husband was and is wonderful. He’s thoughtful, kind and godly—everything I prayed for and everything I need. But I learned an important lesson in my first year of marriage. I learned that boyfriends and husbands don’t complete you. And then I learned three important concepts every single girl should learn before jumping into her next relationship.
1. You Are Already a Complete Individual
Without even recognizing the implications, we accept that who we are as individuals is not enough. Whether through the influence of media or the pressure of friends, completeness to us means “in a relationship.”
But it’s this mentality that leads girls to settle for the first guy who comes their way. If we are incomplete without a relationship, any relationship should make us complete…right? Instead, we find that relationships begun in desperation, urgency or insecurity often lead to heartbreak.
Here is the truth: You are a complete individual. What you have to offer in knowledge, skills, talent and spirit was designed by God for use in His kingdom. You were equipped to fulfill a purpose beyond yourself and beyond a dating relationship. God’s purpose is not limited by your relationship status; in fact, singleness can be one of the greatest vehicles of God’s love in this world. But to use it for God’s glory, we have to embrace our status as complete. You are full of potential for God’s loving mission in this world. You are not incomplete, but exactly the opposite.
2. You Are Meant to Complement Each Other, Not Be Codependent
Living as a complete woman doesn’t mean you won’t ever be in a relationship. Yet women who embrace their completeness are filled with confidence in both who they are and where they are going. This kind of confidence is not only attractive, but it also provides a solid foundation upon which a lasting relationship can be built. Why?
Because godly couples complement one another. The marriage relationship—a form of it often echoed in dating—is a partnership in which two walk together in agreement (Amos 3:3), helping each other should one fall (Ecclesiastes 4:10). Where one is weak, the other is often strong. Where one is hesitant, the other is confident. But both are already complete.
This kind of relationship is interdependent. The couple depends on the strength of one another, but each person can stand on his or her own. This differs from codependency: a relationship in which one member completely depends on the other for her satisfaction, happiness or completion in life.
Don’t look for a guy to complete you—he isn’t meant to do so. You can offer so much more to the relationship by accepting your complete status and bringing that confidence into your dating life.
3. You Are Completed by the Work of Christ
Finally, and most importantly, you are complete because of Christ’s work on the cross. The purpose each of us has in this world is because of Christ’s sacrifice, which makes it possible for imperfect people to be used in God’s plan. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit provide the perfect model of complementarian relationships for us to use as a template in our own lives. The completed work of Christ is our identity, and in embracing that identity we can walk through life with irreplaceable confidence.
I once heard a saying: “People with inner dignity are never embarrassed.” Similarly, people with inner completeness are never insecure. Christ offers us this security of heart and soul, and you can offer it to the right guy at the right time.
So embrace who God made you to be, and walk in the confidence that you are already complete.