"In marriage, the man and woman must complement each other."—Lailah Gifty Akita
Complement: something that completes or makes perfect
In a lot of my articles, you'll see Scripture. That is both intentional and unapologetic because, like I tell some of the people in my world who aren't Christian, if you just apply the Book of Proverbs (which is simply a book of wisdom and common sense) to your life for a month, it'll make your way of life better. Religion aside, there are some real gems in the Word. Simple as that.
Take the second book of Genesis, for example. It's where you are able to see how Adam and Eve got together. If you read a particular version of Genesis 2:18, it's got a word in it that truly stands out—"Now the Lord God said, It is not good (sufficient, satisfactory) that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper (suitable, adapted, complementary) for him." (AMPC) Off the rip, we're able to see that if someone is truly right for us, they will be suitable (becoming), adapted (flexible) and complementary (more on that in just a sec) for us.
Interestingly enough, that verse doesn't say anything about fine, rich or good in bed. Not that those aren't OK too, but a lot of us get tripped up (if not flat-out heartbroken) because we put the icing before the cake, so to speak.
We'd rather "he" be fine instead of suitable, rich before adapted and good in bed before complementary. Iknow, firsthand, that too much icing can make you sick. Sick and tired, if you want to be really real about it.
That's why I wanted to take out, just a few moments of your time, to explore the word "complement" for just a moment. My hope is, whether you just met someone who tickles your fancy, you've been dating a guy for a few months now or you feel like who you're seeing really could be the one, but you need a few more signs, this will help to provide some of the clarity that you need. So that you'll know whether to move forward or…to take a few steps back (or away).
And just how can you know if a man truly complements your life?
Your Complement Will Upgrade Your Life
I adore music and, since I'm a words of affirmation kind of gal, I'm all about the lyrics. If you listen to Beyonce's "Upgrade U" really closely, you'll hear the word "complement" used in it. Where? Here: "When you're in the big meetings for the mills/That's a good look/You take me just to complement the deal/That's a good look". What I dig about this part—the entire song, really—is it shows that when someone truly complements another person, the complementing applies across the board. You can just skim articles like "Jay-Z and Beyoncé Are Now Worth a Combined $1.255 Billion -- and Counting" see that, together, Jay and Bey enhance and literally enrich each other's lives both personally as well as professionally. Just as a true complement is supposed to do.
Am I saying that unless a man is rolling in the dough that he's not a good fit? Of course not. Rich folks break-up just as much as broke people do. But what I am saying is what Beyonce sang is something that should really stick close to home while you're in the process of doing all of your assessing.
When someone upgrades your life, they improve it. They will also cause the quality of your life to be on a steady incline. Due to their influence, you should be able to see these results in not just one but all areas.
Ole' boy—since he's been around, has he helped you to improve how you move in your purpose? Can you tell that you are only growing and evolving on a spiritual and emotional level? The cool thing about both of these questions is they don't really warrant a "grey" response; it's black or white because either he is (yes) or he isn't (no). Which is it, sis?
Your Complement Will Make Your World Better
Even though Fabolous still warrants a bit of a side-eye as far as I'm concerned (if you read in between the lines, you can probably guess where I am coming from), there is a joint that he recorded along with Ne-Yo back in the day that I've always liked; it's also quite fitting for what I'm talking about—"You Make Me Better": "I'm a movement by myself/But I'm a force when we're together/Mami, I'm good all by myself/But baby, you, you make me better".
Yaaas. What's so dope about the hook is Ne-Yo said that he was straight even before his girl came along. He's a movement all on his own, but with her? Then he becomes a force. That actually reminds me of a T-shirt that I've seen on the Tees in the Trap site that says, "Be a Boss. Marry a Boss. Build an Empire Together." All of this is a reminder that if you want a man to complement you in the best way possible, you need to be good all on your own first. Then, once he arrives, he becomes an additional driving force to make you better.
And better? Better is a really big word! It means that he will come along and make you more virtuous (that's a mouthful right there!), more excellent…he will help to increase the good qualities that you already have.
I don't know about you, but I've been with men who have brought out the best in me, then I've been with those who brought out the absolute worst. I have accepted that my true complement is going to strengthen me and compel me to be the best woman I can be. That's literally what a driving force does. That's literally what someone making you better is all about.
Your Complement Will Complete You (Just Not in the Way That You Think)
When Tom Cruise, as Jerry Maguire, looked his wife in the eyes and said, "You complete me", it's probably one of the most memorable lines in a chick flick. Some people heard it and were moved. Others heard it and wanted to gag. I see both sides.
Do I think that an individual is to complete another person? Eh. Not in the way that it is usually taught or defined. Personally, I don't believe that you are fractionated or broken without having a man in your life. But what I do feel is that the context of how I took "complete me" in the film is lost on a lot of folks.
If you've never seen Jerry Maguire before, Jerry's assistant-turned wife Dorothy (played by Renee Zellweger) was holding him down and having his back in ways that he truly took for granted until his one-man company scored a win and she wasn't there to celebrate with him. When he went back to her house to say, "You complete me", I took that to mean that she was his "bashert" which is the Hebrew word for his "meant to be". Time had revealed to him that she was a woman of good character, that she was loyal and dependable, and that she brought things into his life that he didn't know were missing—until she arrived.
When the right man complements you, he completes you in the sense that you truly feel like you are "lacking nothing" (one definition of complete) with him around. It's not that you were "needy" for him before; it's just that now that he's here, all that you need in a relationship—and even some of what you want—exists. To me, that is a healthy way to want someone to complete you.
Your Complement Will “Balance You Out”
Lord, have mercy, y'all. Can we just have a moment of silence followed immediately by some roaring applause for the word "balance"? I promise you that the older—and hopefully wiser—that I get, the more I want to have a life of balance.
One definition of balance is "equilibrium" and one definition of that is "equanimity". What exactly is equanimity? Let's all get free—"mental or emotional stability or composure, especially under tension or strain; calmness; equilibrium". For the cheap seats all the way in the back (or the super hardheaded ladies that constantly stay in a state of emotional instability due to the drama in their relationships), let me just reiterate the fact that if you are in a relationship with someone who truly complements you, this means they will bring balance to your life. That means they won't do anything that triggers you to become mentally or emotionally unstable. They won't bring tension or strain to your spirit. You will have a sense of calm when they are in your presence. How do I know? Because—get this—a synonym for complement is balance.
A writer by the name of Rachel Hollis once said, "It's usually our opposites who complement us best, because they're the only ones who can balance us out." That's another way of saying that opposites attract. I've done enough counseling to not think that is always the case (every couple is different), but what I will say is your best complement will challenge you to become better; however, they will do it in such a way where your mental and emotional stability and sanity will remain firmly intact. Full stop.
With Your Complement, You Can Rest
And finally, guess what another synonym for complement is? Rest. Rest, honey. A verb tense of rest is "to lay or place for rest, ease, or support". A noun one is "refreshing ease or inactivity after exertion or labor".
I'm a marriage life coach who has interesting conversations with licensed counselors and therapists all of the time. One topic that continually comes up is what we all feel about the statement, "Relationships are a lot of work." Although some relationships are (especially the ones who didn't make finding their complement a top priority in the beginning), the word that I think we all should strive for is maintenance. I say that because when something (or one) is a lot of work, that means it is literally a lot of exertion or labor. When something (or one) is more in the lane of being maintenance, it's more about supporting, affirming and preserving it. "It" is already good, mind you. You're just doing your part to keep it in its already healthy state.
And yes, when a relationship is already good, when you are with your true complement, you don't find yourself feeling like you are constantly exerting yourself or that it is mad laborious on a daily basis. You can rest in it because there is an atmosphere of ease. You can literally woosah in your man's space because he's a source of peace.
So sis, if you're seriously looking for confirmation on who Mr. Right is, don't sleep on the word "complement"; not for a second. Your complement will cause you to thrive and help you to chill simultaneously. And really, how hot—sexy, fulfilling and oh so right—is that?
Featured image by Getty Images