"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. I know, 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?
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- Signs You're With The Right Person - xoNecole: Women's Interest, Love, Wellness, Beauty ›
Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
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It seems like 2023 was a whirlwind, flying by a bit too quickly for many of us. And now that we're approaching the last month of the year, there's a push to prep for a great 2024. I'm not a huge fan of resolutions---as I never keep mine, and I'm unapologetically not sorry for that---but I'm heavy into at least getting a head start on looking forward to the possibilities of a fresh start, finally achieving a few lingering goals, and embracing more adventure.
If you're ready to plan ahead, it's the perfect time to make December count in order to plan for a successful new year. Here are a few fun ideas to get you started.
1. Host a reflection party.
Hey, you could do this alone, but you could also make it fun and interactive by inviting friends or industry friends to reflect on the highs and the lows of the year. Create a theme, offer customized cocktails, and talk about what each of you has accomplished, reminisce on the fun times you've had, talk about the challenges you've faced, and set a few goals. Add in a few fun activities like vision boarding or career mapping.
You could also have one last girls trip and attend a conference or networking event together. After each session, take the time to put on pajamas and reflect on what was learned, who you met, and how you'll apply pressure in your careers next year.
2. Declutter and reorganize.
If you haven't been purging throughout the year, December is a great time to get a head start. All those old clothes or shoes that you don't wear? Sell or donate them. If you need help, have a consultation with a professional organizer or watch a few good tutorials on Konmari methods.
Still holding on to furniture, appliances, or other home decor that really isn't functional, doesn't scream home for you, or needs an upgrade? Go thrifting, shop around, or treat yourself to interior decorating services.
If you can't afford to do any of those, move a few things around, repurpose your household items, or try DIYs. Sometimes a bit of paint or moving your home office into a different room can be small changes that lead to big differences in mood or convenience at home.
And, as mentioned before, invite a few friends, family, or bae, and make it another excuse to close out the year with good drinks, laughter, and connection.
3. Create a bucket list.
From your career to your personal life, it's good to write down your dream or must-do activities to get clear on what you want to accomplish in the new year and to serve as a nudge for accomplishment. And it doesn't have to be grand goals like "Save a million dollars," (though, if that's a bucket-list contender for you, go off, sis, and get that money.) It can be places you want to travel to, concerts you want to attend, professional development courses you want to take, or new adventurous experiences you want to enjoy.
One thing I like about bucket lists is that I don't approach them in the traditional way, where I feel pressure to do these things before the Lord calls me home. I like to think of a bucket list as a fun guideline that will help me get clear on what excites me, what I need to do to grow, and what challenges me to push past self-inflicted boundaries.
4. Prioritize wellness.
If you've slacked off a bit or know you might be facing a few issues in the health and wellness department, now is the time to start prioritizing. Set those last appointments for a full physical, gynecological, or dermatologist visit, follow-up tests, or therapy for next year. Sign up for fun fitness classes and schedule a few visits to the spa while you're at it.
Block out time in your schedule for meditation, prayer, religious services, and exercise, and go ahead and change that calendar setting to "daily" or "weekly." Set email updates and other ways to remind yourself to put wellness at the top of your priority list leading into the new year.
If you're already pretty consistent with your fitness and wellness goals, try a new activity or incorporate new technology to level up a bit and challenge yourself more. Try a new skincare routine, join a running group, or learn a new activity that requires movement, such as dance, karate, or boxing. Mix things up a bit so that you can enrich your experience on the journey.
5. Take an honest look at your finances and adjust accordingly.
If you're reading this, I'm sure you know the importance and power of budgeting, no matter how much money you make. Getting into a habit of knowing exactly how much you earn and how you're spending those earnings is vital to your success and financial freedom. If you have goals for next year that will require a significant shift in your budget, you'll need to adjust.
Be realistic and account for the things you enjoy doing, your lifestyle, your debts, and your other financial obligations. If you have vacations or other big events planned, be sure your budget accommodates them or set goals in order to save up. If you've experienced a major transition such as a marriage, divorce, or addition to your family, take some time to reflect on how your income is impacted and what you might need to do to ease the transition when it comes to your pockets.
Research ways you can make residual income, how you can invest, start a side hustle, and prep for retirement. (As much as some of you would like to think you're too young to think about that, imagine how much more of a nest egg you'd have if you started saving for retirement in your 20s or 30s.)
And don't sleep on insurance beyond coverage for your car or healthcare. Life, long-term care, and disability insurance are important if you have children, want to be sure your loved ones are taken care of financially in the future, or if you want to protect assets such as your income, home, or business.
Think about your prep for next year holistically and start this December to ensure that you're going into 2024 with a mindset and intention for success.
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