“I finally found you. My missing puzzle piece. I’m complete.”
Katy Perry, Teenage Dream. This song was in a dance performance at a wedding I recently attended. It expresses a sentiment I hear often: “You make my life whole. You make life worth living. My life would suck without you.” A beautiful expression of intimacy. With you, the sun is brighter, the sky is bluer, everything is better.
Yet does this mean that life is incomplete without a romantic partner? I remember talking to a friend years ago who had just gone through a breakup with her boyfriend. When I asked how she is doing, she responded, “I’m fine. Just getting used to being alone,” and started weeping. She was responding to the pain of loss, but there was a deeper pain of incompleteness. Without him, her life lost all color and happiness. I want to take pains to communicate to others that a romantic relationship is not a prerequisite to a rich and fulfilling life.
My counseling teacher once reflected on the wedding tradition of lighting candles. The couple each lights a candle, then light a single candle together, symbolizing their unity. “But when you do that, don’t blow your candle out! You still have a life outside of your marriage. Your union is not extinguishing your individual lives, but joining them together to something unique and beautiful.”