I find myself torn between completing the continuation of my last post and composing another post entirely devoted to a theological debate near and dear to my heart . . .
I suppose I could do both.
Allow me then to pick up where I left off:
First, there’s the easy “Sunday school answer”: Based upon my interpretations of the Christian ideals of the sacrament of marriage, what makes marriage miraculous is that God “makes one of two” — he unites two people as one. On a simple mathematical scale, then, this means that
1 + 1 = 1
i.e., one whole person plus one whole person equals one whole marriage. Therefore, there is danger in looking for someone who “completes” you. Instead, you must first become complete in order to contribute fully to the marriage; otherwise one half of a person looking for her “better half” will, at best (if she finds a man who is himself whole), have roughly three-quarters of a marriage. Half plus half equals half, and so on. This is, of course, simplistic and a bit idealistic; I am by no means trying to say that perfection is required of both parties as insurance of a happy union. However, looking for someone that compensates for areas in which you find yourself lacking will most likely lead to dependency and resentment.
But let’s say you aren’t a Christian, or even a deist or a monotheist. As a human being, I would argue that looking for someone who completes you can still leave you ultimately unhappy. Really, most relationship advice prescribed by those our culture would call “experts” — magazine columnists, sex therapists, talk show hosts, et. al. — say similar things: until you are happy with yourself, it’s doubtful you’ll find lasting happiness with another person (unless codependency is your idea of happiness). Sheila may find herself initially attracted to Vick because he is outgoing and funny, and when she’s with him, people talk to her. But eventually, if she starts to rely solely on Vick to “get the ball rolling” at social functions, perhaps Vick will start to resent the way Sheila always leeches off of his conversations and how she clings to him everywhere they go. Or, if Vick good-naturedly supports Sheila’s dependency and constantly takes the lead in all their social interactions, Sheila may begin to resent him, feeling he’s acting superior or dominating their social life.
This is, incidentally, just another reason why people warn against marrying too young. Chances are, the older you are, the more developed you are as an independent person.
More on that aforementioned debate later.