When two different things work well together, we say they complement each other, they fit one another, enhance one another, perfect one another, and complete one another.

Take nuts and bolts for example; they are usually made of the same material, but they are quite different to look at and have quite different roles. However, for all the differences, they work perfectly together in connecting and strengthening materials.  

One without the other is pretty useless, and two nuts or two bolts are equally useless. But a nut and bolt complement one another. They don’t compete with one another, they complete one another. 

When we look at the nut and bolt, we don’t think one is superior or inferior to the other, we just see different designs for different but complementary purposes. We don’t try to make the nut into a bolt or vice versa; that’s just a waste of time and effort. And when we see them working well together, we may want to compliment the inventor of this complement. 

Complementary Voices

Or take four singers all singing the same song with the same notes. That can sound quite pleasant. However, a composer comes along and with his trained ear can sense that each voice has it’s own unique sound. He therefore trains them individually to sing different notes – one is a soprano, another a bass, and the other two are alto and tenor.

Then he brings them all together again and what a transformation. Although they are now all singing different notes they complement each other and the harmonious result is far more beautiful than before. They don’t compete with one another but complete one another. 

We don’t think of one being more important or superior to another, we just hear each voice suited to its own role. The bass doesn’t try to be the soprano or vice versa – that just doesn’t work. We listen with pleasure and praise for the composer, and leave paying compliments to the arranger of this complement

Complementary Genders

When we come to men and women, we clearly see how God made men and women quite different. Sure, we all have eyes, ears, mouths, etc., but we are different in many other ways – physically, emotionally, cognitively, and so on. And these differences are not a problem, they are the solution. The differences are not accidental but intentional.

God made men and women different in order that they would complement each other, work better together than apart. They don’t compete with each other, they complete each other. 

They differ physically; they differ in the way each thinks, feels, and relates; they differ in their roles and responsibilities. And yet because God deliberately designed the differences to help and perfect the other, when these differences are accepted and celebrated, both the man and the woman flourish and thrive. Neither is superior nor inferior to the other, and neither is suited to the roles and responsibilities of the other.

Even in sinless paradise, God saw that man was incomplete while alone. With great wisdom and skill He made the first woman, Eve, not to compete with Adam but to complete him (and vice versa). God did not design another man for Adam – that would not have solved the problem, but simply doubled it. He created a woman, and when Adam immediately saw how she complemented him and he her, he complimented both her and the one who made them so complementary.

Let’s all of us praise God for His gender design skills, and cooperate with His plan rather than substitute our own. If married, why not ask, “How can we better complement each other?” or if unmarried and yet hoping to be married, “What areas should I develop, in order to be more complementary to my future husband/wife?”