In a three-guide coupler with multimode central waveguide, more than two modes of the entire structure participate in the coupling between the outer waveguides. Using a three-mode approximation we found simple conditions for complete power transfer between the outer waveguides: the device length has to match certain multiples of the conventionally defined coupling length. The specific form of the relevant modes allows us to design a magneto-optic isolator or circulator with significantly reduced device length (as compared to the conventional nonreciprocal coupler). The performance of the proposed devices is simulated by propagating-mode calculations. Estimates for admissible fabrication tolerances for the layer thicknesses are presented.