“You Complete Me” or Do You?

The title of this blog post was taken from a quote in the 1996 movie “Jerry Maguire”.  It is in the final scene of the movie when the main character in the movie, Jerry Maguire, played by Tom Cruise, returns to his estranged wife Dorothy, played by Renée Zellweger, and tells her that she completes him.  For all the women readers out there, let’s just breathe a big sigh as we silently think to ourselves, “if only my husband felt that way”.

Wedding ringsI was in my mid-thirties at the time this movie came out and although I was already married for over ten years, I was still naive enough to think that kind of love was possible.  It’s not that that kind of love isn’t really possible.  It’s that we shouldn’t expect our spouses to complete us.  Yet that is the message that we are constantly bombarded with in the entertainment industry.  It is all over our television sets, in the theaters and in the fantasy romance novels that women can get wrapped up in.  In fact, it is fed to our children at an early age in Disney fairy tales as well.  No wonder women expect to live happily ever after when they walk down the aisle on their wedding day.

Complement, Not Complete

We are meant to complement our spouses, not complete them.  We are each to be made whole through our relationship with Christ and partner with our spouses in creating a Godly marriage.  When we expect our husbands to complete us, we are setting ourselves up for huge resentments and unmet expectations.  It is an enormous burden to place on them.  They are only human.  It is enmeshment and co-dependency at its worst.  Without the communication tools to deal with that, we end up living in misery.  I know because I lived in that place for many years.

I’ve been working on my own healing and recovery for the past nine years.  It was in a variety of spiritual and emotional healing classes and reading books like “Boundaries” by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend that I first started to realize this and put the pieces together in my life.  It’s been a very painful process to come to terms with my own character defects and emptiness that I had in my heart.  I had to learn to turn to God to fill that hole and connect with other women who, for the most part, had also put their husbands on a pedestal and expected them to meet all of their needs.   It is epidemic in society.  I would venture to guess that unmet expectations are probably one of the leading causes of divorce.  But it doesn’t have to end that way.

There is Hope for Your Marriage

My husband and I just returned from a marriage workshop in California held by New Life Ministries.  New Life is also responsible for airing “New Life Live”, America’s #1 Christian call-in counseling ministry, hosted by Steve Arterburn.  It is a ministry that I whole-heartedly support, list on my website and use as a resource in groups that I lead.New Life Ministries

This weekend did not disappoint as I saw God show up in amazing ways and heard many testimonies of life transformation.  For me, this weekend was a wonderful opportunity to really connect at a deep level—not just with my husband, but with the other couples in our group sessions.  We left refreshed, hopeful for the future and more equipped and willing to bring healing and restoration into our marriage.

I cannot recommend New Life highly enough.  Whether your marriage needs a tune-up or a full-blown resuscitation, I encourage you to contact New Life Ministries at 1-800-NEW-LIFE to get it back on track.  You’ll be glad you did.

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9 Comments

  1. Curt

     /  February 27, 2013

    I was there, it’s all true and a huge relief to us guys trying to get a better understanding on the relationship with our wives.

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  2. Great blog with wise insights.

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  3. Well done, Ardis…the writing, the sharing and the insights. It’s so true. I’m proud of you and Curt for your willingness to go and your choice to share this with the rest of us. It’s a much needed message. Kudos!

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  4. Kris Hough

     /  March 6, 2013

    When Ardis and her husband Curt hooked up with me in Los Angeles immediately after their workshop, I knew very little about why they were in Southern California that weekend. I hadn’t seen my long-time friends in nearly 5 years, and one of my first personal observations at the table where we sat and talked was how it seemed they were getting along so much better than I had ever remembered during their nearly 30-year marriage. Now, after reading Ardis’ insightful analysis of why so many marriages are doomed by a certain kind of unreasonable expectation, and how spouses can change those prospects by adopting a more realistic frame of mind, I’m happy to put into positive perspective the change in them I witnessed that day.

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    • Wow, Kris! Your words are very validating to the work we did over the weekend. Imagine hundreds of couples experiencing the same kind of life-change and hope in their marriages. It was such a gift to witness and worth the cost and effort to attend. We are both glad we got to see you in LA and look forward to your trip to Seattle! 🙂

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    I'm an author, writer, speaker, mentor & mom. I've struggled to find my voice all my life as I lived in the shadows of a mother with mental illness. Thankfully that was not the legacy that she handed down to me. It took a lot of recovery and deep healing work to rise above it.

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