Jerry Maguire Was Wrong, Your Spouse Can’t Complete You

Jerry Maguire: a great sports agency, a bad marriage counselor

Jerry Maguire won the girl in the end, but he also set her up for failure. His statement made for great romantic theatre, but it was filled with red flags that should have made Dorothy run like a gazelle from a lion.

You recall the scene near the end of the movie, right? Jerry is at the end of his rope after all the mistakes he made with his ill-prepared career moves and immature relationship antics. Jerry bursts into Dorothy’s house during one of her women support group sessions to proclaim his love for her.

From across the room and in front of all Dorothy’s lady friends, Jerry whispers, “I love you. You complete me.”

Wee-ooo-eee! Whoop, whoop, whoop! Woo-woo-woo! (Siren sounds)

Red flag! Danger, Will Robin, danger!

Run! Dorothy, run!

Dorothy didn’t exactly run away. In fact, she did just the opposite. She basically ran into Jerry’s arms and the two supposedly lived happily ever after. It makes for a great movie script, but it isn’t reality.

The Fallacy

The fallacy in Jerry’s statement is the notion that another person can complete you. Your spouse can not complete you. They can complement you, but they can’t complete you. Let me explain.

In the very first marriage, God placed Adam and Eve together and declared, “the two become one flesh.” (Mark 10:8) The emphasis of these Bible verses is typically placed on the “one flesh” part, but “the two” should not be ignored.

“The two” entering into a successful marriage assumes the two individuals are already complete within themselves. Too many marriages are plagued by a lack of maturity in one or both spouses. Completeness assumes maturity.

Your spouse cannot take responsibility for, nor change, your immaturity in any character trait. If you are lazy, it isn’t your spouse’s responsibility to “complete you” by working harder to compensate for your laziness. Maybe you lack financial discipline, it isn’t your spouse’s responsibility to earn more money to make up for your frivolous spending habits. If you are not emotionally mature enough to maintain your own happiness, it isn’t your spouse’s responsibility to make you happy.


God’s intention for marriage is two individuals that are already individually complete coming together in one flesh in a way that complements each other. A weakness (not immaturity) in one spouse is complemented by the strength of the other.

It’s important to note a weakness isn’t the same as immaturity. One spouse may be naturally stronger at planning; therefore, that spouse takes the lead in the family financial planning. Immaturity would be ignoring the need for family financial planning because you don’t like to do it.

Everyone is unique and brings a different set of strengths and weaknesses into the marriage. The successful couple will discover the differences and work together to operate in a manner that allows their differences to complement one another.

So Jerry & Dorothy live happily ever after?

Well, the movie certainly leaves us to believe so. My experience tells me they only did so if Jerry decided to work on his own immaturities and completeness.

Stop looking for your spouse to complete you. It’s an unfair and unrealistic expectation you’re placing on them. Examine yourself for areas of incompleteness (immaturity) and work on building those characters into your life.

Now, take the energy you were placing into holding unrealistic expectations over your spouse and redirect it to discovering your differing strengths. As you discover each other’s strengths, organize your life and relationship in a way that allows you to complement each other.

A complementing couple is much more influential and effective than a complete individual. (Ecc. 4:12)

Maybe Jerry just misunderstands love and should have read my article.

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