Something has always bothered me about Tom Cruise’s 1996 film Jerry Maguire. There’s an iconic scene where Jerry declares his love for Dorothy in front of a living room full of women by saying “You complete me”, to which Dorothy replies “You had me at Hello”, and the women all swoon.
Now, as much as I love a good romantic comedy and seeing the characters arrive at their happy ending, the idea that one person can complete another person seems just plain wrong. I knew that in 1996, but coaching has really helped me get clear about how relationships work and what we can get out of them.
In 2019, I was at a coaching event in Milwaukee. My friend volunteered me (!) to be coached in front of a group of several hundred attendees. I shared that I had doubts about staying in my marriage. I know that the coaching I received that day was good, but honestly, it’s a bit of a blur (no doubt due to the vulnerability overload I experienced). However, what happened afterward is crystal clear in my memory.
The next morning I decided to treat myself to brunch at a fancy hotel nearby. While I was waiting for my food, I grabbed my iPad and googled “life coaching relationships”. I found a video that changed everything for me. (I’d love to insert a link to that video here, but unfortunately, it seems to have been removed.)
The lesson of the video was this: the reason to have significant relationships is so that we can have the experience of giving love. Because loving someone feels amazing to us.
That idea blew my mind. Looking back, I realize that I had a very conditional model of love. If my husband did and said the right things, then he deserved to be loved by me.
The video opened my mind to the understanding that my husband didn’t need to change in any way, but that I could choose to love him unconditionally, for my own sake. And so I do.