Two Lies That Sabotage Relationships

Being in a relationship and part of a community helps you discover who you are. While relationships are the path to discovering yourself, they don’t promise the development of a complete self. If you haven’t achieved a solid sense of who you are on your own, then you are likely on a path to believe one of two lies that are guaranteed to sabotage any relationship: 1) I need this person to be complete, and 2) If this person needs me, I’ll be complete.

There are no shortcuts to personal growth and wholeness. If you try to complete yourself through another person before establishing a sense of self-worth, the best you can hope for is an illusion of wholeness. This week, we are discussing the lies that sabotage relationships. Next week, we will continue this journey and reveal ways you can become independently whole.

Lie Number One: I Need This Person to Be Complete

If I attach myself to another, we can instantly become whole. Complete. All our needs are met. This enticing lie is often too much for the needy to resist. After all, who can pass up a shortcut to personal growth? No wonder so many drink its poison.

We’ve seen relationships shatter because of this lie. People buy into the myth that another person will meet all their needs. They will do almost anything to maintain their relationship – even if it is unhealthy – just to be with them. Quit their job, change their appearance, have sex, get pregnant, and travel to the ends of the earth – you name it. People who believe another will complete them by meeting all their needs become human chameleons.

Attaching yourself to another for approval, affirmation, safety or identity will not end well. Self-worth does not come from the mere existence of someone in your life. When you come into a relationship lacking personal self-worth, all you can do is offer neediness. And you will eventually come up empty. That’s the poison of this lie. Expecting another – whether it’s a friend, dating partner, or spouse – to provide you with your life is unrealistic and unfair. It isn’t anyone else’s job to give you an identity or make you whole. People in your life are meant to share it, not be it.

Lie Number Two: If This Person Needs Me, I’ll Be Complete

This second lie is just as lethal as the first, but more cruel. The person living this lie is less desperate and not trying to win approval. Instead, they are seeking someone to win. Operating out of the same vacuum of personal identity and self-worth, they want a relationship with someone – anyone – who will build up their weak ego. They aren’t interested in commitment, only conquest.

If you think the believers of this lie are simply shopping around for a person to care for, they’re not. What they really care about is the dream of having others care for them. But with this dream comes compromise; when your goal is to be needed, you’re not going to attract the healthiest of people.

True love will only come when a sense of sturdy self-worth is established. And self-worth is an inside job that depends on nobody but yourself.

Putting this together

The journey to self-worth is a vital one, and can only be found by you. Don’t sink into the treads of believing the lie that others can complete you, only you can do this for yourself. Once you are able to establish a firm sense of happiness and wholeness within yourself, successful relationships and true love will follow.

Next week, we will discuss four important steps you can take to find independent wholeness. We hope to see you there. And if you want to learn more, check out our new edition of Real Relationships, available now!

Have you encountered either one of these lies? How did you get over this hurdle? We’d love to hear from you!


  • steve padgelek says:

    This is very interesting. once you find your self worth, can past relationships that were based on the idea of completing each other and neediness, be revisited and made right? So if you were the problem, can the other person still be the right one?

  • Deborah says:

    Maybe, but there was probably a dysfunctional attachment that will be more challenging to overcome. It may be healthier to work on building healthy friendships with others first. I would want to also seek trusted godly counsel to help honestly assess readiness for a more intimate relationship

    • Bonilee says:

      Truth. We can seek to be as healthy as possible but it is also those intimate relationships that grow us the most. That bring out the best in us. So what you are really talking about is knowing our identity in Christ and finding our worth in our Creator…rather than our mate.

      • David C. Zietlow says:

        Amen sister! Christ is perfect and He has infinite resources to complete us. His work on the cross takes care of all our shortcomings. He first loved us. Rest in Him. Then we will be able to love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength. Then, we can love our neighbor as our self and lead them to restoration in Christ. Alleluia! Amen!

  • MBooth says:

    While it’s easy to read about these two lies and see the obvious pitfalls of believing them, it seems like the majority of us pattern our relationships and families as if they were both true. To paraphrase one of my favorite quotes about love: needing someone in your life isn’t healthy love, but wanting them for they good they bring is. The only area I see these lies as having more accuracy would be with older couples, when one of them dies and the other struggles to be complete and find their new identity. In the early stages of relationships, I desire to be wanted more than I do needed, but I still like the idea of being old with my wife and her being the reason I have happiness. It’s hard to imagine a relationship that lasts 30+ years and there not being a point where they really do need each other to feel complete.

  • Michael Van Dyke says:

    While I agree with MBooth, as I have been with my wife 38 years I have learned one important fact. I used to believe the first lie. I mean go back to the Jerry McGuire movie. But when my wife and I ran into marital problems that almost split us up in year eleven, I learned a valuable lesson I have never forgotten. My wife is my best friend today bar none. If I lost her tomorrow I would be devastated. But, regardless my lesson stays with me. That is if I was not good enough as a person without her, I’ll never be good enough with her. In other words she did not complete me, Christ did. She shared her life with me willingly. Nothing I did or continue to do impacted her decision to do so. Like MBooth the idea of growing old with my best friend to share it with is the best thing I can ever wish for. But in the end the blessing of the time I get to share with her is from God himself. That, I never take for granted.


    This is so beautiful. am writing in from Nigeria. something drew me to your ministry since then i had taken you to be my mentor. I read your book SOUL MATE and so captivated in it. i was actually looking for a man i could follow and to achieve what he has. I love families especially when they stay together because it is my believe that if the family can not get it, the society can’t get it. My blog though not yet lunch but will be lunch soon will address so many issues in African family. My desire is to restore African homes and family so that our society, nations can be restore. if people will have the understanding of what you have just written above, we will have the boldness to move out to affect our world. looking forward to learn more from you. if willing i can be an agent that distribute your materials in Nigeria.

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