Dr. Phil & Robin's Do-It-Yourself Marriage Makeover
By Kate Coyne
The famous couple on how to cope with the 5 biggest relationship busters,
and their stay-together secrets for no-longer newlyweds
Phil McGraw has worn multiple hats in his 57 years — college football star,
clinical psychologist, trial consultant, best-selling author, talk show
phenomenon. But in the most basic ways, he is still pretty much like every guy
on Earth: reluctant to admit he's lost, and even more reluctant to ask for
Sitting in a hotel bar waiting for her husband, Robin McGraw looks at her
watch. "He's running late," she says apologetically, then suddenly a
look of revelation spreads across her face. With an intuition honed over 30
years of marriage, she knows exactly where her husband is.
"I'll bet you anything he's sitting in the bar on the other side of the
lobby," she says, raising an eyebrow. "Even though I told him to turn
left when he got off the elevator...." An assistant is dispatched to check,
and sure enough, five minutes later, Dr. Phil walks in sheepishly.
Why had he sat alone for so long in what was obviously the wrong place?
"Well, I thought maybe you were in the ladies' room or something," he
says with a shrug.
Robin just shakes her head and laughs. They've been a team for a lifetime,
he pursuing a career that's culminated in his long-running hit TV show, Dr.
Phil; she raising their two children, Jay, now 28, and Jordan, 21. Their
respect for each other is obvious. To Robin, the man she married when she was
just 23 is always Phillip, never Phil. He, in turn, treats her with deference,
reaching out to touch her arm frequently as they talk.
But their successful partnership doesn't mean they're always in harmony.
Robin, 51, has the infectious enthusiasm of a cheerleader: "When something
good happens, she literally dances around," Phil drawls. "She'll
actually moonwalk through the kitchen." He, on the other hand, prefers to
do his dancing on the inside, and sometimes that's not enough for his wife.
"I'll be bouncing around," she says, "then I'll look at him and
say, 'Come on, you gotta give me something! Show me something!' But he'll just
stand there and say, 'Yeah, I'm real happy,' and that's it. That's
For this, Phil is unapologetic. "She's always known I'm not the kind of
guy who is going to cry with her at movies, or hold our babies and gush,"
he says. Robin isn't fazed by his occasional gruffness. "I know his
heart," she says. "I can take one look at him and know how happy he
In his years of private practice and counseling troubled couples on the
show, Phil has learned a thing or two about how to make a relationship last.
But to see him with his wife is to understand that he's probably learned the
most at home. Here, Dr. Phil and Robin McGraw talk about the five biggest
obstacles to a happy marriage, and share their insights on how to build a