Dr. Phil & Robin's Do-It-Yourself Marriage Makeover
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
Problem 1: Unrealistic Expectations
Dr. Phil: If you ask me, that's the one major reason why marriages fail. If
people fail to prepare themselves for the hard work that is required, that's
the biggest problem. If you've gone into a marriage and you haven't been clear
about how you're going to handle money, how you want to raise kids, who is
going to work or stay home or what have you, then you've set yourself up for
The good news is you can still get on the same page. But to do that, you
have to be realistic about what a marriage is. If you're sitting there thinking
that it's supposed to be date nights and rose petals all over the bed and all
good times, you are bound to be seriously disappointed. There is nothing wrong
with your marriage if you're dealing with bills and kids and the broken garbage
disposal and in-laws and work demands. That's a normal marriage. But if you
never thought that's what marriage would involve, then you're going to be upset
and you're going to think there's something wrong. So right away, you need to
get clear: This isn't a long date. It's a marriage.
Robin: Phillip and I were together two and a half, almost three, years
before we got married, and we used that entire time to learn. It was important
that I learn about what sort of husband he wanted to be, and for him to learn
what kind of wife I wanted to be, and what kind of mother I wanted to be, how I
wanted to live my life as his wife. And then we were able to approach it from a
point of "How do we want to create this life together?"
Dr. Phil: And it's never too late to do that. It's not too late to sit down
with your husband and say, "I think we need to come to an understanding
about what I can give to you, and what you can give to me, and what we can
really expect from each other." That's a whole lot better than walking
around resenting each other because you've got unrealistic expectations that
aren't being met. And I think it's important to talk about potential problems
while you're in smooth water. Don't wait until you're in a crisis to come up
with a crisis plan.