October 14, 2003
Robin reveals what helped her and Dr. Phil survive their first year of marriage.
Ask only what you’re willing to give.
If I ask that he give me and treat me with dignity and respect, then I have to treat him with dignity and respect.
Embrace who your spouse is.
Support what is important to him/her. When we first married, I said, “If we’re going to do this, and we’re going to have fun, you need to lighten up. You are so serious.” And I was a big pouter, and the first few times I tried that he said, “If you won’t pout, I promise I will discuss anything you want to discuss and we will come to a decision immediately.”
Talk about your needs.
It would really hurt my feelings if he would walk in the door and not come find me and say, “Hello, I’m home.” And so we started what we call the four-minute rule, and the minute he walks in the door, he comes to wherever I am, and says hello, and we visit for at least the first four minutes. That sets the tone for the rest of the evening.
Contribute to your marriage daily.
When we were students in college, I would sit at the end of the apartments on the stairs and I always had a glass of iced tea waiting for him. And to this day, as soon as he walks in the door, the first thing I do is hand him a glass of iced tea.
Commit to your marriage.
What’s important to a marriage is that the commitment you make to each other is something you work on every day for the rest of your life. When a couple gets married sometimes they think, “Is this the one thing that’s going to make him leave?” Phillip and I both agreed our first year of marriage that nothing will ever make us leave. This is forever. Divorce is never going to be an option. And that made a huge difference in our marriage.