October 16, 2007
Although they recently tied the knot, three couples say they skipped the honeymoon period, and they’re already talking divorce! The wives say they’re sick and tired of being controlled and belittled by their demanding, overbearing and chauvinistic husbands, so they’re dragging them to Dr. Phil’s Man Camp for a complete overhaul. It’s not a one-way street though – the husbands have serious complaints about their better halves.
Jim and Kim got married only six weeks ago, but they’re so miserable, they’re ready to call it quits. Jim’s job takes him away from home, but that doesn’t stop this couple from fighting. Kim says her husband’s nasty voicemail messages are just another way for him to verbally abuse and control her. Jim says his wife doesn’t love him as much as she loves his paycheck.
Jack and Danielle are also only six weeks into their marriage but are already sleeping in separate beds and barely speaking to each other. Danielle says her husband is so controlling, he even tells her how to shower, and she’s tired of his always throwing issues from her past in her face. Jack admits he’s insecure about her romantic past and can’t help bringing it up.
John and Karla have been married nine months but cameras in their home capture a volatile environment. Karla says John tries to control everything she does, including how much makeup she wears and how often she leaves the house. John says he’s enraged by his wife’s drinking and admits he’s afraid of what he might do the next time she gets drunk. Does Karla have good reason to sleep with a knife under her pillow?
Part 1 Summary:
With their spouses watching from behind a two-way mirror, the husbands meet with Dr. Phil, who confronts them about physically and verbally abusing their wives. The men say they’re ready to get real and deal with the unhealthy patterns that plague their marriage.
Then it’s the wives’ turn. When Dr. Phil accuses Karla of being inebriated, she vehemently denies it… even after he pulls a bottle of vodka out of her bag. But the two other women tell their account of what they witnessed earlier that day. Is it enough to force Karla to face the truth?
Part 2 Summary:
When Dr. Phil confronted Karla about her inebriated state, she threatened to go home. Instead of moving into the house with the others, she’s taken back to her hotel to sleep it off. The next day, a regretful Karla finally moves in and promises her husband, John, that she won’t drink anymore.
After hearing the wives voice their doubts about the Man Camp process, Dr. Phil pays them a visit and tells them they need to trust him or go home. They recommit to the process, and Dr. Phil warns them that it won’t be easy.
Next, Dr. Phil meets with Karla and John about her drinking problem and their physical fights in front of their kids. Dr. Phil plays a shocking scene in their home, caught on tape. After seeing how their fighting affects their toddler, Dr. Phil warns them it could be grounds for losing their kids. Then, Karla’s father and the couple’s neighbors make a surprise visit to confront them about their behavior. Will some caring words from close friends and family be a wake-up call?
Then, Jack and Danielle confront each other about lies and the lack of trust in their marriage.
Part 3 Summary:
Since the women said they were fed up with being treated like slaves, Dr. Phil assigns a role-reversal task: The men have to clean the house while their wives direct them through an ear piece. The husbands roll up their sleeves and get to work, but will their efforts make them appreciate all that their wives do?
Then, Dr. Phil meets with the couples and confronts Jim and Kim about a screaming match they had in the backyard. Dr. Phil explains how to rise above the taunts and name-calling and learn to fight fair.
Then, Jack threatens to reveal Danielle’s deep, dark secret – one so painful, Danielle tells him she will divorce him immediately if he betrays her trust. Dr. Phil doesn’t mince words when he tells Jack his bullying behavior will not be tolerated and shows him the door. With the entire group fed up with his complaining, Jack faces Dr. Phil and his housemates and vows to work harder.
Part 4 Summary:
Jim feels betrayed by the focus of Man Camp so far, and after fighting with Kim, he joins the other husbands and complains. What they don’t know is their wives are secretly watching them speak frankly about their marriages. Then, Jim and Kim have another heated confrontation after Kim rebuffs his sexual advances on her birthday.
Because of the way Jim speaks to his wife, Dr. Phil wants to give Jim a taste of his own medicine. Jim listens alone in a room where various angry and insulting voicemail messages he’s left for his wife play repeatedly. It doesn’t take long for the immersion therapy to overwhelm him, and he breaks down, vowing to never again speak to his wife that way.
Then, the couples face off in a role-playing exercise, forcing them to see from their partner’s perspective. After acting out common scenes in their marriage, they each begin to realize the affect their behavior has on their spouse. In a shocking scene of physical aggression, Karla shows a “drunk” John just how scary their fights can be. Can these couples gain a new perspective and see a way out of the dysfunction and into a happy, healthy marriage?
Dr. Phil tells John and Karla that rehab may be the only way to break Karla’s addiction. They say they are willing to make the sacrifices necessary for her to get healthy. After showing her the alarming amount of vodka she normally consumes in a month, Dr. Phil directs Karla to empty the bottles in the sink. Encouraged by the support of her housemates, Karla pours them out and happily embraces her husband.
Part 5 Summary:
As their move-out day draws near, the three couples in Dr. Phil’s marriage retreat finally stop fighting and start getting real about making changes in their lives and marriages. First, the husbands watch their better halves get dolled up and leave for a night on the town. Initially jealous, the men are delighted to learn of their opportunity to spy on their wives to see what really happens during ladies night. While the women are approached and hit on by strange men, the husbands laugh when they see their wives turn away each intruder. John, Jack and Jim are all proud of their wives, and feel that trust in their partner has been confirmed.
Then, the men finally let their guard down in an important final exercise where they communicate what they really want in their marriages. After seeing their partner’s softer side, Karla, Danielle and Kim are excited and hopeful for the future. The day is an emotional one for the husbands when the wives express their deepest dreams for their families.
During the final meeting with the group, Dr. Phil and Robin impart their secrets for staying happily married. Upon seeing photos of their children, the couples recognize their motivation for a new beginning. The couples pack and move out of the Dr. Phil house with renewed hope for the future.