A Family Divided: Six-Month Checkup: Marty, Erin

Marty and Erin's Marriage
The family discusses Alexandra's new relationship

Marty has had two affairs during his marriage to Erin, which left her feeling hurt, betrayed and like she wasn't worth anything. She has chosen to stay with Marty and work on their relationship because she made a commitment when getting married.

Dr. Phil gave them the assignment to read Relationship Rescue and take the Partner Awareness Quiz to put them on the path to discovering their partner and themselves. He hopes that the test will help Marty and Erin take a serious look at the health of their relationship so that it sets a standard for their daughters.

Dr. Phil explains, "I want solid modeling here. I want good things to be exposed to both of those girls."

Dr. Phil asks them what they found out from taking the quiz.

Erin says, "I was really surprised at how in depth it was ... It was serious stuff ... It really made me think about how we interact with each other, how we interact with our families and our parents and our children. And how that pertains to how we treat each other. I had never really put all that together before."

Marty responds, "Half the answers that I answered this time were completely different three months ago ... But in the last 45, 60 days, those are my true answers."

Dr. Phil explains, "Your scores indicate that you are living what I call an emotional divorce," which means that, "it's an emotionally barren situation, the partnership is not there, the emotional investment is not there, the willingness to be vulnerable and take the risk is not there."

He asks them how they felt when they read that their relationship falls into the emotional divorce category.

Erin answers, "I thought it was right on target ... until we started working with you, he and I were emotionally divorced, and I was headed on to making it final ... Those questions really prodded some thinking as to what I am doing and how selfish I am being in the relationship."

Marty explains, "I was OK with that. Because six months ago, emotional divorce is better than divorce, so I feel like we've really come a long ways."

Dr. Phil addresses Marty and Erin, "What I had you guys do is look at your relationship mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually, behaviorally. I tested you as to what you actually knew about your partner and what they thought, feared, goals, everything about it. ... You have been married 18 years, and both of you had substantial things that you didn't know the answer to. Did that surprise you? What surprised you the most?"

Erin responds, "I think what surprised me was that I didn't know intimate little details about Marty's history and past or now ... because I was so checked out of the relationship. I was emotionally divorced and I was amazed at how little time I'd really spent on cultivating my friendship and my relationship with my husband whom I'm with more than anybody."

Marty agrees with Erin and she continues, "I think it is taking each other for granted too. You know we just kind of said 'OK we're there.' Not really enjoying the relationship."

"I guess it was like a roommate relationship," Marty says.

"Both of you said, 'This relationship has gotten boring. ... The fire is gone, the sizzle is gone, the passion is gone' ... So the idea is to change some of those things," Dr. Phil explains.

"Every negative answer that you had on the Partner Awareness Quiz ... should be moved over to a to do list ... It is time to rediscover each other."

"When I had you guys fill out your needs ... they were almost identical ... It is astounding that you value the same things. The trick is to figure out a way now to come up with a strategy to meet each other's needs, and that's one of the places we're going in this relationship."