"The first time I saw Katie, I knew she was the one I was going to marry," says Erik.
Katie felt the same way. "After my first date with Erik, I went back to my roommate, and I told her that I had just met the man I was going to spend the rest of my life with," she says.
Katie and Erik met online in mid-January of this year. They talked on the phone for about a week before their first date. On a road trip to Colorado, they decided to marry and, just two weeks after their first date, said their vows at the courthouse.
"When Erik and I first told our families that we had gotten married, everybody was in shock," says Katie.
Katie's younger sister, Brooke, tells her version of the events. "Katie called me the same night and told me that she had gotten married. I thought maybe she was joking with me. We barely even knew that she had a boyfriend, let alone was going to get married."
"Our biggest concern was her safety," says Katie's mom, Gwen. "We didn't know much about this guy. Was he some kind of weirdo? Would he be an abuser?"
"I wondered why she eloped if she wanted to have the white dress ceremony and reception," says Brooke. "I didn't want to be jealous. I didn't want to be that girl, but it hurt my feelings that she was trying to steal my sunshine."
"We decided to wait because of all the opposition from our families," Katie says. "This conflict has really hurt my feelings and made me not want to spend time with my family."
"It was really hard to meet Erik for the first time and call him my brother-in-law when I knew nothing about
Erik and Katie still live in two different apartments. They both have roommates and haven't moved in together yet. They are looking to buy a house.
"I don't think that Erik and I got married too soon. I think it was perfect timing for us," says Katie. "I think there are so many people who go through their entire life not finding true love and I believe Erik and I have it."
"So, I understand that you fell in love, but why get married so quickly?" Dr. Phil asks Katie.
"We were in Colorado and the mountains were so beautiful and we both just decided that that's what we wanted to do," she tells him.
"But you got married in Wisconsin," Dr. Phil reminds her. They all laugh. "'This is so beautiful. This is just breathtaking. Let's go to Wisconsin!' Why did you not get married there?"
Erik explains, "We made the commitment to ourselves out in Colorado. But we did the legal commitment in Wisconsin."
"But why?" asks Dr. Phil. "What was the urgency? My dad used to tell me, no matter what I was talking about, he said, 'You know something, boy? If it's a good idea today, it will be a good idea tomorrow. And if it's not a good idea, it won't be a good idea tomorrow.'"
"That's true, but you never know what you're going to miss out on, because you never know what tomorrow's going to bring," Erik shoots back.
"Oh, that's exactly right," Dr. Phil says with an ironic smile. "You have no idea what tomorrow's going to bring." The group chuckles. Dr. Phil continues, "I've always said you should never get married to anybody unless you've seen them with the flu. Because unless you've kind of mopped up and cleaned up and seen them with a 103 temperature, you don't really know them, because that's when they morph into an alien. And you kind of want to see that before you do it."
He turns to Katie's sisters. "But, you guys were saying, 'We don't believe that it's prudent to go out and meet somebody and marry them, like, three weeks later,' and you're saying, 'How do we support our sister without endorsing that decision,' right?"
"Here's the truth, whether y'all think so or not," says Dr. Phil. "Marriage is tough ... We have almost a 50 percent divorce rate in America, which means you've got, like, a one in two shot when you get married, statistically. And how you can make sure that you're on the good side of that statistic is you do your homework. You deal with all the things that can be potential conflicts once you get into a relationship. And you guys have not done that. You just said, 'This feels good now, so let's do it.' Does that mean your marriage is doomed? Absolutely not. But you know what it does mean? It means you need to do a whole lot of the relationship building, a whole lot of the premarital thinking and planning and resolution right now. You can grow into this relationship and it can be fine, I mean it really can." He turns to Katie's parents. "And you guys can really, you don't have to love the decision but you love your daughter, right, Dad?"
"Yes. Yes, very much so," Katie's father, Kirk, replies.
"Yeah, there's no question about that," says Dr. Phil. He reveals that his team put Erik through a background investigation. "I have a lot of FBI guys I work with, and ex-FBI guys, and we scrubbed him top, side and bottom and you'll be pleased to know he's just clean as a whistle," he says.