Marriage Hungry: Siobhan and Belinda
Dr. Phil talks to a 20-year-old who wishes her mother would silence her objections to her wedding, but still pay for it.
Twenty-year-old Siobhan has a fiancé and a ring but her mother Belinda feels she is too young to say "I do."
"Siobhan is so consumed about planning for her wedding," says Belinda. "She's young and naïve and thinks it's going to be happily ever after. She has four years of medical school ahead of her and her fiancé has many years of graduate school. The first year of medical school is hell. The first year of marriage is hell. Why would you want to have double hell? Dr. Phil, how can I get my daughter to slow down and focus on her education before she focuses on her wedding?"
Siobhan sees things differently, saying, "I don't think my mom is right. I'm very mature for my age. I think we can handle a marriage while I'm in school. I basically tell my mom to get off my back."
"Jeff and I are very committed to each other," says Siobhan. "It's like we're running our own little functional house already."
"You're living together?" asks Belinda, surprised at the news.
"No," insists Siobhan, "we're not. But we share bills and have a dog together."
Dr. Phil tells Siobhan, "You're 20. You don't need anybody's permission to get married. You've told your mother you want her to butt out. Yet you do want her to write the check for the wedding. That's the kind of naïvete that she's talking about ... You get good judgment from experience, and you get experience from having made bad judgments. And you haven't done any of that yet. You said, 'Oh, I think we can do this.' You have no basis for concluding that."
"Well, I have faith," says Siobhan.
"Yeah," says Dr. Phil. "And he's your soul mate, right?"
"Yes, he's the one," says Siobhan.
"He may be," says Dr. Phil. "But the truth is, you have to merge two lives together."
Dr. Phil asks Siobhan, "Did you say that you're afraid if you don't marry him, he'll leave?"
"There's a fear that once I'm in medical school, and focused, he'll see what it's like to be a doctor's widow and back off a little bit," admits Siobhan.
"So you want to get the hook in him before he sees reality?" asks Dr. Phil.
"I'm not afraid that he'll leave me," says Siobhan, "but I know that being married to a doctor is very strenuous."
"I did some research on this," says Dr. Phil. "It is demanding. The average number of hours a week a first year medical student spends in class and preparing for class is 77. After that, it goes up."
Dr. Phil asks Siobhan, "Are you interested in getting married or being married?"
"I think it's probably both," says Siobhan. "I love the idea of a big wedding but I also love the idea of being married to my fiancé."
Dr. Phil tells Siobhan that the divorce rate for people who get married between the ages of 20 and 25 is the highest for any group: 60 percent. He then asks her if she and her fiancé have discussed religion, children, careers and in-laws. Siobhan insists that they have.
Belinda interrupts, "Siobhan changes her tune a lot. I don't think she's actually sat down and thought it through. Twenty is way too young to know what is going to happen in 10 years. I always say if the ceiling is low and I'm telling you it's low, why bump your head?"
"It's my head to bump!" insists Siobhan.
Dr. Phil asks Siobhan, "Do you think your mom is too bossy and controlling?"
"Yes," says Siobhan.
"Is it possible that part of what you're doing is rebellion?" asks Dr. Phil.
"No," insists Siobhan.
"But you really do resist your mom," points out Dr. Phil. "Do you question that her motive is your best interest and your long-term happiness? Do you think she secretly wants to steal your happiness from you?"
"Sometimes I think that," says Siobhan. "I'm at a point in my life where I'm extremely happy ... and all I hear is nagging and, 'You need to slow down.'"
"Is it possible that your mother is right?" Dr. Phil asks Siobhan.
"I don't like to think so," she says. Then she admits, "It's a possibility, but I know I'm mature enough. I want to have the right to run my own life."
"Well, with that right comes a lot of responsibility," cautions Dr. Phil. "What worries me the most is that it's hard for you to see around corners at this age ... Our rule around here if someone has a new idea is that we love every idea for 15 minutes. If at the end of that time there is no merit to it, then we can start to pick it apart. I want you to sit down and embrace your mother's point of view for just 15 minutes and see if it has some merit — or not! Mom, you can do that too. I just want you to try it."
Siobhan says she loves her mother very much and will try it.