Relationship on the Rocks

"Kristine had an emotional affair with a friend from high school. It really killed me," says Chris of his wife of 11 years. "It hurts me a lot that Kristine had feelings for somebody else."

"The other man took me for who I was. He was not jealous and possessive," Kristine says. "I feel like Chris did drive me to have this affair."

Chris says his wife had an emotional affair with a coworker that later became physical. "When I confronted Kristine, she basically blamed me for it," he says. "Now I think she's actually having another emotional affair with somebody at work."

"It's absolutely nothing. He's just my friend," Kristine says of her coworker. "I feel compelled to lie, because I'm trying to avoid a fight."

Chris says it's hard to trust his wife, because she's not always truthful with him. "Some of the lies Kristine has told me over the years: she'll be at work on a Saturday and come to find out, she was out with a man. She tells me she's having coffee by herself, but come to find out, there's somebody there with her," Chris says. "I feel like I have to be like a detective. If I weren't to question her so much, I wouldn't find out what's really going on."

"I feel like we're caught in an endless cycle: He doesn't trust me, because I lie to him, and I lie to him because he doesn't trust me," Kristine says. She says she's fed up with Chris hounding her about her whereabouts. "The other day I went to pay our cable bill. He called me four times in the span of 45 minutes. I know I've given him reason not to trust me, but I've apologized. Sometimes I just feel it's going to be like that for the rest of my life."

Kristine tells Dr. Phil her goal for being on the show. "I want Chris to trust me. I don't want our marriage to end because he can't trust me," she says.

"Are you trustworthy?" Dr. Phil asks.

"Most of the time, yes," she replies. "In the past, I've done things to make him not trust me, but I feel I deserve his trust now."

"You say you've had two emotional affairs; one of them got physical," Dr. Phil says. "You say you had sex two times [with another man]."

"Yes," she says.

"What have you done to restore that trust? Is it just the passage of time?"

"After the affair, I didn't put myself near any men at all, really, so he would not mistrust me," she says. "I just really didn't have any freedom. I felt like I was on lockdown. I did that to make him trust me again," Kristine replies. "Now I want my freedom. I want to be able to go out and have coffee and spend time by myself, or be with my friends." 

Dr. Phil brings Bishop Jakes into the discussion. "We've got some work to do here. What's your thinking?" he asks.

"It seems like the underlying issue here is not just a matter of trust, but not really putting everything into a marriage," the pastor replies. "It was interesting to me that Kristine said, ‘I put myself on lockdown to win his trust back, but now I'm willing to go back to normal.' Here lies the rub: Your normal and his normal seem to be two different things."

On videotape, Chris breaks down when reflecting on how his 10-year-old daughter, Megan, is caught in the crossfire. "Megan says she doesn't like when Mommy and Daddy fight," he says, voice tremulous. "She's a good kid. She doesn't deserve it."

"Megan asked if we're going to get divorced," Kristine adds.

Back onstage, Dr. Phil addresses the couple. "Somebody's not telling me the truth," he says. He turns to Chris. "You say that [Kristine] is often on MySpace three hours a night talking to men and addressing some of them as â€˜Hey, sexy.'"

He turns to Kristine. "You say, ‘Oh no, oh no. I'm not doing that.' You either are or you aren't," he says. "Somebody tell me the truth here: Are you flirting with guys on MySpace at night, or are you not?"

"I'm not flirting with guys on MySpace," she replies.

"Are you paranoid and insane, then?" Dr. Phil asks Chris. "Because you say three hours a night, she's on MySpace talking to men."

"That's the truth. I don't know what she's talking to them about, but that is the truth, and she has sent those messages," Chris says.

"I'm not talking to men. Most of the people I talk to are girls," Kristine says.

"And you're saying ‘Hey sexy' to girls?" Dr. Phil asks.

"No, I did send that comment. I didn't realize it was going to be such a big deal," she admits. "It was a stupid thing to do."

"That ‘sexy' comment, y'all fight about it in front of your 10-year-old," Dr. Phil says.

"Right, which is wrong," Chris says.

"Wrong is not a big enough word to describe you two yelling and screaming ‘Shut the hell up' and talking about that kind of behavior on the Internet in front of your child. Why are you doing that?" Dr. Phil inquires.

"Because there's no place else to do it, and we just cannot stop fighting," Kristine replies.

"If we get into a fight, Dr. Phil, a lot of the time we will send [Megan] outside, because she has friends who live right next door," Chris says.

Dr. Phil replays a clip of Chris and Kristine arguing in front of their daughter. On the tape, the pre-teen is shown getting up and walking out of the room as her parents bicker.

"Shame on both of you," Dr. Phil says.

Dr. Phil says Chris needs to man up if he wants to save his relationship. "Give her something with a verb in it. Tell her what she can do to not serve a life sentence under your suspicion," he instructs Chris. "What do you want from her?"


Chris faces his wife. "Honey, all I want from you is to keep telling me the truth, and when we do have an argument, not to scream and yell. Let's talk," he says. He turns to Dr. Phil. "See how we're sitting here talking? This would not be happening at home. I'll start talking, and she'll start screaming."


"Are you a nag?" Dr. Phil asks Chris.


"I am a nag, because I never get an answer," he replies.


"How's that working for you?" Dr. Phil asks.


"Not at all," the couple responds.



"The only thing worse than being in an unhappy marriage for 11 years is being in an unhappy marriage for 11 years and one day," Dr. Phil tells the couple. "If you're going to continue what you're doing " take it from me; I'm a professional " just get a divorce."


He turns to Chris. "If you're going to continue wanting to be right, and wanting to be a right-fighter, and wanting to be a victim " all of this stuff that you're doing " just shut it down," he says. "If you want to stay married, and you want differently, then you're going to have to do differently."


"You need to stop playing the victim and get the chip off your shoulder, because you 're the one who ran this in the ditch," he warns Kristine.


Bishop Jakes is optimistic that the marriage can be saved, but says the couple needs to put in hard work. "You have the core ingredients that it takes to make the marriage work. You both want it to work, but I don't think you have the tools or the language to be able to communicate with each other. But the foundation is good," he tells them. "If we get down to the foundation and start rebuilding again, I believe we can find that happy medium."


Dr. Phil offers the couple resources to help them rebuild their marriage, and they accept.