The Real Dr. Phil

Addressing Renee, Dr. Phil says, "Why did you reach out and want to talk to me to begin with?"
 
"I just felt like my husband and I were kind of like ships passing in the night," Renee explains. "We were communicating, but we weren't addressing what was causing all of our communication problems."

Dr. Phil points out that her husband, Patrick, is a great father and provider. "What do you try to do, in your view, to get him to open up and talk to you?" he asks Renee.

"When he doesn't do what he says he's going to do, I try to tell him how it makes me feel. We're really trying hard to mesh our personalities. I'm a pretty precise person. He's very laid-back, happy-go-lucky," she explains.

Dr. Phil reads some comments that Patrick has made about his wife. "He says, 'I don't say a whole lot, but to just tell you the truth, I can't get a word in edgewise with Renee.'" 

"Sometimes, that is true," Renee admits. 
 

"He says that he believes that you want me to fix him, and that's why you wrote in to turn him in to 'Man Camp,'" Dr. Phil says.

"I wrote in to 'Man Camp' because I want to get the most out of our marriage," Renee says. "I am no angel, and I've done a lot of things in the past that were wrong, like personally attacking him. I think I've caused him, to an extent, to be emotionally disconnected."

"You say you have issues of trust with him, but yet, you're the one who went behind his back and paid $2,500 for some secret counseling with me," Dr. Phil reminds her. "You actually talked to the fake Dr. Phil?"

 

"Yeah, that's when I knew it was fake," Renee answers. "He was very vague and wasn't assertive. He didn't project himself the way you do." 

Dr. Phil explains that there is a formula for success in a relationship, made up of two components. The first is a solid underlying friendship. "You guys have a pretty good friendship," Dr. Phil observes.

 

Renee says, "I think we just don't like some of the things we've done."

 

"The good thing about friends is you don't have to like everything about somebody to like that person. You don't have to like every decision they've made, every action that they've taken," Dr. Phil says. "The second part of the formula is that the quality of a relationship is a function of the extent to which it meets the needs of the two people involved."

 

Dr. Phil points out that Patrick has needs that he doesn't communicate to his wife. "She can't guess at what they are. You've got to be willing to tell her what they are."

 

Similarly, Renee needs to express her needs to Patrick. "Once you can discern what some of his needs are, you need to get real busy trying to figure out how to meet them," Dr. Phil tells her. Turning to Patrick, he says, "You need to do the same thing."

"You guys are on the mend. I can't tell you anything that's going to change your history. What I can tell you is the past is over, the future hasn't happened yet. The only time is right now," Dr. Phil says. "You can say, 'If I continue to look over my shoulder, my past becomes my future. I don't want to do that. I'm going to walk out of this history. I'm going to live in the now.'"

 

He advises the couple to figure out each other's needs and come up with a plan to meet them. "He has needs. He just doesn't feel safe telling you," Dr. Phil tells Renee. He gives the couple a 14-day plan to redefine their relationship.

 

Both Renee and Patrick agree to participate in the assignment.