"My husband doesn't spend nearly enough time with me," says Heather, who's been married to John for almost two years. "My husband works every weekend unless he has a camping trip...He can take off the weekend to go camping, but he can't take off on weekends just to be with me."
"Heather knew I was an outdoorsman when we got married," he says, describing his wife as "lipstick and nail polish all the way." He adds, "I got Heather a dog ... it's nice for her to have a companion when I'm out of town."
Heather has tried to get John to quit camping. "I have tried crying. I have tried pouting. I have tried not speaking to him and none of it seems to work," she says. "I have to fix John before we have a baby because there's no way he can have this many trips."
She asks Dr. Phil, "Why won't my husband spend more of his free time with me?"
When they dated, John went on camping trips regularly, so Heather knew that's how he liked to spend his time. But, she says, "When you get married, you don't go on so many overnight trips ... It's four days at a time."
John usually invites Heather to come along on his weekend getaways with his friends and some of their wives, but Heather says, "They're not like me ... like they probably don't wear makeup ... they're different kind of women ... they don't need electricity, I do."
While John is gone, Heather says she feels like she can't even leave the house because of her "precious little puppy." She says, "I can't even go to lunch with a girlfriend because I feel so guilty about him being in the house by himself."
He suggests to all three women that "Maybe the message to the man can be, 'I have a really good career, I have a really good life ... what you can offer me is companionship, a soft place to fall, emotional camaraderie, all of those things.'"
Mark, (right), says, "If independent means you're standing alone, not just monetarily but emotionally as well, then you don't need me! You're a pillar. I'm not supporting you in any way." He offers this advice: "There's an edge that needs to be dulled down a little bit...allow people to approach you."
Chuck, (middle), has dated several women who made more money than him, and was left feeling like that wouldn't work for them because they wanted a man with more money. He thinks successful women have higher expectations of their man.
Michael, (left), sees the problem differently. "Because they spend all day long being ambitious in their careers and fighting for what they have, they don't know how to turn it off. So it becomes nothing but a relationship of competition," he says. "When you walk through the front door, you have to try to leave some of that outside."
If Heather's goal is to get her husband to quit camping, Dr. Phil says she should be careful what she asks for. "Let me promise you, if you do that, he will resent you for the rest of his life," he says. "This is his currency ... You don't want to take that away from him, do you?"
He tells John, "If in order to be in a harmonious relationship with your wife you have to stop being who you are, the cost is too high." But his wife has a valid point. "What she's telling you is, 'I want some more plug-in from you,'" Dr. Phil explains. "She wants to know that she has a partner here — not somebody that stops by to wash out their camping gear."
Perhaps Heather needs to find a hobby and make more of her own friends, Dr. Phil suggests. "I see that you are too dependent on him in order to feel OK about you."
"Find some middle ground," he concludes. "You need to work out a compromise."
"My husband won't tell me that he loves me," says Amanda, who's been married for nearly seven years. "My husband's only told me that he loved me once and it was before we got married." If Amanda tells Matt "I love you" first, he'll simply respond "mmm hmmm.
Matt says he loves his wife, but he shouldn't have to tell her. "I come home to her every night," he says. "She should just know that I love her."
"It's not enough for me," says Amanda. "I need to hear him tell me he loves me."
She asks Dr. Phil: "How can I get my husband to say those three little words?"
"I do love her," he says.
"So why won't you tell her?" Dr. Phil wants to know.
"'Mmm hmmm' is so much easier," Matt answers.
"If you know it's important to her, why are you unwilling to make the effort to give her the currency she wants?" Dr. Phil asks. "I've said before, women fall in love with their ears. Women are emotional, they want to hear these things."
Dr. Phil makes the comparison that if a 3-year-old wakes you up in the middle of the night to say he's thirsty, a parent wouldn't respond, "Well, I'm not, go back to bed."
"You might want to," says Dr. Phil, "but you wouldn't. You would respond to the fact that the child is thirsty. Just because you're not doesn't mean you wouldn't want to meet someone's need that you love and care about. And she's saying 'I need that.' That's a currency for her that she needs. If she needs that, and you love her, and you care about her, and you have the ability to give it to her, why would you not give it to her?"
"That's a fair point," says Dr. Phil. "A lot of people, men and women both, when they say I love you, it's a question."
He asks Amanda: "When you say 'I love you,' are you saying it because you have a burning desire to express your feelings, or are you asking a question?"
Amanda recognizes that it's a question and that she's seeking reassurance.
"That's what you object to, correct?" Dr. Phil asks Matt.
He says yes, and then clarifies, "If my tools are at the house, I'll come home to her every night."
Matt says he comes from a good family and was raised well, but they weren't "touchy feely lovey."
Dr. Phil jumps in: "But you didn't marry someone from your family. You married someone from another family!" Matt and Amanda are in a stand-off, Dr. Phil explains, where she gets needy, which causes him to pull back, which makes her even more clingy, and they end up further and further apart.
Dr. Phil makes the analogy that this happens in the wild, where a well-fed lion will ignore a passerby, but a starving lion will do anything to eat. "She's a hungry lion!" he tells Matt. "You need to feed this woman emotionally."
Even if it's not natural for Matt to say "I love you" or be affectionate with his wife, Dr. Phil says, "There comes a point where you say, 'You know what? I'm going to do this because it's a gift to her.'"
Dr. Phil adds, "I did it not because it was natural for me, but because it was important to [Robin].
He asks Matt, "Will you consider that? Will you weigh that? It's more than where you leave your tools."
Matt agrees to give it a shot.
"Men say they don't like women who are needy, but then when they meet someone like us, who's independent, they are intimidated and feel like they are not needed and they run away," says Sarah. "Just because I don't need someone financially, doesn't mean I don't need that companionship and that relationship and intimacy with a man."
Though that's an extreme example, she says, there have been other similar situations.
"Do you think it's wrong for men to want to feel needed?" asks Dr. Phil.
"Just because we don't need someone to provide material comforts," says Sarah, "that doesn't necessarily mean we don't need that person or that if help was offered it wouldn't be accepted gratefully."