Relationships are the most essential things in our lives, second to none. They are where we feel loved, fulfilled, and happy. A romantic relationship offers its participants something no other type of human relationship can offer — true intimacy.
However, even with all the rewards that relationships bring us, many people are dissatisfied with their current love life, marriage, or long-term relationship. Sometimes this dissatisfaction comes from a lack of knowledge about healthy and happy relationships. Luckily, today’s guest will provide us with secrets and wisdom to help us have the loving, fulfilling, and happy relationships we deserve. Let’s all welcome Dr. Phil McGraw — who you might know simply as Dr. Phil!
My conversation with Dr. Phil was so powerful that I had to split it up into two parts! In this part, we dive deep into his current 45-year marriage. Dr. Phil shares his three pieces of advice for a happy and successful marriage and talks about the power of making eye contact with your partner daily. This advice is meaningful and helpful for anyone looking to stay in a long-term healthy relationship with their partner.
If you’re looking to learn how to improve your current relationship or want to start a relationship off right, this is an episode you’ll surely love! Let’s dive in!
Dr. Phil McGraw is one of the most well-known and trusted mental health professionals in the world. He is also the best-selling author of nine books, which include the best-selling titles, Life Strategies, Relationship Rescue, Self Matters, and Family First.
He also hosts TV’s number one daytime talk show, Dr. Phil. His show focuses on presenting compelling stories about real people with various emotional and behavioral problems and strips away the shame that too often keeps people from seeking help. During his time with guests, he offers solutions based on evidence-based treatment options and state-of-the-art research in psychology, psychiatry, and medicine.
Dr. Phil values his academic training and professional qualifications, which is evident in our insightful and excellent discussion! So, without further ado, let’s dive into our conservation!
Dr. Phil and his wife, Robin, got married in 1976, and they’ve been together ever since. But what most people don’t know is they were together for almost five years before deciding to tie the knot. Dr. Phil thinks this decision to delay their marriage is the biggest lesson that has helped their marriage over the last 45 years.
“I think until you’ve been out and seen some of the world on your own, it’s hard to know who you are entering into a relationship with. … When Robin and I got married, I had finished my bachelor’s and master’s degrees. I’d been in and out of business and lived on my own. … At that point, I felt like I knew a little bit about life and knew who I was getting into a relationship with. She always knew who she was. … 45 years later, and we got along great.” – Dr. Phil McGraw
For most couples, getting married is something that comes up immediately. But for Dr. Phil and his wife, it was a conscious effort to not jump directly into it. They felt like they wanted to focus on their relationship and get to know more about themselves first. This approach may be the reason why they have stayed together for more than four decades.
When asked about what he loves most about his wife, Dr. Phil doesn’t shy away from saying that her character is one of the most striking things about her.
“Robin has this spirit of adventure, which I love about her. She is also fiercely loyal. … She’s a lot of fun, and she’s got a great sense of humor” – Dr. Phil McGraw
Many of us tend to jump into a relationship without thinking it through which leads to many problems in the future. Some include not knowing what they truly want or feel and can cause the relationship to fail. Some people even decide to get married because of insecurities and the need to be in one. For Dr. Phil, these aren’t the right reasons because they hinder us from dealing with our baggage and finding our true selves.
Like what happened in Dr. Phil’s relationship, I also believe that if you take things slow and focus on your character first, getting into a healthy relationship is possible. If we remind ourselves to take our time and go about things the right way, we might have a better experience in love and life.
I know many people who stay together for a long time, but they’re not happy. I feel like they say, “Well, we’ve been here for 30 years,” but their kids know that they should’ve got divorced a long time ago. So, what is Dr. Phil’s answer for having a happy marriage that can make one say, “I can’t spend enough time with her?” Here are his answers.
Dr. Phil feels that when couples fail in their marriage, it’s not because of significant issues like infidelity and money problems. Instead, it’s minor day-to-day irritations or frustrations that couples let accumulate.
“People ask us if we have big fights and blowups. The answer is, we don’t, because we deal with stuff before it gets big. It doesn’t mean we don’t have disagreements, because we certainly do. We just don’t let things build up across time. We don’t procrastinate emotionally. We will deal with it when it comes up.” – Dr. Phil McGraw
When you deal with the issue when it arises, you don’t allow yourself to have unfinished emotional business. You avoid things stacking on top of another until resentment builds out of them.
You’ve probably seen it happen in relationships too. When people get mad because they feel like they were talked to or treated a certain way, they stay angry about it until the next day. Then it keeps growing until weeks and months pass. It builds resentment over time, and it’s like an explosion the next time they see each other because there’s so much built up. Like Dr. Phil, I also think it would make a massive difference in their relationships if people would really commit to dealing with issues proactively.
Dr. Phil also shares another key to a successful relationship: you should aim to be heard, not to get your partner to agree with you, particularly during arguments. He gives a beautiful explanation of why this should be the case in relationships.
“If your objective is to be heard, the arguments will work itself out. You don’t put it in a win-lose situation. Because if it’s a win-lose situation, one of us is going to be the loser. I don’t want to be the loser, and I don’t want to be married to a loser … because that’s where resentment comes from.”– Dr. Phil McGraw
He also adds that it is natural for couples to argue, and they should not be afraid of conflict. Dr. Phil shared how he expresses himself in these scenarios with his wife:
“Let me tell you how I feel. I just want to be heard. I’ll hear what you say, and I’ll let you be. Then let’s drop it at that.” – Dr. Phil McGraw
I want you to reflect on your own marriages and relationships. How do you deal with each other during disagreements? Do you always want to be right? Do you always want to win the argument, or do you let it go?
I know that sometimes, people can’t help but be defensive. However, what if we aim to be truly heard instead of just getting our partner to agree with us? I believe that would make a powerful difference in how our relationships work.
The last secret that Dr. Phil believes is necessary for a successful relationship is this:
“If somebody has to stop being all of who they are to be half of a couple, the price is too high. … Robin once told me that she wished I could be more sensitive. I was like, ‘Nah, you really don’t, because you know what? You didn’t marry a cheerleader. You married the middle linebacker. … And there’s a reason you did. You felt safe with me.’ … And there have been times where things went off the rails somewhere, and I stood in the gap. She was like, ‘I’m sure glad you are who you are.’” – Dr. Phil McGraw
He then added that people can have ranges when it comes to accommodating their partners’ wishes. But it should not mean that the other person has to be completely different to make a relationship or marriage work.
I share his perspective because I have seen so many people that are inauthentic in their relationships. Many couples’ dynamics change after marriage, especially when they have to adjust to someone all the time. At the same time, their partner continues being who they are, and that causes resentment to grow.
We must accept our partners for who they are to go a long way in having a successful and healthy relationship. After all, if your partner tries to change you, would you still be the person they fell in love with?
All in all, there are many things we can learn from Dr. Phil’s advice on building strong and happy relationships. If you think about it, they are small things we can practice every day that may help us build healthy relationships and help us live a happier life, too!
Among the powerful, non-negotiable practices that Dr. Phil gave me about relationships, what stood out the most was his advice on the importance of eye contact. He shared his personal experience on why he thinks it’s crucial in any relationship.
“My elbows are really bad, so I always have Robin button my shirt. Every time she does, we make eye contact. She tells me that it’s a special, quiet moment every day. Nobody knows what’s going on, but it serves as a private moment between us, every day.” – Dr. Phil McGraw
Personally, I love to awkwardly look people in the eyes to see and ask if they can look back at me, whether in an intimate relationship or a friendship. However, I think people have lost the art of eye contact. How many people do you know who look up, down, or away from you during conversations?
Like what Dr. Phil shares, I believe that eye contacts are powerful, and many are afraid to engage in it because of intimacy. But the truth is, a relationship’s success comes from intimacy! So, if you want to be heard, understood, and feel the intimacy in your relationships, I encourage you to try this secret, too!
Guys, this interview with Dr. Phil reminds us that relationships require work, and they’re not just going to happen by themselves. You have to put in the time and effort — even if you may find it difficult at times.
Also, let me share with you Dr. Phil’s definition of greatness:
“I think greatness has to do with being able to go home at the end of the day and feel like you have had a genuine impact on someone’s life besides your own. If you can say, ‘I did something today that impacted the human experience.’ Then that’s a great thing to have done. It doesn’t matter what impact it had on you, but if you’ve helped someone else on their journey, I think that’s a great thing to do. If you lifted somebody else up, I think God would smile on that.” – Dr. Phil McGraw
Such powerful words from a man who is definitely a great person! I think Dr. Phil shared some of the best wisdom he has on both relationships and life in general in this episode. Again, a healthy and happy relationship can come from these secrets: dealing with issues directly, aiming to be heard, and accepting your partner for who they are. Try to build the habit of eye contact with your partner to maintain intimacy with them, too. If you can master these secrets, I believe both of you and other people will be inspired by the power of your relationship and marriage.
Also, share this with your loved ones who might benefit from this as well! Make sure to tag Dr.Phil, @drphil, and me, @lewishowes — I would love to hear your thoughts on this! Also, don’t forget to listen and leave a review on Apple Podcasts to know how you feel about our episodes!
If you’re looking for a piece of great advice on relationships, then this Dr. Phil episode is sure to give you some inspiration you need! I loved it, and I’m sure you’re going to love it too!