5 Gems of Relationship Advice From Dr. Phil That Are Actually Legitby Anne Roderique-Jones on August 17, 2012
In addition to daddy drama, love triangles and obese children, Dr. Phil, spews his educated opinion on love. Here’s what I took from it:
Have emotional integrity
Dr. Phil says that effective communication begins with honesty. “If you say you’re going to look for a job in earnest, then look for a job,” the Dr. stresses. “Don’t say it if you don’t mean it.” Dr. Phil is one smart cookie. I used to say things that I didn’t mean way too often. Things like, “Those pleated khakis look really spectacular with your Tevas” or “I’d love for your mother to tag along on our Hawaiian vacation.” Those little white lies hurt our “emotional integrity” and made for a few unsavory fashion mistakes.
Identify the stressors
Dr. Phill says that as the nation experiences an economic downturn, remember the problem is not your partner, but high interest rates, accumulating debt and looming unemployment. “Aim your guns in the right place,” he advises. And to think that all of this time my husband’s neglect to garbage duty and my daddy issues can be blamed on the economy. Done and done.
Stay in the moment
The good Dr. suggests to stay with the issues at hand, and “do not discuss past history at any time during this process.” I’m with him here. Under no circumstances do I want to make angry chit chat about his old notches in the bedpost. Or bring up my ex boyfriend–the one with the oversized wolf tattoo collection who’s currently touring the country as a carnie (aka: living the dream).
Reflect content and feelings
After receiving input from your partner, verify that what you are hearing is what your partner is actually saying. You’ve got to say, “What I hear from you content-wise is…” He says that you can say something like, “The feeling I’m getting from you is resentment/anger/hurt, etc.” I’m really getting much better at this one. When my husband says things like, “Can we have sex today?” Or when he tells me by grabbing my boobs in the supermarket or during the neighbor’s baptism; I know now to reflect on, and understand, exactly whatever deep and emotional feelings he is having.
Shared interests are not necessary
Dr. Phil agrees that there is nothing wrong with your relationship if you don’t share common interests and activities. He says that “if you and your partner are forcing yourselves to engage in common activities but the results are stress, tension and conflict, don’t do it!” It’s almost as if Dr. Phil was secretly spying on my husband and me the day that we went apartment accessory shopping at Ikea. It was the early days in our marriage when I had no idea that Ikea was actually Swedish word for divorce, and I naively thought that choosing shelving units and tiny glass bowls seemed romantic. He also must know about my attention span for baseball games.