Dr. Phil McGraw is famous for the no-nonsense advice he dishes daily on his hit talk show.
In the latest episode, "Road Show: Newlywed Challenge," he counsels newlyweds on the brink of divorce.
"Oftentimes we get married for the wrong reasons. We don't do the preparation," McGraw tells The Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith. "What I decided — instead of this typical he-said-she-said — I said, all right, this is what we're going to do. I want these couples to come here, spend several days with me. I'm going to put them in situations that couples normally deal with, with cameras all around them and let me watch. I don't want this he-said-she-said. Let me see what they do, how they do it. I think every couple in America should watch this because it is absolutely archetypal."
In a way it is like a reality show. The couples do a series of tasks as McGraw watches how they respond.
"The women had to change a tire on Hummers because they were traveling in the hummers with cameras inside," McGraw says. "I have them in situations where the wife is controlling the map, the husband is driving, and she has to give instructions. He's telling her how to change a tire. We have them cooking, doing things that normal couples do, and see where the breakdown is.
"And then we zero in on a breakdown. We talk about how to change that talk about how to fix it. If all you ever deal with in a relationship are problems, you have a problem relationship. This is a two-part show. We do it today and then we do it tomorrow. And we see where these couples wind up."
Once couples see their responses on tape, McGraw says they are "shocked." He also says the fighting these couples do hurts more than just them — it takes a huge toll on their children.
"The camera doesn't lie. It just doesn't lie," he says. "If you're bald off camera, you're bald off camera, right? The whole idea is, they see themselves and it's concentrated where it's a microcosm of their life. They're stunned what they're doing in front of the children, fighting in front of the children assassinating their character, saying words we couldn't bleep. Even if you fill in the blank in the sentence, it's sensitive to anybody's sensibilities."
In a segment from his show McGraw advises: "This relationship needs somebody to step up and say 'I quit,' not the marriage, the battle. I quit. You're just going to have to fight with yourself. Because, you know what? I don't know how long I am going to be in this world. I'm going to get happy."
Married for 30 years, McGraw credits his wife for his successful marriage. "I'm not just being gracious here," he says. "Robin's attitude was: I'm going to make this so much fun. I'm going to make this such a soft place to fall that there is no way that he's going to continue being a workaholic, that he's going to continue to be focused on career all the time. She just made it where I wanted to be home."
Next Monday, McGraw will offer a sneak peek at his show "First Wives Club," helping women move on after failed marriages.
In addition to his shows, McGraw has focused on the on-going coverage of the disappearance of Natalee Holloway.
"She hasn't been found dead. Nobody has found her body," he says. "There are circumstances surrounding her disappearance that certainly have given Beth hope. And she has come to us and said, 'Look, I don't know how to look for her. I don't know what to do.'
"We have a team that has been looking for her down in that part of the world. Are we going to find her? I don't know. But I'll tell you what: we've got a show coming up on this. You know the last show we did broke some major news on this. I think we're getting ready to really bring this to the forefront."
In September he dedicated an entire show to the case.
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