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August 10th, 2009 by Dr. Phil

The Anniversary Men

Jay and Erica

Jay and Erica

Talk about time marching on. This week, my 29-year-old son, Jay, celebrates his third wedding anniversary, just as I celebrate my 33rd! Good grief, I must be getting old. First, because I have a 29-year-old, and second because I’ve been married 33 — count ‘em — 33 years! I started thinking back on my third anniversary and reflecting on where I was in my life compared to where Jay and the world is on his third. Times, they are a changing!

I was 28 on our third anniversary, Jay is 29 on his, so some similarity there. Robin and I were living in a fairly small North Texas community, where I was just starting my practice as a clinical psychologist. I was an absolute dyed-in-the-wool workaholic, literally working 18 to 20 hours a day. I had a clinical practice (Fees were about $35 or $40 an hour!) I’ve always kind of had a strategy of marketing my education in non-traditional ways, so in addition to a typical therapy practice, I also saw patients at the hospital for pain and chronic disease management and rehab, and I even did work in the corporate arena, doing management and leaderships training for businesses like banks and manufacturing plants. I worked relentlessly and stayed very, very busy. I was just totally on the run, determined to conquer my corner of the world!

Dr. Phil and Robin

Dr. Phil and Robin (She's eight months pregnant!)

In comparison to the student poverty we had been in for a number of years, Robin and I were living it up because I had a “real job.” HA! By “living it up,” I mean we occasionally went to the movies and out to eat at restaurants where you actually looked down — rather than up — at the menu and didn’t order by number! We bought a small but nice three-bedroom home in a nice neighborhood. It was a house I wasn’t in much because of working. Thank the Lord Robin was a woman of patience.

Back then, I didn’t understand balance. I didn’t understand balancing my work life and home life. We did a lot of great things together. But I just thought my first duty in that era was to do whatever it took to be a success. Somehow, despite that, we sure had a lot of fun and have such great memories of that time.

Fast forward three decades. Jay is, by all standards, a very successful young man. He has obtained his bachelor’s degree from University of Texas and a law degree from Southern Methodist University, and he is now running his own television production company, Stage 29, in Los Angeles, creating a variety of projects, both for the networks and for syndication. (You’ve probably seen the new hit syndicated talk show that he created, The Doctors.)

Jay and Erica's cat, Bizant

Jay and Erica's cat, Bizant

He’s a hard worker. Yet, he is far more balanced than I was when my third anniversary came around. He knows how to balance work and fun, career and home. He definitely takes more time than I did back in the day to go out with his wife, travel with her, cook out in the backyard and just hang out. While I wasn’t great at that when I had been married three years, I will take some credit for Jay’s lifestyle, because I learned from my mistakes, and I spent a lot of time before he got married talking to him about that balance. But he put it all into action — and for that, I give him a lot of credit.

However, Jay, if you are reading this, and I know you are, I do need to mention one little thing to you. You might be thinking, “Hey, the boy here is a little bit ahead of his Old Man right now on the ‘ol marriage curve.” And yes, I admit, career-wise, you’re way ahead of the game: You are being a great hubby to your beautiful wife, Erica, and even a pretty good cat owner to Bizant, the hairless cat. But, and this is an important but, on my third anniversary in 1979, Robin was eight months pregnant — with you! HA!

So, come on, kid, get with the program, hint, hint. Your mom and dad are looking for some grandkids over here. Step it up. Pick up the slack. We’re getting old you know … well at least I am. Your mother never seems to age!!

Congratulations, Jay and Erica, on three great years. And I promise you, you’ll love the journey, just as I have, to 33 and on.

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43 Responses to “The Anniversary Men”

  1. Linda says:

    Congratulations to both of you :) .

  2. Janet Davies says:

    Happy anniversary to all of you!

  3. Anita says:

    Congratulations to both couples. And to me and my husband also. We celebrated 35 years this past May. We now have one 6 1/2 month old granddaughter. It is definitely something for all of ya’ll to look forward to. She is sweet,precious and perfect. My husband and I just sit and look at her (when we’re not holding her or playing with her) and it seems that every little move she makes is facinating. Yes the journey of marriage has been a wonderful experience for us too. I feel very fortunate to have found my husband. I realize that everyone is not so lucky. Marriage can be a crapshoot, in the very best of situations. I reckon ya just gotta know how to roll the dice.

  4. Moderators, please delete my previous post at 2:31 p.m. as wrong link for THE DOCTORS. My apologies. SEA

  5. Dr. Phil

    I’m impressed with all y’all geniuses. I SO agree about Robin still looking like a teen. Robin may not know yet after she mentioned walking six miles on Twitter http://twitter.com/Robin_McGraw a fellow Dr. Phil Website member, SherryAnn, began walking 4 to 6 miles. Now, I’m pedaling exercise bike 6 miles. So y’all please keep sharing what’s working for y’all. Y’all have a handle on the C word too: Commitment.

    I read a couple of Jay’s books with a Canadian teen on Dr. Phil Website sad her parents wouldn’t read with her and I was amazed by his keen perception. (”Closing the Gap” and “Life Strategies For Teens”) I’m certain “Life Strategies for Dealing With Bullies” and “Ultimate Weight Loss Solution for Teens” are equally good, too. And love THE DOCTORS http://thedoctorstv.com

    Erica is a gorgeous business savvy woman http://tripletsgourmet.com just like Robin and LOVED her and her sisters in “Renovate My Family” and you and Jay too. If y’all ever redo “Renovate My Family” please call me as I’d love a modest state-of-the-art solar roof energy efficient (no more than 1000 sq. ft. senior friendly home) in my home town of Norman, OK nearby Montford Inn B&B core Norman. Wonder if possible to have a well “and” city water in city limits. Love to have an “Ultimate Makeover” on THE DOCTORS too since I trust y’all. Whenever pain or anything in general in life feels overwhelming I remember what you told Fireman on “Renovate My Family.”

    Oh, oh, oh… since you mentioned pain management in your blog… Several on Dr. Phil Website could use help with pain management so another show suggestion for you on Dr. Phil Show or Jay on THE DOCTORS.

    Happy Anniversary y’all… Continued success! Keep on shining and I think, have faith, y’all will.

    Sincerely, SEA

  6. Melissa says:

    Happy anniversary to both of you. Love that cat!

  7. Betty says:

    Happy Anniversary to the both of ya

  8. Joyce Long says:

    A very Happy Anniversary to both couples. May God bless all of you throughout the years.

  9. Luana Flacco says:

    Hi Dr. Phil,

    I would like to congratulate you for doing such a wonderful job with your family. I am married 17 years with two growing boys and pray they turn out successful and happy in their adult years. Yes, times are changing and when my boys are 29 this world will be a lot different than it is right now. We have so much to be thankful for in our families and the memories we create with them. Thank you for sharing.
    (your Twitter follower homeschool2boys)

  10. Anja says:

    Happy Anniversary Jay and Erica, hope you’ll have a big party. And Dr Phil… about aging… you’re as old/young as you want yourself to be ;-) Big compliment for what you learned through 33 years, you grew and are still growing even Dr Phill does because we all do. And yes Robin looks wonderful! Sparkling woman, wow! I wish you all many wonderful healthy happy years together!

    Btw: never seen such a cat like Bizant, knew about hairless dogs, never seen a hairless cat! A brave cat, hehehe in the water ;-)

    (hope my English isn’t that bad, I’m Dutch you know…)

  11. Maria McGeorge says:

    CONGRATULATIONS! to Jay and Erica, and Dr Phil and Robin.

  12. Shawn says:

    Congrats, Jay and Erica you are a cute couple:)

  13. Alejandra says:

    CONGRATULATIONS! to Jay and Erica, and Dr Phil and Robin.
    I wishh u guys the best! :D

  14. Congrats and congrats, My husband and i are coming up on our 36th in Dec. And yes it has been fun and not so fun. Hard work and commitment, I can’t believe that we are still together sometimes. Now a days they make it too easy to get out of marriages and I think thats why so many are divorced. I am happy and in love and glad I am still with the same man I married. 2 Grown children and 2 grand children later. I love him very much. So have another 33 and have fun. Sherry from Texas.

  15. cassie says:

    Congratulations to all of you, my parents celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary in March. It was quite an acheivment as Dad nearly died the week before (twice) but he was a strong old bugger. it made my parents reflect on every moment they had together and which ones they wasted. Hindsight is a cruel thing at times. But their love will last forever. So heres to you reaching 33 years. in a blink of the eye it will be 50years, dont take a moment for granted.

  16. Kitty says:

    Congratulations to both couples, Jay and Erica, and Dr. Phil and Robin.

    Cute cat. Wow! I’ve never seen like that before.

  17. Jennifer says:

    Happy Anniversary To both Jay & Erica, & Dr.Phil & robin.May you both have many more. :) .


  18. TCarter says:

    Wow! 33 years is a real accomplishment! Congrats!

  19. vince says:

    Happy Anniversary all i relly ment that with all my heart this is my last message on any of ur sites doc i am gunna let my kid sell my comp he built it for me with his own 2 hands and i want him to sell it for him and him alone, so he can keep his net flick acc hell the kid loves them cartoon things from japan lol that is more important to me than any thing i do hell i honestly dont need nothing in this life doc, i only did what i did on ur sites cause i knew young kids logged in here and i wanted them to see that the truth works and when they screw up all it takes is a simple im sorry from them they relly dont have to be afraid to use thosee words, it dont make no one a coward doc that crap takes more guts than a law sute any time of day or night, just like it takes a bigger person to walk away from a fight aswell,only a coward cant use those words!, stupid im not, doc im sorry with all my heart sir this was all i could give ya to try to help you in ur long fight to save kids is all i honestly am broke and cant even afford a pack of cigaretts that aint no lie sir, i just wish you could see what i see in those pics i know i see things others cant see but what the heack sir i tried with all my heart and i was and did do it all for nothing at all i just followed my heart sir just do me one favor please wait till mom gets her pacemaker b4 you jail me ok incase i louse her i never got to tell my brother /sister /or my dad by b4 they dies i was not even home or at the hospital doc, i dont want to louse my mom with out getting to say good bye, i relly was dead 21 years ago doc that was no lie sir, my only lie to you was me stopping my posts on ur sites i just had to get the guts to tell ya what i did it for it wernt to piss ya off i just wanted to give you something doc even if it were just me, anything for a child i will do, and for you it was a honor for me any how, not many would make a total fool of them selves in a attempt to save a few children from the fear of using the words im sorry and having trust they would be eccepted, i saw ya reaction 21 years ago doc no lie i know ur pissed, but i also know you have a forgiving heart is why i chouse you to let have my ass sir, its ok with me what ever you do with it i promiced gOD 21 YEARS AGO and i will not play runescape cause i know people will be afraid to let there kids play with a total nut like me running louse in a damn game, hell i love that game enough not to do that to it i never did hurt no ones kids doc, purehighness showed me what he looked like with his webcam and i also saw one of his 2 kids both are boys doc, i relly did find his kid for him we were in the same world that night and pure knew i was most likely at the rune rocks mining deep in the wild but not far from his kid lol the kid was owning 6 people 1 at the time that were combat lvs 100+ hahahaha i took out there combat lv 120 who was waiting to tag on the kid and deathblde666 took the one on the kid so he could run to safety and log out was all we did i koed the 120 while he begged me to stop we were friends but i was pissed that they were on a child and did not care, we did keep law and order in the wild sir even tho it were just a game, i am NEMESIS no lie we have and show honor in all we do sir in game and in real life, but im human too i make mistakes in life and i know i got to pay for all my mistakes my very last one ill pay fopr as soon as i can get back to work i dont forget no one i owe. i just wished i had a cash donation to have sent in to help your Dr Phil foundation but i did not this was all i could think of sir sorry i screwed this up too. i relly would rather die than go back to jail tho that was the truth doc, hell im not scared to die even if it means going straight to hell non stop like b4, that horse knows his way i assure you.

  20. sharon says:

    Happy 33rd Anniversary, Phil & Robin!!! :) (and all the best in season 8 too!)

    Happy 3rd Anniversary, Jay & Erica!!! :) (and all the best in season 2 too!)

    I have a little gift to share with you guys that goes along with much of the heart-felt thoughts you’re conveying about what’s really most important in the short and long run, I believe. I wrote this on Father’s Day 2008 for my dear friend (the one who left me recently and whom I still miss so much) as I knew of his desire to one day have a family, and also from my own experience knew how important a father’s role is in the life of a little girl and how it hurts and what she misses and how it affects her heart and spirit when it’s not there or is “there” but is harmful. For a son just as much too, but since I’m a girl that’s what I know personally.

    It’s spoken to a pre-dad (since you’re “hinting” to Jay – nice subtlety, Phil) but is applicable for all. I wrote one about a mom’s value too but will save it for another time. This one seems appropriate now and I hope it blesses your hearts as men, as you’re building your God-centred familes. I’ll let its message speak for itself.


    I thought of you today, my friend
    And have some words to say
    It’s like a gift I want to send
    To you, this Father’s Day
    It’s from my heart, so hope you find
    Some wisdom in these words
    To help you be the kind of Dad
    Who puts his family first
    I know you’re not a Dad as yet
    But one day you will be
    And when you are, please don’t forget
    This gift you have from me

    You’ll never be a perfect Dad
    Sometimes you’ll make mistakes
    But that’s ok cause then you’ll see
    That isn’t what it takes
    To be the Dad your children need
    And fill their little hearts
    Cause what they need is Daddy’s Love
    That’s really where it starts
    That Love will take on many forms
    Throughout their growing years
    But will remain a solid rock
    That holds your family near

    Most times they’ll think you’re Superdad
    There’s nothing you can’t do
    Sometimes you’ll have to make them mad
    And speak to them the truth
    Sometimes you’ll kiss away their tears
    And rock them in your arms
    Sometimes you’ll hug away their fears
    Protecting them from harm
    For this and more they’ll need your Love
    And all your tender care
    So teach them early on to know
    That Daddy’s always there

    The best way you can show your Love
    And make their faces shine
    Is sharing your most precious gift
    And give to them your time
    It’s what their hearts cry out for most
    What money just can’t do
    To make them feel secure and safe
    Cause what they want is YOU
    Making memories, reaching goals
    Helping them become
    All the best that they can be
    Because of Daddy’s Love

    So if you’re ever blessed to have
    A precious little girl
    Just know that what she needs to know
    Is that she is your world
    And if you’re ever blessed to have
    A precious little son
    Just know that what he needs to know
    Is that he’s number one
    The greatest gift that you can give
    That’s unlike any other
    Is when you let your children see
    How much you love their mother

    So always put your family first
    Before your work or fame
    And you’ll leave them a legacy
    That carries on your name
    But even more than that, my friend
    Because of who you are
    I know that you are going to be
    The hero in their hearts
    I know your children will be blessed
    And be so very proud
    That God chose them to be the ones
    Who get to call you Dad

    God’s blessings on you all and strengthen and protect your marriages and Love!


    P.S. Maybe you could add to your prayers for me that maybe God would still bless me one day with a love-filled, God-centred family of my own too. Thanks.

  21. copper says:

    Awe.. Git on outta here…. 33 years ?? Ya both barely look over 33 … Many more to you.. p.s My God, Robin, How did you do it ??

  22. Paradoxis says:

    Congratulations Jay and Erica!
    Congratulations Dr Phil and Robin!

    Your stories and your marriages are inspirational. Didn’t know it was even possible. Thankyou for being shining examples. :D

    Love always.


  23. Cassandra says:

    Happy Anniversary, Dr. Phil and Robin! You two are without a doubt some of my heroes in this world. You are great role models, and your relationship is definitely admirable.

    Happy Anniversary Jay and Erica! I wish you two all the best and hope that the future will bring you lots of great happiness and joy.

    And thank you Dr. Phil, your message to Jay here really cracked me up. :D

    Best wishes from Canada!

  24. Blgspc says:

    Congratulations, Jay and Erica and Happy 3rd! (I got a feeling these two are going to make some beautiful babies, together!!!)
    And, CONGRATULATIONS, Dr. Phil and Robin! (Happy 33rd!)

    Jay and Erica, I KNOW that Dr. Phil and Robin are ANXIOUS to see Erica ‘Swallow that Watermelon Seed’ but that time will come soon enough. Jay what with being the son of Dr. Phil AND Robin McGraw AND the husband of an Identical Triplet, along with running your own television production company, I‘d be willing to bet your life is QUITE unique! And, unless I miss MY guess by ALOT, as an identical twin myself, there are time you probably feel like you’re swimming in estrogen!!! (Ha!) And, kudos to Erica-along with Nicole and Jaclyn- in your online Triplet Gourmet business!


  25. Elizabeth says:

    Congulations to Dr Phil and Robin (33rd) and to Jay and Erica (rd) May you both have amny more

  26. Patty Krivitzky says:

    HA! I knew the baby line was coming….I just knew it! :-) Congrats to all!

  27. Nancy Delapenha says:

    I want to wish all of you a very Happy Anniversary!!

  28. A poem I wrote for the Anniversary men and Anniversary women in their lives.


    All the best always…

  29. Marian says:

    Loved hearing about the anniversary men. One of the reasons I respect you so much is the fact you and Robin have made a marriage work even in Hollywood. I wish you would tell my mother that you two are not splitting up. This 85 year old woman is a tabloid junkie and everytime I see her she says “Your Dr. Phil is getting a divorce!” Beleieve me, it causes some arguments! Never mind the country is in chaos, I end up fuming over my mom believing such balony and it ruins my day! Anyway, keep on with what you do, I know you have helped me through some tough times. Looking forward to the new season, although the classics have been great!

  30. happy anniversary jay and erica. have some grandkids for your folks-it’s time. dr. phil and robin, i can tell by the way you guys look at each other that you still love each other as much now as you did on your 3rd anniversary

  31. Sally says:

    Happy Anniversary to Jay & Erica, Dr. Phil & Robin! Very touching, inspiring blog! May God continue to richly bless you all!

  32. Jodi says:

    Jay & Erica and Dr. Phil & Robin,

    Happy Anniversary and best wishes for many, many more happy and healthy ones to come!!!

    Looking forward to the new season of Dr. Phil and The Doctors.


  33. kathy says:

    happy anniversary jay and erica wow thats great news.i wish you both all the best and hope you have many many many more,im sure you will


  34. Linda RH says:

    “Love is the only gold” -Alfred, Lord Tennyson

    Happy anniversary to all of you. Guess what? I and my husband shared an anniversary with you this weekend. 23 years for us.

  35. Rachel says:

    Hi Dr. Phil
    You have such a beautiful family. I too have been blessed with one as well. My husband and I have been married 34 years and have two daughters. We have 2 weddings coming up in the very near future! Our 29 year old is getting married on Sept.5th and our 33 year old is getting married on Dec. 5th. To say I am stressed is an understatement!!!! Did I mention I am also an ESS Teacher!!!! However, I would not trade places with anyone else in the world right now. As we say in Louisiana”Let the good times roll”
    Bye the way, I tape your show so I can watch it at night. Best Wishes for many more years of success.

  36. Curt says:

    Congratulations all around. My grandparents were married during the depression years, so my grandfather jokingly told my grandmother that, “when he was convinced it was a sure thing he would get them rings”. On there 50th anniversary, they still didn’t have rings. We all got them rings as a present, figuring that if they weren’t sure, we were. Next March, my wife and I will have our 36th anniversary.

  37. Blgspc says:

    To Linda RH,

    Happy 23rd Anniversary, Linda!
    I sure do miss talking with you on the old board!
    Take Care!

    Brenda :-D

  38. Claire says:

    Hey, happy anniversary to all of you. My husband and I also celebrated our anniversary Aug. 14, 2009. 38 years, 4 children – 2 boys and 2 girls and 7 grandchildren later. I hope you get your grandchildren soon, they are so precious and time flies by so fast. Best wishes to all of you.

  39. Linda RH says:

    Blgspc, thanks! I still drop in, but it’s a ghost town over there. *sigh*
    All good things must come to an end….

  40. pattikakes says:

    33 is my lucky number and I am delighted to enter my “BEST WISHES” to you Dr.Phil and Robin for making it to this BIG number. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO ALL 4 OF YOU.
    May GOD bless you’s with many happy and healthy years ahead.

  41. Nicki Scroggin says:

    Happy Anniversary Jay and Erica!!! How exciting – 3 wonderful years!! Congratulations!! I love your show The Doctors… It comes on at the exact time as Dr. Phil so I have to admit – I watch Dr. Phil and then when re-runs come around I watch The Doctors… So, i get to catch you both!!
    I’m waiting for Robin to start something… I love, love, love Robin… I have all of her books and always list her as my favorite author… I would love to be able to spend time with her and really learn from her… learn good exercise habits, eating habits as well as some good thinking habits…. God Bless ya’ll for the the wonderful work ya’ll are doing out there… Families are being healed and lives are being changed… and that’s what its all about…

    May God Bless the McGraw family,
    Yours truly,
    Nicki Scroggin

  42. Judy Skoruppa says:

    Happy Anniversary Jay and Erica! Dr. Phil and Robin congratulations to you also. My husband and I will also be celebrating our 33rd Anniversary this year. We were not only high school sweethearts, but junior high sweethearts. I had our first child in 1979 also. It is a great feeling to see your child so far ahead in life at that age. Our 4 grandkids are everything to us. It is so much more fun than being a parent. Dr. Phil and Robin I hope you will be grandparents soon. You will love it!!
    Both shows are great. I record them all!!
    Best Wishes,
    Judy Skoruppa

  43. Lisa says:

    O ya whatever happened with renovate my family? that was the best reality show ever ecause it worked on all aspects of home improvement… loved it and would like to someday see you were all so it come back… You were all so great in improving the lives of the people…

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