About the Guest
It's not always easy for husbands to understand their wives and vice versa. But what if they could switch genders for awhile? Wouldn't that help? Find out what happened when one couple swapped places with a little help from a special elixir on today's broadcast.
It’s not always easy for husbands to understand their wives and vice versa.
Bob: Have you ever had a romantic evening together, as a couple, that wound up going something like this?
Waiter: Welcome to the Romanza Café. Are you ready to order?
Man: Yeah, whatever.
Waiter: Okay, perhaps a little appetizer?
Man: What's the spiciest thing you got on the menu?
Waiter: I see that you are a man who knows what he likes. How about the lady? Madam?
Woman: I don't know, let's see – what's this Arabian Romantic Night thing?
Man: Oh, I don't know about that.
Woman: You're right, maybe not. You know, dear, I think I'll call Wendy. Wendy was here last week. I'm going to see what she had and see if she liked it.
Man: Can we just order?
Woman: Actually, you know what, honey, you just go ahead. I'm really not that hungry.
Man: Then what are we doing here?
Woman: Well, I don't know, it's just – well, I thought I was hungry, but then I thought about this other place that Wendy told me about.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Monday, February 4th. Our host is the president of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. If you find that you and your spouse are sometimes ordering different entrees at the Romance Café, stay with us.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us on the Monday edition. You know, when it comes to romance, it's pretty simple, isn't it? I mean, you wouldn't think you'd really need to spend a whole lot of time explaining to a woman how a man views romance, because
Dennis: We're going to spend all week –
Bob: I know, I'm sitting here thinking, can't we just wrap this up in about five minutes? Is there really that much to say?
Dennis: [laughing] Spoken as a true man.
Bob: Can we land the plane?
Dennis: But, now, Bob, think about it for a moment – who is our intended audience here?
Bob: Well, our wives. We want our wives to understand how we view romance as men.
Dennis: So you can't deliver it in a bottom-line format to women.
Bob: You mean we've got to talk about it, right? We've got to spend time talking about it – talk, talk, talk, right? Is that what you're saying?
Dennis: That's right. And the way we're going to make it more palatable for the ladies to better understand a man's perspective of romance is we're going to do what we did a week ago when we had a little drama here on FamilyLife Today.
Bob: Oh, yeah, this is where Brian and Angela, the couple that – they were challenged in their romantic relationship, and they went to see the doctor, he doctor had a special …
Dennis: … experimental drug. Well, I'm not going to tell our listeners.
Bob: No, we heard what it did to Brian last week.
Dennis: That's right. It's cool.
Bob: And we're going to let Angela, this week, explain what happened – now, you need to know that some of what they're going to share may not be appropriate for younger listeners because they're going to give us a candid look at some of the challenges couples face in their romantic relationship.
Dr. Marshall: (From videotape.) Angela, let me ask you – what's been going on with you since the last visit?
Angela: Well, I still just feel dead inside.
Brian: Ah! Well, maybe if you'd let me get close to you for more than 30 seconds, I could change that.
Angela: Oh, yeah, right, like, you think sex is going to just solve everything.
Brian: We could try for once.
Angela: [aside] What is it with guys and sex? Anyhow, how did I end up here? How did we end up here? Is this what 12 years of marriage gets you? When I met Brian, it was, like, 14 years ago. We were both athletic, we both loved to go running together, and we would just talk for hours.
(romantic song playing)
He was so funny, and just listened, you know? And, oh, he was just so real. When he asked me to marry him, I just said "Yes" immediately. I just knew. Our wedding was the summer following our graduation. So what happened?
Dr. Marshall: So, Angela, when you say you feel dead inside, what you're saying is you feel emotionally disconnected from Brian?
Angela: I don't know. Most days I feel old – just old and trapped. That's the truth. Day after day, I struggle with this emptiness – hoping, longing, praying it will get better. I guess just sort of holding it together for the kids.
Brian: Oh, come on, it isn't that bad – is it?
Angela: Of course, this means nothing to Brian because all he thinks about is sex.
Brian: That's not true.
Angela: It is, too. What do you think I am? A machine? Can’t you see I'm beat? Don't you have a clue what I'm going through?
Brian: Oh, come on.
Dr. Marshall: Hang on, hang on, both of you. Angela, your point is?
Angela: My point is what's with men and their endless need for sex? Look, we made love last week.
Brian: We did?
Angela: Well, maybe it was a couple of weeks ago.
Brian: Hon, it was three-and-a-half weeks ago.
Angela: Whatever. The point is, we do have sex.
Brian: Like when?
Angela: Like – I don't know when, but I do know whenever we do, you always get more out of it.
Brian: Well, maybe if you'd try a little harder.
Angela: Oh, yeah, well, maybe if you would try building some anticipation.
Brian: Like what?
Angela: You know, like something besides a peck on the cheek and a pat on my bottom in the kitchen.
Brian: Oh ho! Let's twist that one around. You know what that means.
Angela: Yeah, it means, it's halftime, let's have sex.
Brian: It does not. It means "I love you," and, besides, halftime is 20 minutes long. So what's the big deal? Twenty minutes, what's that?
Angela: [aside] Well, you can see why we have such a stimulating relationship. Are you with me here, girls? I mean, can you relate to this?
[Aretha Franklin singing "Respect"]
You see, it wasn't always this way. There was a time when I looked forward to our lovemaking – I mean, it was wonderful. But over the last couple of years, I don't know, I just find myself often just turning him away, or I just go through the motions, which is part of the reason we're here in this counselor's office for our seventh session.
Dr. Marshall: Now, this might surprise you, but your marital difficulty is really not that different than what I find in a lot of the couples who come to me for help.
Dr. Marshall: Yeah, look, you both recognize that things aren't what they should be, right?
Dr. Marshall: And you both want to make this work.
Dr. Marshall: And it's clear that both of you feel like you've reached an impasse, right?
Dr. Marshall: Look, I know this might sound far-fetched, but hear me out. Those vials I just put in front of you contain an experimental drug called Retrosamax. It's designed to temporarily change what we call your "emotional set." It's brand-new, but it's being field-tested by the FDA, and I've agreed to be part of the research.
Brian: Oh, come on, really?
Dr. Marshall: Now, there's nothing to worry about, it's simple. Just drink that liquid and, Brian, you'll experience life through the emotional set of your wife. Angela, do the same, and you'll see and feel life the way your husband experiences it.
Angela: You're actually serious?
Dr. Marshall: Totally. So what do you think?
Brian: Hey, I'm game. I mean, you know, if she wants to.
Angela: Whoa, whoa, wait a minute, I’m not sure I want to experiment with my emotional set.
[aside] This is so typical of Brian. He hadn't even read the release form. He just scribbled his name, slugged down his drink, and then handed the waiver to me. I mean, I needed time to think about this. Was I going to regret this? On the other hand, maybe it would be a good thing for Brian to see what I go through emotionally every day. It's not like we were switching bodies – just our emotional wiring or whatever. I should be able to handle thinking like a guy for a week. I mean, how hard could that be? It would be like being on vacation. I focused on the page, read the lone paragraph. It appeared harmless enough. I signed my name.
[Later, on the way home]
Angela: This is all your fault.
Angela: I said this is all your fault.
Angela: That we're stuck in traffic.
Brian: Good grief, what's gotten into you, Angie?
Angela: Nothing's gotten into me. I just hate sitting in traffic.
Brian: Since when?
Angela: Since – I don't know when.
Brian: Hey, maybe Dr. John's elixir is starting to work.
Angela: Oh, yeah, right. I have serious doubts about that stuff.
Brian: Well, the way you yelled at me when –
Angela: [yells] I did not yell at you, and what does that have to do with anything? I was just trying to get us out of the counselor's office.
Brian: Well, you certainly did that. I hope you're happy.
Angela: [aside] This was weird – me getting uptight about traffic is one thing, but something else had changed, too. Something I couldn't explain to Brian or even to myself. It was like I'd become acutely alert to every last ounce of testosterone in the universe, you know? Now, it's not like I hadn't seen men before, but all of a sudden I couldn't take my eyes off this billboard. A billboard! And what caught my eye on this billboard was this guy.
[Song "I Only Have Eyes for You"]
I mean, he was drop-dead gorgeous, I mean gorgeous! All of a sudden this thought just popped into my head – "He's the kind of guy I'd shave my legs for."
Now, don't ask me where that came from, it just did. Why would I be drawn to a complete stranger like that? I mean, it's just a dumb picture of a kid almost half my age, and it's just, like, caused my thoughts to spin out of control.
As I stole another look over at Mr. Billboard, I noticed a brown delivery truck stuck in the lane next to us. You know how they have their driver's door pulled back so you can see inside the cab? Well, the driver wore those brown shorts and that matching brown shirt, and I'd say he was about 30, but what I could see of his face was definitely tanned. A moment later I found myself admiring his calves – nice. I bet he's a runner. Brian used to have calves like that. Without thinking, my eyes drifted up to his waist. This guy probably has a washboard stomach, unlike Brian. Hm, nice, hm, hm, hm.
Brian: Angie? Baby? So what were you staring at?
Brian: Admit it, Angela, you were checking out the UPS guy.
Angela: Who, me, right?
Brian: You could have fooled me. Aren't I good enough for you? Well?
Angela: Oh, you know, I've been meaning to tell you, Brian, this morning I noticed in the paper that the Steelers are playing a home game this Sunday. What if I take the kids and go? I mean, you could come, too.
Brian: No, thanks, I'm not interested.
Angela: Now who's not being honest?
Brian: Hah! See? You just admitted it. You were checking him out.
Brian: When you said, "Now, who's not being honest," that implies you weren't being honest with me a minute ago. 'Fess up, Angela, you're busted.
Angela: I will do no such thing. This is so ridiculous. What are you, the thought police?
Brian: Oh, no, just call me the janitor.
Brian: Because if you were drooling any more back there, I'd need a mop to clean it up.
[Music, "She's Always a Woman to Me"]
Angela: [aside] When we got home, Brian offered to make dinner and play some board games with the kids, and I'd like to say that was the end of all these strange thoughts I'd been having, but it wasn't. By the time Brian and I got into bed, I was beat. I'd been fighting this endless war in my mind, and I was just glad to shut off the world and fall into bed with the man I'd pledged to be faithful to and, boy, was I ready for him now.
Angela: I want you.
Brian: That's nice, honey, I want you, too.
Angela: No, Bri, I mean, I want you. You know – now.
Brian: Look, Ange, I'm beat. Maybe tomorrow. You know, after I cut the grass. Angela, I said maybe tomorrow.
Angela: Well, it's after midnight. So it's already tomorrow. So what are we waiting for?
Brian: I’m not in the mood.
Angela: Wow, that's a first. Why?
Brian: You don't know, do you?
Angela: Well, enlighten me.
Brian: At the counselor's office – does this ring any bells?
Angela: Uh – nope.
Brian: I didn't think so. You don't remember how rude you were, do you?
Angela: Well, I was a little abrupt, but that was this afternoon, and this is tonight, right?
Brian: Ah, yes, this is tonight.
Angela: Well, can't you just hold me?
Brian: Can't you apologize?
Angela: Fine, I'm sorry.
Brian: You don't sound sorry.
Angela: Well, I am sorry.
Brian: You have a funny way of showing it.
Angela: What is that supposed to mean? Look, Brian, I can be just as sorry as anybody. In fact, I can be sorrier than you know.
Brian: You can say that again.
Angela: I am sorry.
Brian: You must think I'm a fool. I know perfectly well when I am being snowed. Besides, what planet are you living on, Angela? For the last five hours I have been juggling kids, dinner, dishes, clean-up, can't you see it's late and I'm tired? Now you want me to just flip a switch and suddenly be your teddy bear? It's not going to happen, so deal with it. Good night.
Angela: [aside] I was dumbfounded. This was so unfair. I yanked the sheet over my head and turned my back on him. I don't get it. What possible connection could there be between today and tonight? It seems so clear to me now. I wanted him. We're married. What is the problem? I started to get angry all over again when, suddenly, in a secret corner of my mind, the stranger in the UPS truck reappeared. He flashed a smile and, with a wave, he winked at me.
[alarm clock sounds]
Angela: Oh, stop.
Brian: Babe? Are you okay? What was that?
Angela: What? Nothing.
[aside] I glanced at the clock. I had overslept. Weird – well, maybe it was the dreams. I can't tell you the last time I had dreams like that. I mean, how could anybody live with these thoughts day after day? I know I couldn't.
Brian: Angela, are you coming to breakfast? It's ready.
Angela: Yeah, I'll be right there.
[aside] Right then and there, I was determined to switch our emotional sets back sooner than later. I couldn't imagine going a whole week like this – no way.
Angela: Just a minute!
Brian: Baby, the pancakes are getting cold.
Angela: You guys go ahead, I'll be right down.
Angela: [aside] Then I remembered the note John Marshall had handed each of us. What was it he said?
Dr. Marshall: I suggest you don't open it unless you're seriously struggling with the changes during the week.
Angela: That would be now.
[aside] As I ripped open the note, I just remember thinking, "Maybe this holds the key." You know, something to help me unlock a strategy for coping. Inside, our counselor had typed three words, "Now you know."
That's it? Now I know what? Know that I'm ready to tear my eyes out or that I hate my husband for pushing me away when I needed him last night. What was this, a joke?
Then – right out of my anger I had this thought – slowly at first, but as this idea came into focus, I wasn't sure I wanted to comprehend it. I flattened the crumpled note in my lap with the palms of my hands. Yes, I think I just got the message in the bottle. Like a parting in the clouds, the significance of John's words came into view – "Now you know." I had walked a mile in Brian's shoes. I had experienced a taste of what my poor husband has to deal with, like, every day of his life. For reasons I don't even fully understand, he's wired differently. Now I get it – what men mean when they say they possess the heightened sensitivity to visual stimulation and, in this world, I mean, that means men experience a daily battle with temptation.
I confess, I hadn't the slightest clue how difficult that actually was. That is, until now. Now I can imagine how hard it must be for my husband to keep his thought life pure. No wonder he gets bothered by those bikini-clad billboards and the beer commercials or – oh, my gosh – when that swimsuit issue, like, his favorite sports magazine – he asks me to throw it away. So he has been taking a stand all along. Like, that's been his way of saying he loves me, I just never saw it. Yet in all of this, it’s just dawned on me that in the midst of Brian's struggle to stay on course, he needs me to be there for him, to give him a reason to stay home.
[End of story]
Bob: I wonder if we've got any UPS drivers listening to FamilyLife, do you think?
Dennis: Yeah, you know, what Barbara and I tried to do, though, in our book, "Rekindling the Romance," is to write honestly and yet practically to both husbands and wives about how better – not only to understand one another's romantic needs – but how to best go about meeting them. And so, for the women, Barbara's half of the book is broken down into – well, I'm looking here – there's five sections. The first section is called "The Seasons of Romance," and there are seasons of romance that explain why it's so difficult at times.
Bob: Sometimes it's winter, right?
Dennis: It can be …
Bob: … a little frosty, a little chilly.
Dennis: A little frosty. Part 2 is – well, we'll keep moving right there, we won't stay there long – Part 2 is men and women express romance differently. We don't need to comment about that at all – no. Part 3 is how to have a romantic makeover, and it talks about the ingredients of romance. A lot of people are trying to make romance, and they don't have the right ingredients. Barbara's got, I think, it's the six ingredients of romance in that section. And then there's Section 4, what to do about the little interruptions to romance, the multiple distractions to romance, and then Part 5 is how to fire the desire, and they start at Fire the Desire 101, and they move to Fire the Desire 501.
Bob: Oh, my, graduate-level stuff.
Dennis: This is real fun right here – if you can make it to 501, you're risky.
Bob: You've got your Ph.D.
Dennis: You're risky, you're out there.
Bob: We've got copies of the book in our FamilyLife Resource Center, and I want to encourage our listeners to call us and get a copy. It's been interesting to watch folks respond to this book as they've been picking up copies at our conferences we're hosting all across the country, and the book is now available in our FamilyLife Resource Center. In fact, we're recommending you get a copy of the book and the "Simply Romantic Nights" collection. When you do that …
Dennis: … when you do that, it's probably 601 – Fire the Desire 601 – you've got the book AND "Simply Romantic Nights."
Bob: And this is the 2nd edition, this is volume 2 of "Simply Romantic Nights," where the team has come up with some, new, fresh, creative ways for couples to express their love for one another.
So let me encourage you – go to our website, FamilyLife.com, where you can get more information about Dennis and Barbara's book, about the new "Simply Romantic Nights" collection. Both are available from us here at FamilyLife, and you can order online, if you'd like. Again, the website if FamilyLife.com, or call 1-800-FLTODAY. That's 1-800-358-6329, 1-800-F-as-in-family, L-as-in-life, and then the word TODAY, and let me just add this – we'd also love to send you a couple of CDs – some interviews we did a few years back, Dennis, with Lorraine Pintus and Linda Dillow. Their book, "Intimate Issues, " a book for women on the subject of intimacy and romance in marriage.
We'd love to send you the two CDs that feature our conversation with these women that covers the subject of their book, and we'd love to send these out to you as our way of saying thank you when you make a donation of any amount to FamilyLife this month.
If you're donating online, when you come to the keycode box on the donation form, just type in the word "intimate," and we'll know to send you the CDs or call 1-800-FLTODAY, make a donation over the phone and, again, we're happy to send these CDs out to you as our way of saying thank you for your financial support of the ministry of FamilyLife Today.
Tomorrow we want to talk about how you can rekindle the romance in your marriage when your marriage is going through a season of suffering. I hope you can be with us for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We'll see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
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