Marriage Drama Class
About the Guest
Drama team Jim and Carol Shores share profound marriage truths via skits and vignettes, revealing how we're different, and how we can better understand the other half.
Drama team Jim and Carol Shores share profound marriage truths via skits and vignettes.
Marriage Drama Class
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Wednesday, March 5th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. We’ll see if we can provide a little communication coaching today. Our coaches are Jim and Carol Shores from the drama team, Acts of Renewal. Stay tuned.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Wednesday edition. We’re taking time this week to reflect back on the Love Like You Mean It® marriage cruise, which we hosted a couple of weeks ago.
Dennis: You mean—all the speakers, all the entertainers, the comedians, the musicians, and the drama team.
Dennis: What a boatload, Bob!
Bob: It was a great time. In fact, I was thinking about our friends, Jim and Carol Shores, who were with us on the cruise. They’ve been on all four of the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruises that we’ve done. We’ve got them planned to be back again next year. I think what they do, Dennis, is—they take principles and really bring them to life. They put them in a story—that you fall right in the middle of it.
Dennis: Well, we love story today. Jim and Carol do a great job of using drama to kind of take us back to our own kitchen or living room—and the last time we had an argument or a little spirited disagreement.
Dennis: It’s like they’ve been eavesdropping. They know where we live; and they teach a lot of very practical things as they illustrate, kind of, how foolish we can look when we’re in the heat of the moment.
Bob: I should mention that the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise was a complete sell-out. We had the whole boat to ourselves, which is the fourth time that has happened.
Dennis: Over 2,000 people.
Bob: You know—if you’ve gone on other cruises, where you don’t have the whole boat to yourself, this just really spoils you.
Dennis: Different deal here. Everybody on the boat is going through the same content—the same material you are. They are there because they want to make their marriages better. It really is a whole lot of fun but a whole lot of growth, at the same time.
Bob: Well, we’re going to be out again in February of next year—February 9th through the 13th.
We’re already about half sold-out on the cruise for next year. So, if a listener is interested, this is a good time to call because we’ve got some special pricing in place between now and the 14th of March. Go to FamilyLifeToday.com. Click on the link for the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise. We’d love to have you join us. We expect to have along with us, next year, our friends Jim and Carol Shores. They have been doing drama and theater pieces in settings like the cruise and at some of our live events.
Dennis: Like I Still Do, for instance.
Bob: They have been doing that for a couple of decades now. On the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise, they spent an hour exploring how husbands and wives can miss one another in communication and how we can do a better job of listening and responding to one another.
Jim: How many of you have been married—let’s say—0 to 10 years? Raise your hands. Okay, so you’re in the first 10 years. That’s a good many. How many of you are in the middle—10 to 25? Okay; and then, over 25? [Applause] Wow! —a round of applause. That’s awesome!
Well, how many of all three of those groups have ever had any difficulty communicating with or understanding the opposite sex; namely, the person you’re married to? [Laughter] Yes!
Carol: I see a few double-handers out there! Well, you are not alone. Jim and I have been married for going on 22 years, and we still find this communication thing a challenge. So we’re going to explore a few of those challenges today.
We’re going to utilize the characters of Dan and Lauren. Now, back when they met, they were students in college; and they had been going together for a number of weeks. Jim, why don’t you tell us a little about the beginning of their relationship?
Jim: Well, back in the beginning of their relationship, Dan used to bring Lauren flowers.
Carol as Lauren: “How did you know I like brown-eyed Susans?”
Jim as Dan: “Because you mentioned during lunch that you liked them.”
Carol as Lauren: “You are just wonderful!”
Jim: In the beginning of their relationship, Lauren appreciated every little thing that he did.
Carol as Lauren: “That pizza was great! You’re the only one I know who can rip pizza in a straight line!” [Laughter]
Jim as Dan: “Oh, it was nothing!”
Jim: In the beginning of their relationship, Dan and Lauren felt like they communicated with each other perfectly.
Carol as Lauren and Jim as Dan, in unison: “I can’t believe you think that, too!! I know exactly what you mean!”
Carol: But then they got to know each other better. They got to know each other better day, after day, after day. They discovered they had some differences.
Jim as Dan: “I don’t know what it is with her; but when we argue, I feel like I am being perfectly clear. She just doesn’t get it.”
Carol as Lauren: “When we argue—and, by the way, I don’t argue—I discuss with passion—
but when I do, he doesn’t get it! [Laughter] Now, my girlfriends have no trouble understanding me! So, what’s the problem?”
Jim: What is the problem?
Carol: The problem is—it’s not so much a problem as we have differences. God created us male and female. So, we’re not only physically different—we’re emotionally different, as well. But if you don’t understand those differences, then the differences can sound like problems, like these—
Jim as Dan: “She’s so emotional!”
Carol as Lauren: “Just when we get close—all of a sudden, he retreats; and he won’t talk!”
Jim as Dan: “She talks all the time!” [Laughter]
Carol as Lauren: “He doesn’t listen! Whenever I’ve got a problem, all he wants to do is fix it!”
Jim as Dan: “She’s so dramatic!”
Carol as Lauren: “He’s so nuts and bolts!”
Jim as Dan: “I don’t know what it is with her—I mean—just when I feel like I understand her perfectly, she tells me I don’t understand her at all. I mean, I feel like you need an interpreter to get what she means!”
Carol: So why don’t they just break up while they can? That might be what you’re thinking. Well, the truth is that they really do like each other.
There’s a lot that’s going well in their relationship. We’re just outlining some of their communication problems. But, as many of you already know—even if you love someone—that love can dry up in the face of hurt, resentment, and bitterness—just being consistently misunderstood.
Jim: So, right now—using the medium of theater—we’re going to take a look at several of the ways that the opposite sex typically miscommunicates.
Carol: Men listen differently. They listen for different reasons. Rather than trying to explain this, let’s just show you in a scene from the early years of Dan and Lauren’s marriage:
Jim as Dan: “Hey!”
Carol as Lauren: “Hey! How was work?”
Jim as Dan: “Oh, it was fine.”
Carol as Lauren: “Well, I know you were worried about that presentation. That went okay?”
Jim as Dan: “Yes, I was—but, you know, I mean, it went fine.” [Laughter]
Carol as Lauren: “Okay; fine. Aren’t you going to ask me about my day?”
Jim as Dan: “Oh, yes; but you asked me about mine first.”
Carol as Lauren: “Because I was interested in knowing how it went.”
Jim as Dan: “I told you. I mean, it was fine.”
Carol as Lauren: “I think we’ve established that.”
Jim as Dan: “How was your day?”
Carol as Lauren: “It was horrible!”
Jim as Dan: “It was horrible? What happened?”
Carol as Lauren: “Well, to start things off, I burned a hole in my favorite white skirt! You know—the one with the pleats?”
Jim as Dan: “Wait! You burned a hole in it? How did you burn a hole in it?”
Carol as Lauren: “It’s that stupid iron! The plastic part broke off on my trip to New York. Now, every time I look at the thing wrong, it falls over. I went to get a second cup of coffee—I come back—there was a big, old scorch mark in my $50 Banana Republic® skirt!”
Jim as Dan: “You know what you need to do?”
Carol as Lauren: “What?”
Jim as Dan: “You need to get a new iron.” [Laughter]
Carol as Lauren: “I know that. Anyway, that’s how my morning started. And then—”
Jim as Dan: “I know how you can save your skirt! Cut off the burn mark and make it into a mini-skirt.”
Carol as Lauren: “What!?”
Jim as Dan: “Yes, yes! You cut the place where it scorched; right? And you sew the skirt so that it’s shorter.”
Carol as Lauren: “You know I’m married now. I’m not wearing mini-skirts anymore!”
Jim as Dan: “Well, I mean, you could wear it around the house for me!” [Laughter]
“Like I could run and get it, and we could start the alterations.”
Carol as Lauren: “I’d like for you to let me finish my story.”
Jim as Dan: “Go ahead.”
Carol as Lauren: “Okay, so now I’ve got to change my clothes. That means I’m running late. So, I drive into town; but there’s no place to park! Finally, I just drive behind the library—I park there. I’m not ten paces away from the car when a policeman, in bike shorts, swoops by and gives me a ticket! Can you believe that?!”
Jim as Dan: “Well, where exactly did you park?”
Carol as Lauren: “Behind the library, next to the dumpster.”
Jim as Dan: “You’re not supposed to park there!”
Carol as Lauren: “I know that! I got a ticket!”
Jim as Dan: “Oh! You know where you should park?—park in front of First Baptist because Sam’s wife works there now. If you walk across the front and smile at her, through the window, she doesn’t call the tow truck.” [Laughter]
Carol as Lauren: [sarcastically] “Isn’t that nice?”
Jim as Dan: “Aren’t you going to finish your story?”
Carol as Lauren: “Why?! You’re not listening.”
Jim as Dan: “What?”
Carol as Lauren: “I think you couldn’t care less!”
Jim as Dan: “What are you talking about?—like I’ve been focused on you since I walked through the door!”
Carol as Lauren: “Fine!”
Jim as Dan: “What did I do wrong?!”
Carol as Lauren: “I just don’t think you really care!”
Jim as Dan: “Well, of course I care!—like I’m trying to help you out here!”
Carol as Lauren: “Then why aren’t you listening to me?!”
Jim as Dan: “I am!”
Carol as Lauren: “You are unbelievable!” [Laughter]
Jim as Dan: “Sorry! [Long pause] You want to go have sex?” [Laughter]
Carol as Lauren: “What!?”
Jim as Dan: “I thought maybe we could go fool around.”
Carol as Lauren: “We’re in the middle of an argument!”
Jim as Dan: “Oh; I thought we were done.” [Laughter]
Carol as Lauren: “No, we’re not!”
Jim as Dan: “Okay. So is that a ‘no’?” [Laughter]
Carol as Lauren: “Yes! That’s a ‘no’.”
Jim as Dan: “Okay. I was just wondering what was for dinner?” [Laughter]
Carol as Lauren: “Whatever you fix!”
Jim as Dan: “Oh, great! I’ll go fire up the grill.”
Carol as Lauren: “You’re amazing!”
Jim as Dan: “Thank you!" [Laughter] “So are you! I’ll just be outside if you need me.” [Applause]
Jim: Thank you. So, obviously, guys are not that clueless—every day. [Laughter]
Carol: But just taking a survey in this room—how many men here feel he was listening? Can I see hands?
Jim: Yes! Thank you! [Laughter] He heard every word that came out of her mouth.
Carol: How many women here feel that he was listening?—we’ve got a few shaky hands here.
What was she needing? Now, we hear back from you—just yell it out. What was she needing? [Voices from audience]
Jim: “Sympathy;” “empathy.”
Jim: “A hug!” “Don’t fix it.”
I tried to hug her; right? I just hooked it up with sex. [Laughter] Is that a bad thing?
Carol: Alright; so these are all of these things she needed. What was he giving her?
Jim: Fix it.
Carol: Fix it! Well, you see—women—we work through our problems by talking about our problems and our feelings about our problems. It sort of looks like this, and then it all gets processed out on the other side. Why is this difficult for a guy?
Jim: That’s terrifying! [Laughter] “What the…”—you know, it’s so confusing. I mean, to a guy, it can be very confusing when a woman is processing her feelings. We just don’t know what to do.
Guys—and we’re talking in generalities here today.
You know, if you average the behavior of all the men in the world / all the women in the world, you’re going to see some of these differences. We want to also put out there that there are huge personality differences, as well.
So anyway, guys tend to be less verbal than women. I mean, if you think about it—if you’ve got a guy—if he’s less verbal and he has a problem—his knee-jerk reaction is not to talk about the problem because he doesn’t want you to know he has the problem because that calls into question his competency. So, he’ll try to solve it on his own before you find out.
If he’s got a problem he can’t solve, sometimes, he’ll go—a lot of times he’ll go—to a trusted male friend. That friend, he is hoping, will say: “I had that problem. I did this. It fixed it.” The first guy says, “Thank you.” He employs that solution and gets back to the business of living his life, and he’s fine.
So, he hears his wife talking about a problem. What do you think he thinks she’s looking for?—a solution to the problem. So, he offers one—being the good guy that he is—and she bats it away. He offers another, and she bats it away.
He is getting frustrated—she’s getting frustrated. Of course, what’s happening?
Carol: Well, it’s because of how God wired us. As women, we are relational. We are about connection and relationship. So, when we tell our husband our bad day and he keeps trying to stop us by fixing the things, what it feels like is that he’s not really caring about what this is really about, which is the heart.
Carol: He just really wants to fix the things because this whole conversation is just getting kind of annoying, and he just wants the whole thing to go away. But is that true?
Jim: Yes. [Laughter] I realize, you know, that I do—do that. How convenient—if I can fix the problem, and those emotions die down, and we get past that, and I don’t have to go through that scary minefield of my wife’s heart—but the problem with that—if we’re always fixing the problem and circumventing her heart—we’re short-circuiting the emotional intimacy that we got into this marriage for in the first place; you know?
“It’s not good for the man to be alone. I will create a helpmate suitable for him.” So we’re designed for each other. It’s not just the woman who needs the emotional intimacy. We both need that, but she is typically better at getting us there.
Carol: So, if we were to just—like, roll the scene back a little bit. How could—using the wisdom in this room—some of your suggestions—how could we turn this scene from frustration into communication? We want to look at some things that Lauren and Dan could do differently.
So, let’s look at my character first—Lauren. What could she do differently in this scene? [Listening to audience responses]
Jim: “Tell him, upfront, you just need to vent.” Very often we think, “Well, if you loved me, you would just know.” That’s crazy! [Laughter] We have to say it out loud. I used to say to Carol, “If you don’t say it out loud, I’m not responsible for knowing it.”
She was like, “That’s horrible!” [Laughter] “I’m sorry!”
Carol: What are some other things Lauren could do differently? [Listening to audience responses] “Use ‘I feel…’ statements.”
Jim: [Laughter] “Vent somewhere else!” Sometimes, that’s appropriate. If your husband is overloaded, and you see a ticking time bomb walking in the door—and you’re going to vent to that—it might be wise to call a girlfriend and say, “I was going to vent to my husband, but not today!” That might be a good choice.
What else? [Listening to audience responses]
Carol: We’ve got two sex comments going at once here! [Laughter]
Jim: “Sex is good; it’s just that the timing was maybe a little off”?
“Can chocolate play into this anywhere [Laughter] as a bridge, maybe?”
Alright; so, what could Dan have done differently? [Listening to audience responses]
“How do you feel?” “Tell her about his day instead of just saying, ‘Fine.’” “I hear what you’re saying.” “I’m sorry your day went that way.” “Ask her to tell me more.” And what?—say it again: “Offer the $50 to buy a new skirt!” [Applause] That kind of solution might be okay. One more, up here: “It is what it is!” [Laughter] We’ll try!
Alright; so, we’re going to take some of these suggestions and replay them. We’ll see how they go; okay?
Carol as Lauren: “Hey!”
Jim as Dan: “Hey!”
Carol as Lauren: “How was work?”
Jim as Dan: “Well, I was going to say, ‘Fine,’ but I had a little bird tell me that I should—you know, on the ride home, I was thinking about my day. I went over the details of my day, and I’d like to share them with you.” [Laughter]
Carol as Lauren: “Okay? I was just going to let you have a landing strip here and be silent for a little while, but okay.”
Jim as Dan: “This is how I’m landing.”
Carol as Lauren: “Okay.”
Jim as Dan: “You know, I had that presentation today. It—okay, words—I was nervous because I felt under-sort of-rehearsed for the thing. Then, my boss’s boss came in; and I didn’t know why he was in the room. Then my boss left; and my boss’s boss watched the presentation. I was confused and terrified, at the same time. I was so worried about what he was thinking that I went on auto-pilot, and I did a fantastic job—
I mean—like, ‘I didn’t know who was delivering this. It was amazing!’ It turns out that why he was in the room was that I’m up for a promotion. He wanted to double-check and make sure that I was the guy, and I am!”
Carol as Lauren: “Wow!”
Jim as Dan: “Yes! Yes!” [Applause]
Carol as Lauren: ’Fine,’” would just not have done that justice!”
Jim as Dan: “No—no! So, how was your day?”
Carol as Lauren: “It was horrible!”
Jim as Dan: “Really? What happened?”
Carol as Lauren: “I don’t want to vent. Well, I do want to vent.”
Jim as Dan: “No, vent—vent, really. I have chocolate in my bag.” [Laughter]
Carol as Lauren: “What I feel—I feel, really, like—this big, huge storm in my chest, at the moment. Basically, I had a bad day. The short version is that I burned a hole in my favorite white skirt—the one with the pleats.
Jim as Dan: “Wait! You burned a hole in that? How did you burn a hole in it?”
Carol as Lauren: “The iron. I went to get a second cup of coffee—big old scorch mark—it’s gone.”
Jim as Dan: “You need a new iron.”
Carol as Lauren: “I thank you for that suggestion.” [Laughter]
Jim as Dan: “I’m the man!” [Laughter]
Carol as Lauren: “It’s a good one; but I’ll tell you that—right now, what I really need”—
Jim as Dan: “Yes?”
Carol as Lauren: “I just need you to listen. I don’t need you to fix it. I don’t need you to say anything.”
Jim as Dan: “At all?”
Carol as Lauren: “You could say, like, ‘Uh-huh.’ [Laughter] That would be helpful.”
Jim as Dan: “Okay. I can do that.”
Carol as Lauren: “Okay? So, the skirt’s gone. I changed and drove into town. There was no place to park, and I was right on the edge of being late for this doctor’s appointment. I finally found a space behind the library. A policeman comes by—I get a parking ticket for parking next to the dumpster. It was—”
Jim as Dan: [Long pause] “How did that make you feel?” [Laughter]
Carol as Lauren: “Like an idiot because I should have known. I just wasn’t paying attention. I was distracted. I got to the appointment—only to find out that it’s next week. [Laughter from audience] It’s not funny because—”
Jim as Dan: “No, I’m not laughing. I’m empathizing.” [Laughter]
Carol as Lauren: “Thank you. Thank you.”
Jim as Dan: “Come here! You had a terrible day.” [Dan hugs Lauren]
Carol as Lauren: “I did; I did.” [Applause] “I feel like I can’t do anything right.”
Jim as Dan: “Honey, you do so much right—it is just not even funny. I love you, and I’m sorry you had a terrible day.”
Carol as Lauren: [Sounding teary-eyed] “Thank you.”
Jim as Dan: “Look what I bought for you.” [Holding flowers]
Carol as Lauren: “Wow! They almost look brand-new!”
Jim as Dan: “I know; right? It is what it is!” [Laughter]
Bob: You see, it just goes to show that guys can learn—
Dennis: They can!
Bob: —if you give them enough time.
Dennis: —if you give them an audience, of a couple thousand people, shouting out the answers to them. [Laughter]
Bob: We’ve been listening to Jim and Carol Shores from the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise, which was held here a couple of weeks ago. You know, we do, as men, need to quit trying to fix it. We need to just “love our wives in an understanding way.” Isn’t that what the Bible says?
Dennis: I think it does say that. The good thing about the cruise is—it’s like a smorgasbord.
Dennis: It’s like a spiritual smorgasbord, where you can feast on a session like this—have a whole lot of fun while, at the same time, getting some practical spiritual equipping.
Bob: And if you want to skip a session, nobody is going to look at you and wonder why you are skipping. If you just want to relax—read a book, sit by the pool, and just unwind—that’s okay, too; right?
Dennis: Hang a little card. We even give the guests all kinds of special little surprises throughout the week. There’s one little door-hanger that we can hang on the outside of the door. What did it say last year? [Laughter] “Doing my homework”?
Bob: It said, “Better marriage in progress,” or, “…in process,”—something like that. We just put the one that said, “Either cruising or snoozing.” That’s what you put on the door—so, we put that on our door.
Dennis: There you go!
Bob: I just want to encourage our listeners: “Plan to join us next year if there’s any way you can—if you’ve got a special anniversary coming up, some reason to celebrate, or maybe, it’s just been too long since you had a nice getaway. If you sign up, this week, for the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise, we’ve got some special pricing available. The pricing expires on Friday, March 14th.
So, check it out—find out now. Go to FamilyLifeToday.com. Click the link for the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise, February 9-13. Again, you can find out more at FamilyLifeToday.com. Click the link for the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise; and take advantage of the special pricing—it’s good through Friday, March 14th.
Now, tomorrow, we’re going to hear a message from Dr. Gary Chapman. He was with us, this year, on the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise. He’s going to talk tomorrow about how to say “I’m sorry,” which is something—trust me, if you haven’t said it yet in your marriage—if you haven’t said it yet today—there’s probably going to be a time coming up. So, join us back, again, tomorrow.
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 will see you back tomorrow for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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