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STRAINING THE RELATIONSHIP – written by Tanis Harms
TOPIC:        grace, relationships, reconciliation
SCRIPTURE:    Lev.4:13, Rom.6:1-2
Style:        allegory/conversation: after a wife
.             realizes that her husband will always
.             love her no matter what, she becomes
.             abusive and strains the relationship,
.             which parallels what we sometimes
.             do in our relationship with God
Cast:         HUSBAND, WIFE
Set & Props:  

SCRIPT:

(HUSBAND and WIFE enter, stop to hold both hands
and look into each other’s eyes.)

HUSBAND   I love you.  You are my wife forever.
.         There’s nothing you could ever do
.         which would end our marriage.
.         My promise is that it is forever until death.
.         And I want to treat you
.         the way I want to be treated.

WIFE      That sounds so lovely.  I love you too.
.         I’m so fortunate to have such
.         a wonderful and caring husband!

(With a smile, WIFE stomps on HUSBAND’S foot.)

HUSBAND   Ow.

(WIFE lets go of HUSBAND’S hands and looks at him,
cheerfully smiling.)

WIFE      (in a sing-song way)  Sorry.

(WIFE playfully pinches HUSBAND’S shoulder hard.)

HUSBAND   Ow?

WIFE      (playfully pouting)  Do you still love me?

HUSBAND   Yes.  Of course.
.                                                       2
WIFE      Awesome!

(WIFE pinches HUSBAND’S shoulder again with a grimace.)

HUSBAND   I’m just wondering why you’re doing this.

WIFE      You said - there’s nothing I could do
.         to end the marriage.

(WIFE curiously pulls HUSBAND’S hair.)

WIFE      I LOVE this freedom I have with you.

(WIFE winds up to punch HUSBAND again, but
HUSBAND takes a step to the side so that WIFE misses.)

WIFE      What’s wrong?  Don’t you love me anymore?

HUSBAND   I said there was nothing you could do
.         to end the marriage.  But you certainly
.         are doing your best to strain the relationship.

(WIFE hangs head for a moment and starts to throw herself
at HUSBAND to hug.  HUSBAND flinches and leans away.)

WIFE      I just wanted a hug from you.

(HUSBAND timidly allows WIFE to hug him.  
Now she accidentally steps on his foot.)

HUSBAND   You stomped on my foot again.

WIFE      Oh?  Must have been unintentional.

HUSBAND   It still hurt.

WIFE      But - it was an accident.

HUSBAND   You don’t care that you hurt me?
.         Accidental or not?

(WIFE shrugs, then happily thinks of something.
WIFE takes a step toward HUSBAND, who steps back a bit.)

WIFE      I just want another hug.  

HUSBAND   Are you sure?  Because... right now           3
.         I’m not really feeling it.

WIFE      What?  My love?  You know that I love you.

HUSBAND   (unsure)  Do I?

WIFE      So that’s it then?

HUSBAND   I’m a man of my word.  Nothing will end
.         this marriage.

WIFE      Ohhhh, the relationship is STRAINED.

(WIFE still doesn’t sound very concerned, but thinks,
then becomes pouty to manipulate.)

WIFE      But I want a hug from you.

HUSBAND   I want a hug from you, too.  Except that
.         you keep taking the relationship for granted.

WIFE      Well, why didn’t you stop me back there?

HUSBAND   Stop you from attacking me?  Like, what?
.         Lock you up?  I don’t want that for you.  

WIFE      When you put it that way, it does
.         sound ridiculous.  But, still,
.         you could have said something.

HUSBAND   I did.

WIFE      You’re so good to me.  

(WIFE stretches out her arms and uses just her hands
to motion HUSBAND over for a hug.)

WIFE      Come here.  Come here.  Oh, okay...
.         IF - I hurt you, I’m sorry.

HUSBAND   IF – you hurt me?

WIFE      Come here.  Pleeease?

(HUSBAND moves closer and they hug lightly.  Then
WIFE smiles and stomps purposefully on HUSBAND’S foot.)
.                                                       4
WIFE      Sorry.  (laughing)  I just can’t help myself.

HUSBAND   Or – you mean that you don’t even WANT to try.
.         You DO realize that I want to make this work.
.         Do you not want to work on the relationship?

WIFE      It’s so much work.

HUSBAND   Okay - then.

(HUSBAND steps away, dizzy with disbelief.)

WIFE      You’re leaving me?

HUSBAND   I’m a man of my word.  Nothing will end
.         this marriage.  I’m here for you as a husband.
.         But when you want to use me as a punching bag,
.         I’ll keep a bit of distance.  So –
.         I will be in the kitchen preparing a meal.
.         If you want to join me, that’s where I’ll be.

WIFE      (angry) Oh, what? Are you expecting an apology?

HUSBAND   (pauses)  I don’t know what to expect.
.         But I’m HOPING for an apology.

WIFE      Aaaahhhhh, well, yeah, but – like you said,
.         it’s not like our marriage is going to end.
.         (as HUSBAND exits, thinks, then to herself)
.         This isn’t as fun as I thought.
.         And this marriage stuff isn’t as easy
.         as I thought it would be...  Although,
.         what if I made it easier by doing my part?
.         If I would get along with my husband -
.         THAT would be fun.  (looks in direction where
.            husband exited, and calls out sincere...)
.         I’m sorry!  I really am!  I really mean it!
.         I really want to make this marriage work!

HUSBAND   (calling from offstage)  I forgive you!

WIFE      (while exiting)  I’d be crazy not to want
.         this marriage to work.

POSSIBLE FOLLOW UP QUESTION FROM PASTOR OR NARRATOR:
.         Is this sometimes our attitude toward God?