FamilyLife Today®

Practical Marriage Coaching

with Jim and Carol Shores | April 8, 2014
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Jim and Carol Shores, as professional dramatists, use their comedic talents to illustrate how to move your marriage from good to great.

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  • Jim and Carol Shores, as professional dramatists, use their comedic talents to illustrate how to move your marriage from good to great.

Jim and Carol Shores illustrate how to move your marriage from good to great.

Practical Marriage Coaching

With Jim and Carol Shores
April 08, 2014
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Bob: When a husband and a wife need to communicate, is it better for them to look each other in the eye or to talk while they are doing other things?  Well, according to Jim and Carol Shores, that depends on whether you are the husband or the wife.

Jim: Men, when we talk, it is difficult—if it’s a sensitive topic—to stare, eye to eye, for a long period of time. It’s just too much! [Laughter]  And so, it’s easier for us to talk if we’re driving a car—looking out the windshield—and we’re talking kind of this way or working on a project together—looking down at a third thing. Women—

Carol: We like this!  Why do we like this eye contact, ladies?  [Audience responding] They’re listening!  We can tell if you are spaced out or not. [Laughter]  It’s that connecting thing.

Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Tuesday, April 8th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine. We’ll hear Jim and Carol Shores flesh out the differences—



—between men and women—when we sit down to communicate or when we go driving to communicate—whichever way we do it. That is all coming up today. Stay tuned.

And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Tuesday edition. So, you think men and women are different?  [Laughter] 

Dennis: We spent the last—well, close to eight years, since we became empty nesters, just turning to each other and going, “You and I are even more different than we thought we were when we first got married.”  And we’ve been married, now, for 41 years, for goodness’ sakes.

Bob: But the thing is you still like each other! 

Dennis: Oh, that’s why I married her. Here is the thing about differences—you marry them because they are different. Then, you try to change them and try to turn them into you. And you’re not going to like it if you turn them into you. So, why not enjoy the ride and enjoy the differences that God designed, within men and women, and enjoy how He complements you with your spouse? 


Bob: We’re going to get a chance to hear about differences in how we communicate with one another today from a couple of friends who we have known for almost 15 years now.

Dennis: That’s right. They go all the way back to when we used to do “I Still Do” back in the late ‘90s / early 2000s. Jim and Carol Shores performed drama that entertained the audience; but at the same time, drove some powerful, theological principles home.

In fact, Bob, Jim and Carol were the number-one ranked component of the program, and we had some great speakers and entertainment; but I just think people got into these drama pieces. It helped them leave “I Still Do” with some powerful principles to apply in their marriages.

Bob: Well, and you mentioned they were a part of “I Still Do,” back in the late ‘90s and the early 2000s. Once again, this fall, Jim and Carol are going to be joining us as we bring “I Still Do” back.



We decided: “This is the year—

Dennis: It’s time.

Bob: —“that we need to say: ‘Marriage matters in our family. Marriage matters in our culture.’  And we’re going to stand up and say, ‘We still do.’” 

Dennis: Yes. We’re not going to be ashamed of what God clearly created as He opens the Book. In the book of Genesis, He said: “Male and female created He them. In the image of God, God made them.”  And He called them to leave, cleave, and become one. It’s time to stand for marriage; and do it in a fun, winsome, but powerful way that’s built upon the Scriptures.

Bob: And let me give the dates: August 2nd, we’ll be at the Allstate Arena in Chicago; August 23rd, at the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon; and then, on October 4th, we’re going to be at the Verizon Arena in downtown Washington, DC. That event is going to be a worldwide simulcast that’s going on that day.


Tickets are on sale now at You can go to the website and find out more about the events—dates, and locations, and order tickets. Tickets are reserved seats. So, the sooner you order, the better your seating will be.

Among the folks you’ll get a chance to hear from at I Still Do” are Jim and Carol Shores. We thought you ought to hear a little bit of the kind of stuff that they are going to share. Here, from a recent event we did with them, are our friends, Jim and Carol Shores.

[Recorded Message]

Jim: Men and women—we really are just wired differently. There was a feminist scholar, Deborah Tannen, who set out to kind of—really—more prove that men and women weren’t that different—that it was just socialization that made us different. She interviewed hundreds—and then it went into thousands of married couples—it was her life study. She wrote a book called You Just Don’t Understand. In that, she said: “Man, are they different! It’s so different—it’s like cross-cultural communication.” 

She actually coined the term—



—genderlect—like dialect. We have to learn each other’s genderlect. She said, “I observed that men, when they speak, especially in public, they are very aware of their status in the room.”  That means—when they are talking, they very much go kind of into report style. They’ll give you information. They’ll tell a story where they did something effective, or they tell a joke where they did something funny; but they’re kind of the heroes of their own story. Women, more—

Carol: Women, we—you know, it is not uncommon for a woman to feel like starting a conversation with: “You will not believe the dumb thing I did yesterday!  Oh, my gosh!  It was so embarrassing!”  And what am I looking back from her?  What do I want back from her?—[Audience response] “You’re not dumb. You want to hear dumb?  Listen to a story of what I did,”—because what we’re looking for is connection. We want to meet on the same plane—that we’re connected, relational.

Jim: Guys, very often when we talk—because we’re aware of kind of our power—



—we don’t want to give that away. So, we don’t appreciate interruptions because it’s like: “I’ve got the floor now. You can have your turn in a minute.”  When our wives interrupt us or completes our sentences for us, it’s not welcome—a lot of times. It is like, “I was talking”; right?  But for women—

Carol: —we like: “Mmmm. Yes. Uh-huh. Oh.”  Why do we like that, ladies?  [Audience response] Yes, because we are tracking with each other—we’re connecting! 

Jim: Guys, when we talk, often give you the bullet points. We tell you what we think is important for you to know. We’re just not going to bore you or bother you with a lot of detail. Also, we’ve forgotten the detail by that time. [Laughter]  But women more often—

Carol: Women, we like the details. Don’t give us the sketch—give us the painting!—at least, the watercolor because all those details make us feel connected—like we can kind of vicariously—if it’s about your day—we can vicariously go through your day with you.



We feel like we’re part of your life.

Jim: Men, when we talk, it is difficult—if it’s a sensitive topic—to stare, eye to eye, for a long period of time. It’s just too much!  [Laughter] And so, it’s easier for us to talk if we’re driving a car—looking out the windshield—and we’re talking kind of this way or working on a project together—looking down at a third thing. Women—

Carol: We like this!  Why do we like this eye contact, ladies?  [Audience response] They’re listening!  We can tell if you’re spaced out or not. [Laughter] It’s that connecting thing.

Jim: So, we offer—we learn how one another think / how the genders are different—so that we’re not constantly surprised or offended by that design.

So, I come home at the end of the day. Some days, I do think through my day—the details of my day—so that I can offer that to my wife as a gift of communication because I don’t want to be surprised, at five o’clock every day—



—that I’m coming home to a woman who would like to hear that.

Carol: And on my side, as a woman, there are times when I assess where Jim is at when he comes through the door—that it is a bullet-point day. And when I want to talk about—and I want him to stay with me—I do need to reduce it to the bullet points to step into his world—to serve him out of love—that we are to submit to one another in love; thus, fulfilling the Law of Christ.

So, these differences between the sexes—it’s not just so you can say: “Oh, my gosh! You are being a man again!” 

Jim: Right.

Carol: It is so that I understand—so that I can serve into his world. If he’s serving into my world, both of our needs are being met in communication. And it is a very good connective, satisfying experience.

Jim: So, we are going to another theater piece. In this one, we’re going to look at guys. Guys need times of closeness—intimacy with the opposite sex—our wives. And we also need something else. See if you can guess what that is in this piece.


Jim as Dan: Yes, Mom, I know; and I’m sorry. I mean—I thought that you knew. I mean, like the home nurse—she would tell you and—well, no, I didn’t know you called me back. See, I had my cell phone in my pocket. Somehow, it got turned off and—Mom, I know how to operate my cell phone. Yes, I know you are mad.

Lauren is home, and I need to get off the phone. I—no, no, she’s not in the same room. She’s not—she’s not at—no, Mom, she’s not asking me to get off the phone because I’m talking to you. I just need to get off the phone because I need to get off the phone. [Laughter]  I know you are mad. I apologized. I’m sorry. I’m sorry!  I’m sorry!  I’m sorry!  I’m hanging up now. Goodbye. Honestly!  Gee whiz! 

Carol as Lauren: Hey, hey, hey—the Carlsons just called. They’ve invited us to dinner—“Bring the kids,” and we don’t have to bring anything else. Isn’t that great? 


 Jim as Dan: Yes.

Carol as Lauren: You don’t seem too excited.

Jim as Dan: No, it will be great.

Carol as Lauren: Is something wrong? 

Jim as Dan: No.

Carol as Lauren: What’s wrong?! 

Jim as Dan: Nothing.

Carol as Lauren: Something is wrong! 

Jim as Dan: Look, it’s no big deal; okay? 

Carol as Lauren: Oh, don’t say it’s no big deal. That immediately makes me think it’s a big deal.

Jim as Dan: It’s not!  Look, my mom called me. She just reamed me out for not calling her back yesterday.

Carol as Lauren: Did she know how busy you were?! 

Jim as Dan: Oh, that doesn’t matter.

Carol as Lauren: Well, are you alright? 

Jim as Dan: I don’t know.

Carol as Lauren: You don’t know, or you don’t want to tell me.

Jim as Dan: I don’t know.

Carol as Lauren: Well, don’t get testy! 

Jim as Dan: I’m not. It’s just—

Carol as Lauren: You don’t want me to ask you questions? 

Jim as Dan: Not right now.

Carol as Lauren: Well, how are we supposed to improve our communication if you don’t trust me? 

Jim as Dan: Trust you about what? 

Carol as Lauren: Well, you’ve obviously had a bad conversation with your mom. You’re upset about it, but you don’t want to talk. I just don’t think that’s healthy.

Jim as Dan: Oh, Lauren, don’t. You’re going to drive me crazy.

Carol as Lauren: Don’t make this about me! 

Jim as Dan: What?! 

Carol as Lauren: I’m trying to help you out here. Don’t make me the bad guy! 

Jim as Dan: You’re not the bad guy.



You’re just the person who won’t stop asking me questions. [Laughter]

Carol as Lauren: I’m just asking you what you think about the fact that your mom just reamed you out over the phone.

Jim as Dan: I don’t know what I think about it.

Carol as Lauren: How can you not know what you think about it?! 

Jim as Dan:  Because you won’t leave me alone. [Applause] 

Carol as Lauren: So, if I stop talking, you won’t be confused? 

Jim as Dan: Eventually. [Laughter]

Carol as Lauren: That makes no sense at all. How can you know what you think if you don’t talk about it? 

Jim as Dan: Maybe I need to think about it—just not out loud.

Carol as Lauren: Is that what you are doing now?—because it doesn’t look like you’re thinking.

Jim as Dan: No, I’m reading a magazine so I don’t have to think here for a little while; [Laughter] but eventually, my thinking will become clearer.

Carol as Lauren: Boy! And they say women are confusing!  So, are we going over to the Carlsons? 

Jim as Dan: I don’t know. I need to think about it for a second, but not right now because I’m not thinking here for a minute. [Laughter]

Carol as Lauren: How about I just call them and tell them, “We’ll know in a little while”? 

Jim as Dan: That sounds good.


Carol as Lauren: And I’ll leave you to think about not thinking until you think you are ready to think! 

Jim as Dan: Now, you’ve got it.

Carol as Lauren: Whew!  [Applause] 

Jim: What did he need?—[Audience response] space—the final frontier. He needed space. Was there anything wrong with the relationship?  No. No, not really—not at all. Guys just—sometimes, the world is—as Shakespeare said, “The world is too much with us”—and we—you know, we don’t know what we think / we don’t know what we feel—we just need space. We retreat sometimes, and it can be very abrupt.

Back in the ‘90s, Dr. John Gray—Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus—coined the term, “the man cave.”  Sometimes, we retreat into that cave, and a woman is not welcome to follow us in there. Now, what do we do in that cave, gentlemen?—nothing—exactly, which drives our wives insane: [Laughter] “How can you be doing nothing?  I’m not going to let you do nothing. I mean, this is—you know we’re busy people.” 


So, we might be hiking; we might be surfing the internet, looking at how much used trucks cost on craigslist; we might be gaming for a little while; we might be gardening—whatever—playing basketball; but consciously or subconsciously, what’s happening is—we’re figuring out what we think / what we feel. And by the time we come out of that space, we often have figured out what we’re going to do—we’ve made a decision—but to our wives, what does this feel like? 

Carol: What does this feel like, ladies?—[Audience response] rejection—doesn’t want to share—being shut out. Yes, not pleasant. So, we can often kind of go in two directions—there are a lot of directions—but two frequent ones are: “I need to know what’s going on because there is something bad. I need to know how bad. I need for him to talk to me about how bad this is because, if it’s really bad, we should know and we should really talk about this and work this out.” 

Jim: I’m being stalked. [Laughter] 


Carol: And the other is: “Oh, there is a problem. There’s a problem. I could help him if I just knew. I need him to tell me about this so I can help him; and if I help him, we can feel closer and that works.”  Either way, you are going into territory where—basically, God has created men that they need to recalibrate.

Now, the idea is that you go into the cave for a little while, and you come out—not that you take the remote and go into the cave for the winter. [Laughter]  You are supposed to come out with a sense of having sorted some things out and then be able to enter back into your marriage and your family— 

Jim: —fully-engaged.

Carol: —fully-engaged—should be able to talk about it. Now, if you are going into the cave, and you come out, and you really just want to turn around and go right back in—then, we’re talking about issues of stress or depression that you really need to be getting some help with pastoral counseling in your community / in your church—place where you can help work through some of this stuff because your depression, of course, affects you, and your marriage, and your kids.


There is a difference between rebalancing and where it is becoming like an emotional issue, but it’s important for women to know that guys just do this—they need some time away. Now, women, do we need time away from home—from relationships? 

Jim: Yes, mom’s night out; right? 

Carol: There we go!—all about it! But women—we tend to be more external processors. We’ll do things like make a call, or text somebody, or set it out: “I need to take a walk / take a cup of coffee to talk about this.” 

Jim: Well, it’s not that men can’t; but women tend to be better at sort of holistic thinking. The hemispheres of women’s brains are highly interconnected. It’s thought that it allows them to think all across the brain. So, something that’s emotional reminds you of something that’s spiritual, which reminds you your husband didn’t buy you flowers on your birthday, which reminds you of a birthday, which reminds you of a Bible study you read on humility—



—that you really need to open back up, which reminds you—you forgot to take the turkey out of the freezer, which reminds of your grocery lists, and it all goes back to your mother. It’s the internet superhighway—it never sleeps; right?  You’re just boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom.

Guys, the hemisphere of our brains are almost completely severed. No, we’re not stupid! [Laughter]  That’s just how God, in His wisdom, made us; and it tends to mean we can be very compartmental in our thinking. It also means our decision-making can seem pretty abrupt to our wives.

So, part of the art of communication in marriage is learning to round those corners a little bit more gently—of knowing I’m going to need some space—and maybe setting that up, a head of time, or having some rhythms in my life of getting away with some trusted friends or advisors on a regular basis.

Carol: So, for the husband to come home—and he needs that landing strip and he needs to go in his cave—that may not be the most convenient time—

Jim: Right.

Carol: —when your wife has had the kids all day.



So, there is a place where you communicate these normal, natural needs; but you talk to each other about them, serving one another in love.

Jim: So, we’re going to move on and do another theater piece. What if you find yourself in the middle of an argument?  I know you don’t argue, but you know people who do. [Laughter] And so, this is a great tool—simple tool—made famous by Gary Smalley, back in the ‘90s. This is called using an emotional word picture, and it works; but rather than telling you about it, we’ll just show you with this theater piece.

Carol: Now, so many of our issues in our marriage—really, we could see, if we look back in our dating days—we’d see the seeds of them—some of those patterns that grow over time. So, we’re going to look back into the dating years of Dan and Lauren’s relationship, when it comes to these issues of conflict.

Carol as Lauren: Well, I thought they were all great; but Jack was definitely best! I mean, considering this was like his senior recital—like, if an agent had been there, he would have just like picked him up in a snap! 


Does he just like go around your apartment, singing like that? 

Jim as Dan: Sometimes.

Carol as Lauren: What’s wrong?! 

Jim as Dan: Nothing.

Carol as Lauren: You’ve been like stiff all evening. Is something wrong? 

Jim as Dan: Well, it doesn’t matter, now; does it? 

Carol as Lauren: What do you mean, “It doesn’t matter now?”  Did I do something? 

Jim as Dan: Uh! 

Carol as Lauren: What did I do? 

Jim as Dan: It’s what you always do.

Carol as Lauren: What do you mean, “What I always do?” 

Jim as Dan: You’re always late! 

Carol as Lauren: I wasn’t late! 

Jim as Dan: I asked you to meet me at the recital hall at ten of. You showed up a quarter after.

Carol as Lauren: But that’s because Julie called just as I was going out the door.

Jim as Dan: You own a cell phone. You could have called her back! 

Carol as Lauren: Oh, yes, but you should have heard her voice. She was so upset. I just had to talk to her right then and there—turns out that Mac went out with Courtney Taylor last night! 

Jim as Dan: Oh, whatever.

Carol as Lauren: Dan! 

Jim as Dan: No! It’s always something. If it’s not your cell phone, it’s the weather, or your blow dryer, or your fuel injection, or some cosmic tragedy that has made you late. So, we get to be late to every movie, play, Bible study—


—or in this case, my housemate’s senior recital! 

Carol as Lauren: But we weren’t late. We came in just as he was starting his first song! 

Jim as Dan: That’s not the point. The point is we got tickets beside his parents, and we had to like walk across the front during his first song and like climb over other people’s legs to get to them.

Carol as Lauren: Alright! I will never be late again. Okay?!  From now on, I will be a half hour—no, I will be an hour early for whatever we do; alright

Jim as Dan: Fine! 

Carol as Lauren: Well, at least, when we have a date, I do remember to show up! 

Jim as Dan: Oh! 

Carol as Lauren: And when I show up, I don’t come wearing my soccer uniform! 

Jim as Dan: I can’t believe you’re going to bring that up again. Come on. What happened to all your blah, blah, blah talk about God helping you to forgive? 

Carol as Lauren: He did help me forgive. We just haven’t gotten around to—forget.

Jim as Dan: What about the time you showed up—I don’t want to do this. I’m not going down that road. Okay, maybe, I should just go home so I can cool off! 

Carol as Lauren: No, no, Dan! Please—you just—you know what I feel like? 


Do you remember that time your cat clawed up your leather jacket, and you chased her out the back door to where the fences come together in the back, and you’re yelling at her, “Bad cat!”—she’s hissing at you?  When you come at me like that, I feel like that cat! 

Jim as Dan: What?  [Laughter]

Carol as Lauren: Even though I know I’m in the wrong, I don’t want to say, “I’m sorry,” because I just feel like I’m backed up against the fence. If I don’t attack back, I’m just going to feel like such a loser.

Jim as Dan: But I don’t think you are a loser!  It’s just when I’m standing out there, waiting on you like that, I feel like I’m playing some kind of extra in your movie.

Carol as Lauren: What?! 

Jim as Dan: Yes, like it’s really important for me to be there—you know [Makes sound of horn]; but for you—everybody else is more important to focus on, and I can wait—I don’t matter. I’m just like this extra! 

Carol as Lauren: Wait, I make you feel like that when I am just ten minutes late! 

Jim as Dan: It’s that you’re consistently late for dates with me, but I know you are not late to class or to rehearsal.

Carol as Lauren: Of course, you are important to me.


And I need to change this. I do! 

Jim as Dan: Well, let’s go get a cup of coffee and talk about it.

Carol as Lauren: No, I am sorry. Can you forgive me? 

Jim as Dan: Yes, I’ll forgive you. I’ll forgive you if you buy me a biscotti at Starbucks®.

Carol as Lauren: You’re on.

Jim as Dan: You really did look like my cat there for a second. [Laughter and applause] 


Bob: We have been listening to Jim and Carol Shores from a recent event where they had an opportunity to kind of flesh-out for us how we can do a better job of listening to one another, understanding one another, forgiving one another, communicating with one another.

Dennis: And Bob, what they illustrate here is that you can get by with a lot if you have a lot of laughter. Jim and Carol lead an audience—to have a lot of fun, have some great entertainment, and just have a good time, as a couple.

Bob: Yes.

Dennis: “I Still Do” is a one-day event—it’s a Saturday event.



It starts about nine o’clock in the morning—goes until about five in the afternoon. It’s just a fast-paced, fun event where you’re going to be equipped to stand strong in your marriage and also, I think, give you some tools to be able to encourage others along the way, as well.

Bob: And let me tell you who else is going to be joining us for I Still Do”: Dr. Al Mohler will be speaking at all three of these events, along with David Nasser, Crawford and Karen Loritts, Dennis and Barbara Rainey, Shaunti Feldhahn, Ron Deal. Andrew Peterson is going to do our lunchtime concert for us. Jim and Carol Shores will be there. Ron McGehee and Kerri Pomarolli are going to be joining us—husband and wife, who do comedy together. I mean, it’s going to be a great day.

It’s August 2nd, in Chicago, at the Allstate Arena—Portland, Oregon, at the Moda Center on August 23rd



—then, on Saturday, October 4th, at the Verizon Arena in downtown Washington, DC. We’ll have people joining us for the national “I Still Do” simulcast that’s going on that day, where you can host an event in your community or in your church. All of the details about “I Still Do” are online at the “I Still Do” website: Tickets are on sale now. It’s reserved seating—so, the sooner you get your tickets, the better the seats are going to be.

And on the “I Still Do” website, we’re asking you to go ahead and scan in and post your wedding pictures—share with us your honeymoon horror story or your wedding day disaster story. Some of these are great to read. Then, check out the ultimate marriage playlist as we’re collecting songs that were your love song—maybe the first song you danced to at your wedding or the song that you fell in love listening to. Again, you’ll find it all at And of course, that’s where you can go to get information about tickets so you can join us in:



—Chicago, Portland, or Washington, DC, for one of the three live events or as part of the “I Still Do” worldwide simulcast. Again, go to for more information.

Now, tomorrow, we’re going to hear a message from Crawford and Karen Loritts. We’re going to continue the theme of the differences between men and women. We’re going to talk about how we can love and serve one another well in our differences. I hope you can tune in 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 will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.

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