(Scene 1: Roberta and Steve are experiencing marital strife, Roberta has reached the limits of patience with Steve. She has been quick to forgive him until recently. Steve suggests that they seek marriage counseling to talk to someone and get their marriage back on track. The scene opens with Steve and Roberta seated in a waiting room next to each other they are seated CS and are not speaking to each other. Steve tries to take the initiative and open the lines of communication.)
Steve: It's a nice day outside. (Roberta gives him a look and says nothing. She picks up a magazine and begins to read). Why yes Steve it is a nice day outside.
Roberta (rather sarcastic): Excuse me, did you say something?
Steve: Look I am just trying to hold a conversation, what happened to us Bertie? I really wish you would speak to me.
(Roberta turns her back to him, realizing that she is not responding he turns his chair so that they are facing each other).
Steve: I am sorry I lied to you Bertie (remorseful) I have been a bad husband but I am willing to change. Don't think I felt good about lying. I am trying to change. Please, Bertie I know we can work this out.
Roberta: You seem so sure! I can't take it anymore. I have had it! I need to be happy.
Steve: It is not all my fault you know. You are partially responsible.
Roberta: You know for once you're right I am responsible for marrying you in the first place.
Steve: (Insulted and tearful): I am not perfect Bertie, I know what I have done is wrong, and I wish I could make it up to you.
Roberta: I don't want to hear that anymore Steve. I am tired of excuses.
Steve:(embaraased)I will make it up to you, I need to try. I have been thinking of the parable about forgiveness, you know the one I mean? It's the one about the aldulterous woman where Jesus tells the Pharisees "Let he who has never sinned cast the first stone."
Roberta:(Rather annoyed) You know what Steve? Don't prosthelytize to me. As far as I am concerned don't talk the talk if you can't walk the walk.
Steve: I know I haven't acted in a godly way--(he is interuppted in mid sentence by a woman who is wearing wire rimmed glasses and carrying a file folder, she has curly brown hair which is pulled back in a bun).
Counselor: Hi, Mr. and Mrs. Love I am Karen. Why don't you step into the office and have a seat. I will be right with you. I just need to take care of some paperwork. (She exits SL).
Steve: She seems nice.
Roberta: hmmph! Everybody seems nice until they get to know you.
(Karen returns with a notepad and pen and Sits SR opposite Steve and Roberta).
Karen: Now we are good to go. So what seems to be the problem? I want you to know that everything we discuss stays between us. Now, let's get started. What brings you here?
Roberta: I don't know why I came here. I think it's a last-ditch effort to save our marriage.
Karen: That is a problem because....
Roberta (fills in her sentence): He has been lying to me since the day we got married.
Karen: I see. So you seem to be harboring a lot of resentment toward your husband. Is it because he is a bad person or because he is dishonest?
Roberta (Rather surprised by the question): No, I don't think he is a bad person. He has a good heart, but he has such low self esteem. He has been that way all of his life. I try and talk to him about it, but he only tells me bits and pieces. That's when we actually talk which is very seldom anymore. We are rarely in the same room anymore.
Karen: Really? Why is that?
Roberta: I don't know if Steve truly wanted to get married. He says he did but his actions prove otherwise.
Karen (turns to Steve): You have been awfully quiet. What are you feeling right now?
Steve(remorseful) I don't pretend to feel bad for what I the way I have been acting. I am sorry that I have been dishonest to her, but I feel like I am this horrible person, I don't deserve to be happy.
Steve: Because I don't know how to forgive myself for being abused when I was a child. I hated myself for not being able to stop it. I grew up with parents who did not understand what abuse was. I am also adopted and I experienced anger toward my family for giving me away. It was because of them that I got abused. I have been betrayed by people I was supposed to trust. I end up sabotaging anything positive because I feel that I don't deserve to be happy.
Karen: Part of forgiveness is being able to let go of past hurts. You are not that person anymore Steve, and you do deserve to be happy.
Steve: I got married when I was 24 to a woman who I had been with for eight years but the day I went into the hospital she decided not to show up. My parents were there, but I couldn't explain what I was feeling. I had this cold, empty, feeling. Wait...Someone else was there also...
Steve: God, for the first time in my life I wasn't betrayed.
Karen: So God was there, expressing his love for you and you still have doubts that you are a good person?
Steve: I got laid off from a job that I loved, and that was only the first thing, My wife Janet explained to my mother that she could not be bothered with caring for me when I got home. More betrayal.
Karen: Wow I am beginning to see why you have a hard time being honest with people. Faith is the thing that has never betrayed you.
Steve: I lie because it became my way of masking the hurt I have experienced throughout my life. There is one more thing...
Karen: What is it?
Steve: I hate myself for lying. I have Parkinson's disease, and I originally had a lot of anger and resentment toward God as well. So I turned away from the one thing that I needed more than anything.
Karen: You felt betrayed by God. Wow.
Steve: I try and lead a godly life, but it is so hard.
Karen: What are you thinking about Roberta?
Roberta (who has been listening): I don't know Steve. I want him to tell me what he is feeling, maybe I haven't been willing to listen. I remember the story about forgiveness. Jesus said we must forgive someone who has sinned against us 70x7.
Karen: He paid quite a price for sin huh? (Turns to Steve) Forgiveness means acknowledging the pain we have caused to yourself and to others, to own the behavior. Next we must be able to let the hurt go in order to move on. If we are true to ourselves then we can be true to others. Steve I think that you want to change but you don't know how to, I would suggest spending time in prayer talking to God about this and asking for guidance. I would like to continue working with the two of you to see how things are going.
(The intercom buzzes) Excuse me. (Answers intercom) I'll buzz you in Keith. (Turns to Steve and Roberta): Keep me updated you two. We'll talk again soon.