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    I wrote this script to open a sermon by the pastor of Village Baptist Church in Portland, Oregon, in 2002. He was preaching on Ephesians 5:25-27, admonishing husbands to love their wives. Sketches are used as ice-breakers to get people thinking on-topic. I sent this script to Christians in Theatre Arts, a national organization, and was presented with the award for Best Comedy Sketch. 

    You have my permission to use this sketch in your marriage workshop or wherever it would be appropriate. You do not have permission to publish it as your own. I have the copyright.

    This is not standard script format. I learned that most people don't like to read a script that's formatted properly, and I figure most people are just going to read this, not act it all out.



Drill Sgt. – in military garb, carries a lifesize cutout of a “wife”

Private Underhill – in military garb with “flower” bouquet in holster

Private Smith – in military garb with “flower” bouquet in holster


All: (marching up aisle in classic military cadence, repeating after sergeant)

To avoid a life of strife (echo)

Gotta say I love my wife (echo)

She won't know if she's not told (echo)

If she don't know it she'll be cold (echo).


Sgt.: Sound off!


Underhill and Smith: One two!


Sgt.: Sound off!


Underhill and Smith: Three four!


Sgt.: Bring it on down!


Underhill and Smith: One two three four, one two, three four!


(they arrive at front)


Sgt: Company halt, about face, present flowers.  (Underhill and Smith pull flower bouquets out of holsters and hold them out stiffly)  At ease (they return flowers to holsters). All right, men, listen up. I got a tough assignment for you today.  This here (indicating the cutout) is your wife. You got that?


Underhill and Smith: Yes, sir!


Sgt: Let's start with something easy.  Smith, give me Term of Affection Number 5.


Smith: (to Sgt.) You're even more beautiful than the day I married you, sir!  (Underhill snickers, Smith glares at him)


Sgt: (dripping with sarcasm) Don't tell me, Smith, tell your wife. (he points to cutout, Smith looks sheepish) Let's try that again.  Term of Affection Number 9!


Smith: (to cutout) I'd marry you again in a minute, sir!  Uh, honey!


Sgt: Good. Now let's get to something a little harder.  Underhill, your wife just asked you if she's getting fat.  What are you going to say?


Underhill: (looking the cutout up and down) You look about the same to me.


Sgt: (sarcastic) "You look about the same to me."  (to himself) Why do I always get stuck with a platoon full of engineers? (to Underhill) How many times do I have to tell you, a wife doesn't want to know if she's gaining weight, she has a scale to tell her that. She wants to know what, Underhill?


Underhill: Whether you still love her, sir!


Sgt: So how are you going to answer that question?


Underhill: You look beautiful to me and I love you, sir! (both Smith and the Sgt. cringe)  I mean, (to cutout) you look beautiful to me and I love you, sweetheart.


Smith: (to Underhill) You see? It isn't that easy.


Sgt: Of course it's not easy!  If it was easy I wouldn't have to drill you guys in how to treat your wife like you love her.  Now I'm gonna kick this thing up a notch.  Let's say you got the big freeze going on at your house.  Your wife is mad and you don't know why.  What are you going to do, Smith?


Smith: (to cutout) Can we talk about whatever it is I did that made you mad?


Sgt: Not bad, Smith, but what if she says, "as if you don't know," and you don't know?


Smith: (thinks) Term of Affection Number 1?


Sgt: Good thinking!  And what is Term of Affection Number 1, Underhill?


Underhill:  (carefully facing the cutout, with shaking voice) Is there anything I can do to help you?


Sgt: I can't hear you!


Underhill: (shouting) Is there anything I can do to help you?


Sgt: Very good, that's a sticky situation but Term of Affection Number 1 is the most powerful in the arsenal.  Smith, give me ten compliments.


Smith: Um, you look great, this is delicious, I like your new hairstyle, you smell nice … (rolling eyes) Now wait a second, my wife doesn't want to hear all this lovey dovey stuff all the time, she's a very … well actually, come to think of it, she does want to hear this stuff …


Sgt: (sarcastic) That's right.  And you're going to give her what she wants why?


Smith: Because I love her?


Sgt: Right. You got homework tonight, boys.  Spend five minutes cuddling your wife and tell her you don't expect it to lead to anything.


Both: (groan)


Sgt: Dismissed! (Underhill and Smith exit) That one gets 'em every time. (exits)


Copyright 2002 Bonnie Ballou




Thoughts on a half century of omnivorous reading


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