• Thrive Inc.

What the Broadway Play Sylvia Can Teach You about Your Relationship

Have you ever found yourself being invested in a new goal or dream while your partner doesn’t share the same sense of enthusiasm? Or have you ever found yourself feeling left behind as your partner begins to change the narrative and direction of the relationship? How do you cope when this happens? That’s what we’re discussing in today’s episode.

As you might know from one of our previous episodes, CrisMarie is currently appearing in a play called Sylvia. The play is rich in relationship dynamics, and there’s a lot we can learn from it, namely what to do when one person in the relationship wants something very different from the other. We’ve learned from the play that, often, when we think there is a problem in our relationship, it’s actually a problem within ourselves, and we’re showing you how to deal with that prospect.

Join us on the podcast this week as we discuss what we’ve learned from the play Sylvia and show you how to apply it to your relationships. We share personal experiences of how we’ve navigated issues within our own relationship and explain why sometimes, being able to sit with each other wherever we’re at is more important than trying to solve the issue we're facing at the time.

If you want to make a difference for either yourself and your career, or your team and your organization, be sure to reach out to us and sign up for coaching! We can come and do a book club or simply visit with your team! Don’t worry about physical limitations – we work really well virtually, too!

If you enjoyed the show, please share the podcast with your family and friends, or post a five-star review on iTunes. Rating and reviewing the show helps spread the word, which means less friction and suffering for everyone, and who doesn’t want that?

Listen on Apple Podcast | Stitcher | Spotify

Learn More:

  • The importance of communication in a relationship.

  • Why there is a need for individuals in relationships to be in touch with their authentic nature.

  • What the 555 technique is and why it’s important.

  • Why it’s never a good idea to tell your partner something negative about their character.

  • The two things we have the hardest time handling in a relationship.

  • Why you should be curious within your relationship.

  • How relationship patterns are built over time.


Full Transcript:

CrisMarie: Welcome to The Beauty of Conflict, a podcast about how to deal with conflict at work, at home and everywhere else in your life. I am CrisMarie.

Susan: And I'm Susan.

CrisMarie: We run a company called Thrive Inc, and we specialize in conflict resolution, stress management coaching and building strong, thriving teams and relationships.

Susan: Now, we know, no one likes conflict, not even us and we’ve written two books on the topic. In our work over the last 20 plus years we’ve found most people avoid, manage or diffuse conflict. The problem is when you opt out of conflict in these ways you miss the creativity, the connection and the possibility that lies in conflict.

CrisMarie: We also know 2020 has been, well, let’s face it, a stressful year. And what Susan and I realized is all the tools that we’ve developed and utilized around conflict apply directly to uncertainty, which is what we’re living in now.

Susan: In this podcast we have tools; concept and interviews that will help you cope with the stress and uncertainty of conflict, of Covid, of social justice issues and, yes, even politics. We hope you’ll walk away from this episode with some fresh ideas that change your day, your week and even your life.

Susan: Hi. This is Susan. And I am kicking off today’s podcast, the Beauty of Conflict with CrisMarie here.

CrisMarie: I am here.

Susan: However, she’s sort of playing dual roles today because CrisMarie happens to be in a play called Sylvia here at the Whitefish Theater Community Company. And she just did the preview last night and just so you know, they’re doing it by all – everything’s Covid friendly, we’re wearing mask. We’re distant. It’s even being live streamed so at the end of this you will have an opportunity to potentially see CrisMarie perform.

But why we really wanted to do this on our podcast is because this play really is all about relationships, and all about – and can teach you maybe as much as our book, although I don’t know. And it is a lot of fun to – so the play is fun, so is our book I think. But aside from that there is a lot to learn about relationships in this. And we find in our work that this – what comes up in this movie is a pretty common…

CrisMarie: A play.

Susan: A play – is a pretty common theme. There’s times and transitions in a relationship where one person in the relationship wants something very different than the other. Or one person finds themselves in apathy around their career or around some aspect of their life. And maybe the other is just taking off. So we will tell you more about the play. And I’ve been told that it’s important that – we may actually give away some of the play but not all of it. It’s still worth watching.

CrisMarie: It’s fun.

Susan: And it’s fun. And just so you know, Sylvia is a dog and Sylvia is actually played by an amazing actress.

CrisMarie: Amy Galt.

Susan: Who plays the dog and she does a phenomenal job of.

CrisMarie: She does.

Susan: I mean I felt like I had our dog Rosie right there on the stage at various points in time.

CrisMarie: So if you’re a dog lover you’re going to love the play.

Susan: Yes, and if you’re a cat lover maybe not so much.

CrisMarie: Or even if you just like plays or stories about relationship dynamics, it’s funny and fun.

Susan: And even if you really don’t even care about that, it’s funny and fun. But we wanted to talk about it because we do think it’s so rich in relationship dynamics. Plus I also know CrisMarie’s fresh off of the preview opening night and she is just dying to talk even more about this play. So I want to have her talk about her role as Kate the wife, because it is a quite ritual that she played.

CrisMarie: Yes.

Susan: But first just as a frame to listen to this, those of you that have read our book and know the work we do…

CrisMarie: And our book is the Beauty of Conflict for Couples. We’re talking about the couples book.

Susan: Yes. And we based that on a relationship model that has to do with that any time you’re in a relationship, you come into that with that romance, like I just love this person, they’re magic. Like when I met, I think we’ve talked about this before when I met CrisMarie. She was an Olympic athlete, it was going to be wonderful because we were going to have all these great – and I didn’t really talk to her about any of that. But not really happened, no.

CrisMarie: No.

Susan: And usually, I mean she had romances too around I was going to be really committed to the same degree of work and look good.

CrisMarie: A New York Times Bestselling author.

Susan: Yes. And you notice though, we do have – I mean we live in Montana, an amazing state for being outdoors, beautiful.

CrisMarie: Are you going to make me wrong that, being an author.

Susan: No, I was going to say, no, I was going to say, and we’ve written two books. Now, it’s not the New York – you can see the roots of our romance, our coming through in our relationship. And one of the things that drew us together was we enjoyed our work and what we did together as partners.

CrisMarie: What we do together.

Susan: What we do together as partners. And at some point in time CrisMarie realized a point of dissatisfaction in our relationship. I think at that point you actually thought it might be over.

CrisMarie: I did.

Susan: It wasn’t until there was some exploration of that for you that you realized, no, there were just other things that you really needed to be doing, like acting.

CrisMarie: Which is true.

Susan: How we got here.

CrisMarie: That’s amazing. We didn’t plan this.

Susan: No. But at that point you decided this is something I want to go after. And it was hard, it is hard, when she’s in a play, she’s in a play. And especially during Covid when she’s in a play she has to be in her own little bubble. So yes, I do see her and I’m part of her bubble, but it’s like it’s all about the bubble and the play. And now that it’s happening real time it’s long evenings, it’s a huge commitment.

CrisMarie: I get home about midnight.

Susan: So this is why it’s also coming into our Beauty of Conflict podcast, so work can continue.

CrisMarie: And even the strain it puts on our relationship because I’m your person and especially with Covid there’s not a lot of other things you can go do while I’m dedicated to this play for six hours a night.

Susan: Yes, it’s very true, and then the expectation that I come to every viewing of the play.

CrisMarie: Of course.

Susan: And of course I do have – there is some benefits to Covid because there’s good reasons why I might not be there every single night, sometimes in plays, the expectation. But it actually is such a fun play, I might – who knows how many times I’ll see it? But in the meantime let’s go back to what we wanted to frame up. Because what is so wonderful and I think we can each adjust this too. In couples that we’ve been working with and in our coaching practice, and also even we both realized that these themes in this play are so applicable.

CrisMarie: But why I don’t say a little about the play, can I do that?

Susan: But let me talk to you about it since you’re in…

CrisMarie: Okay, you can interview me.

Susan: I’m going to interview.

CrisMarie: I’m going to let go of control.

Susan: Yes. There’s a lead line to that, because this is…

CrisMarie: I am very much like my character let’s just say.

Susan: So let me start off by saying there are basically four key actors in this, even though one of the actors happens to be playing a variety of different parts. CrisMarie is the wife in this particular…

CrisMarie: Kate.

Susan: Kate in this particular relationship. And her husband Greg, who’s probably still your husband, and there’s Sylvia the dog. And CrisMarie, yes, it sounds like you’re having something you want to say.

CrisMarie: Well, I just want to frame up the state of the relationship because Kate and Greg have been married for 22 years.

Susan: 22 years.

CrisMarie: Yeah. And the kids have gone off to college and Greg is – they’re in New York City, Greg’s kind of tired of his money managing job. And Kate though has now started her teaching job. She’s got a master’s degree and is excited about teaching Shakespeare to the inner city Harlem kids to help them use that in their raps and their rhymes. And Greg – you can take it from here.

Susan: Okay. And Greg in sort of this place of what we would refer to in terms of relationships, a little bit of apathy in his career. And has – maybe not very inspired, and is finding himself often not at work as planned.

CrisMarie: It’s true.

Susan: And he gets introduced to Sylvia. Now, if any of you…

CrisMarie: The dog.

Susan: The dog, who is really in a lot of ways throughout this movie I think the…

CrisMarie: Play.

Susan: The play, [inaudible]. It’s okay, if I keep using the wrong word, she’s either going to correct me, and hopefully you’ll just hear it as play, whatever.

CrisMarie: Well, I guess if it’s streaming it may feel like a movie.

Susan: There you go.

CrisMarie: Okay, I’ll let you go.

Susan: Okay, thank you for giving me a little.

CrisMarie: It’s so funny because Kate doesn’t like outdoor stuff, me too.