On December 23rd, Korean War veteran George Haverstick and nurse Isabel Crane - who George lovingly refers to as "Little Bit" - get married in a civil ceremony. They met when George was admitted to Belvedere General Hospital in St. Louis for a nervous shake, with Isabel being his night nurse. They got married immediately following his release, which occurred despite the doctors never discovering the reason for his affliction. They plan on honeymooning in Miami, and stopping in suburban High Point, Tennessee along the way to visit with who George considers his best friend, fellow Korean War vet Ralph Bates, and Ralph's wife of six years, Dorothea Bates. By the time they arrive on the Bates' doorstep on Christmas Eve, George and Isabel are hardly speaking to each other when they aren't yelling at each other as each had a preconceived notion of their role in the marriage incompatible with the other, and a romanticized view of how the other should behave. Ralph's marriage is currently in no better shape. Dottie has just left him, taking their infant son Junior with her. Although he never stated such to her, Ralph married insecure Dottie despite not loving her because her wealthy father, for who he worked, promised him the family business as an inheritance. Ralph and Dottie's current problem is primarily because Ralph could no longer stand her parent's pretentious and overbearing ways, both professionally and personally. Although Ralph, George and Isabel seem blind to the source of and solution to their own marital problems, each seems to have a clearer view of what ails the other couple and how best to fix their marriage.