Studies show that simple things, such as sharing a TV show with your spouse,
improves your marriage.
By Jackie Bowles
Recently, I had the privilege of participating in a graduation ceremony and accepting my very own diploma. This proved the end of a challenging time for my family and I, having to manage as a wife, mother of 4 children, and community involvement while also keeping up on my studies. Throughout the last few years, I often found myself up late sharing more time with the computer than I did with my husband, trying to finish up school assignments. During this juggling act, I frequently struggled to feel connected to those I love.
With school finished, getting the kids to bed has become more routine, allowing my husband and I to enjoy quiet time in the evening. Surprisingly, we have discovered a television show that both of us enjoy watching. This has actually been fun to do together providing something to talk about as we workout upcoming episode plots together. Apparently, this is becoming a trend and I can see why.
The Deseret News recently reported that 66% of couples say watching TV together has strengthened their relationship, 30% of couples have canceled other obligations so that they are able to watch their show, and 55% of parents put their children to bed earlier so that they can watch their show together.
(Johnson, C. (2016, July 24). In new study, first comes love, then comes-TV? Deseret News, p. 3. )
“When two individuals watch television, they are joining in a shared perception and are essentially validating one another’s experiences by joining in the storyline. Television is a medium that can connect people without even realizing it,” says Lisa Bahar a cinema therapist (Johnson, 3).
This holds true for the show my husband and I share. The storyline has its twists, turns and intensity to where sometimes we just have to watch a second episode.
While sharing shows with a spouse is fun and therapeutic after a long day, spouses still need to find other ways of connecting as stated by Chandra Johnson of the Deseret News when she wrote, “While there’s nothing wrong with spending time together watching TV, it’s no replacement for other forms of bonding as well. Couples need variety to establish compatibility…TV is wonderful, but get out of the house and have an interaction that’s not mediated by a screen” (Johnson, 3).
There are many ways of staying connected and keeping your love alive. You must maintain a friendship with your spouse. Treat them kindly and respectfully. Find ways to have meaningful conversations every day without the distractions of children or television. Set aside time for intimacy, even if that means scheduling it into your week. It’s true that couples won’t always get along, but learning to deal with differences appropriately is critical. Past differences of opinion shouldn’t be brought up, and a current argument shouldn’t last longer than 10 minutes, otherwise, couples find themselves going in circles with tensions rising.
Find something that you enjoy together, even if it means taking a class or learning something new together. Staying connected also means being an active listener. Often, spouses are only half listening because they are planning their rebuttal. Find a way to incorporate daily rituals into your marriage, such as good morning kisses, hugs, little notes around the house, helping make dinner, etc.
A marriage like anything needs nourishment, otherwise it begins to wither and die. Marilyn and Chuck relate a marriage to the watering of a flower. “To have flowers thrive and bloom they need continual water and fertilizer or nourishment. If you don’t give your relationship enough water, it will wither; if you don’t give it any water at all, it will die. But, like the plant that has been without water while you were away, a little attention when you return home will bring it springing back to life. In the same fashion, when you have developed a habit of nurturing your relationship, it becomes much simpler to reconnect with your partner after being apart.”
My own marriage has blossomed as I have reconnected with my husband. We now enjoy many activities together like exercising, gardening, house projects and of course recently added to the list, watching “our” TV show. Find something in your marriage that you enjoy together. The possibilities are endless. Keep your love alive!