After a long day of taking care of the kids or working at the office, the most tempting thing to do after the kids are tucked in is to turn on Netflix and binge-watch our favorite shows. My husband and I have done this for years. Maybe you’re not saying “TV is ruining my marriage,” but could TV be robbing your marriage of intimacy? While Netflix and chill might have a nice ring to it, in reality, it does more harm than good. In fact, my marriage saw growth after we stopped relying on the TV to unwind.
For one year, we committed to no TV. We still had the occasional family movie night and even enjoyed a movie or two on date nights. We were tempted many times to indulge in a late-night Netflix binge. But saying no to the temptation was worth the treasure we discovered over the year. Here are four benefits we discovered when we turned off Netflix and just chilled.
We found other activities we enjoy.
It always had seemed like watching TV was the only thing to do in the evening. Rather than putting on another rerun of our favorite show, we began exploring other activities we enjoy together. We learned more about the science of wine together and enjoyed journaling the different tasting notes. We also sought out ways to be creative and pursued new hobbies. My husband took up woodworking and I took up illustrating and writing. We cheered each other on and supported each other’s pursuits. Taking a year off from TV can give you and your spouse time to get creative and find new hobbies you enjoy together and apart.
We talked more.
Before our year of no TV, we left the TV on as background noise while we scrolled through Instagram. Rather than filling the silence with background noise, we have found that silence provides space for conversation. We also read more books in place of watching TV. This has enhanced our conversations as we share and discuss our thoughts about what we’ve read. Turning the TV off can create space for you and your spouse to have meaningful conversations.
Turning the TV off can create space for you and your spouse to have meaningful conversations.
We rested more.
We once thought we were finding rest in binge-watching all the episodes of the hottest show. What we discovered is that watching TV, while relaxing, did not provide real rest for our minds or hearts. In our year off, rather than looking for a distraction from the worries of life, we found time to process them in healthier ways. I also should note that we ended up going to bed earlier. Instead of feeling exhausted and emotionally drained at bedtime, we had the energy to give attention to one another before we turned out the lights. Turning the TV off can provide an opportunity to pursue real rest together.
We became more present to our own lives.
Until our year of no TV, we watched theatrical storylines of fictional characters. While entertaining, these storylines and settings had a way of influencing our expectations for what our lives should look like. Rather than being entertained with someone else’s script, we began living our own. We became aware of our own reality and intentionally began to change the way we build our life together. Turning the TV off can immerse you in your own reality and alter your expectations to be realistic.
If you’re thinking, “Help! TV is ruining my marriage,” maybe it’s time to ditch the monthly streaming subscriptions. While a whole year of no TV may sound daunting, I encourage you to try it for a week. Netflix and chill every night isn’t realistic or sustainable in a healthy marriage that values intimacy. I hope you and your spouse find the treasure of unplugging and engaging in life with one another.
What habits have you broken to increase intimacy with your spouse?