How to Avoid Letting Television Control Your Marriage

Is TV viewing taking over your time with your spouse, creating more distance or at least distracting you from your spouse? Then click the link to find 3 ways to combat this problem! #marriage #Bible #verses #division #divided #priority #communication #television #addiction #connection #disconnection #tips

With the quarantines and social restrictions enacted due to the pandemic, television viewing in many families has been on the rise.

Is TV viewing taking over your time with your spouse, creating more distance or at least distracting you from your spouse? Then click the link to find 3 ways to combat this problem! #marriage #Bible #verses #division #divided #priority #communication #television #addiction #connection #disconnection #tips

According to research done by Comcast¹, Americans are viewing television 8 more hours per week than before the quarantines.

That makes sense for safety’s sake but doesn’t make our marriages any safer. Far from it!

[bctt tweet=”Find out what makes sense for safety’s sake but isn’t making your marriage any safer! #marriage #connecting #safety” username=”BethSteffaniak”]

Researchers have also discovered that television viewing contributes to unrealistic expectations in marriage. We want the idealized marriages portrayed in many of the oldie-but-goodie shows of the past.

Conversely, in order to keep us on the edge of our seats, many modern shows depict marriages in crisis mode. This can stir up conflict in our own marriages over the issues we identify with, being tempted to follow the lead of the characters.

Adding to that, television viewing can create a false sense of connection with those we are watching, leaving us with a desire to pay more attention to them than to our spouses.

“As TV excites our brain with stress, it warms it with something close to love. Because we like and empathize with characters in shows, our brain is swimming in oxytocin, a hormone associated with affection, bonding, and passion.”²

Even if television viewing is not a problem for you or your spouse, the problem is … it can easily grow to be! Especially if there’s a sense of disconnection and tension in your marriage already.

Your television can provide a wanted escape from your spouse, only intensifying the divide in marriage!

Let’s just agree. Our television viewing plays a huge role in shaping our attitudes and practices in life and marriage!

3 Ways to Guard Against Television Negatively Impacting Your Marriage

1.  Discuss how your television viewing might be negatively impacting each of you.

I know that what I’m suggesting will take great courage and grace to discuss. But, if you are a Christ-follower, remember that you are called to guard your heart and, by extension, your marriage.

We are called to throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles in life (Hebrews 12:1).

Hover over that Hebrews reference above and you’ll see that not only are we watching others on TV, but the Bible says we are being watched by a “great cloud of witnesses” as well. God, along with saints and angelic beings are cheering us on in the fight to do what’s right—to do what Christ would do! 

Let’s give them a good show!

  • You and your spouse, share with each other what sins your television watching might be tempting you, personally, to commit.
  • What damage might your viewing be causing your marriage and family?

[bctt tweet=”Let’s give the great cloud of witnesses a good show to watch whenever we sit to watch television as couples and families. Hebrews 12:1 #television #heaven #Christlike” username=”BethSteffaniak”]

2. Determine certain boundaries for what to watch with your spouse.

Even if your spouse does not see eye-to-eye on these issues with you, discuss your preferences and convictions with each other anyway. Very often, we don’t even process out what we individually want and need in this regard.

Communicating about them can help us make better choices, instead of operating in the same ol’, same ol’ patterns.

Most of all, if you are a Christ-follower, you’ll want to consider what kinds of content Christ would want you to view or not view.

Consider how the influence of others impacted King Solomon’s heart …

As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been.  1 Kings 11:4

Trust me! What you watch on television can have just as much influence over you—drawing you away from God and each other—as your spouse.

One word of warning on discussing these issues. Don’t let this discussion grow contentious! If it does, agree to step away and calm down before discussing it again. Also, praying before you discuss these issues—either on your own or with your spouse—can keep the focus on God’s love all throughout.

[bctt tweet=”Find out how television might be making your marriage weaker and more disconnected. Then learn 3 tips for combating this negative outcome. #marriage #Tips #BePositive” username=”BethSteffaniak”]

3. Consider setting time limits on your television viewing.

This, of course, means taking inventory of how much you’re currently watching television first. List the shows you watch each day and tabulate how much time it takes to watch them.

Then discuss with your spouse the following questions …

  • Do you ever feel like the amount of television viewing we do on any given day is taking away from our relationship? If so, how would you want that to be different?
  • What are some other options for finding relaxation and enjoyment together instead of watching TV? (Brainstorm here, allowing every idea to be a good one! Write them down, so you won’t forget to implement them!)
  • What are some important activities we could be doing together that would deepen our bond as a couple? For more connection time ideas, click here.

Whatever you and your spouse decide, keep this Scripture in mind …

“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise . . .”  Ephesians 5:15

This could also read more like, be very careful how much you watch TV, not watching unwisely and addictively but wisely and considerately. The

I’ll be continuing the Out of Balance series next week, talking about how to bring into balance our focus on our families. What?! Isn’t family supposed to be our primary focus? Come by to find out what the Bible has to say! 

Interested in a Bible study that will take you on an inspiring journey through the story of the birth of Christ? Then have I got the book for you!

My Bible study, Messiah in a Manger, is on sale now and for a limited time leading up to the season of Advent. Click this link for the paperback that’s on sale for just $3.99 and click this link for the Kindle version that’s on sale for .99 cents

Then come and join me, going through this study in a closed Facebook group. You’ll be able to interact virtually with me and the other participants, view my Facebook live videos that will discuss a summary of the notes and comments for the week, and will be given many other resources like FREE printables, templates and tools.

The study will kick off the week of December 6, 2020 and will go for two weeks. You don’t have to buy the book to particpate, but going through the study with others is the perfect way to prepare your heart for Christmas! Click here to request to join and reserve your spot now! For more info on the Facebook Bible Study, click here.

If you’d like to hear what participating in this Bible study can do for you this Christmas season, I hope you’ll stop by Bev Rihtarchik’s blog to read my guest post there. Click here to head there! 

Are you interested in a Bible study the examines the inspiring story of Christ's birth? It's sure to make this Advent season more inspiring and impactful than ever! #Bible #study #Biblestudy #Messiah #Scripture #Worthy #inspiration #inspirational #verses #truths #Christmas

¹ Coronavirus Television Habits: How Viewership has Changed in Quarantine

² How Streaming Too Much Television Can Sabotage Your Relationship


 

What’s a tip you use for keeping television viewing in proper balance? 

 

What’s a wholesome show you and your spouse enjoy watching together?

 


Here are some lovely linkups I join – Inspire Me MondayPurposeful Faith, Tell His StoryInstaEncouragements LinkupRecharge WednesdayWorth Beyond Rubies WednesdayTune in ThursdayHeart EncouragementGrace and Truth, and  Faith on Fire Friday.

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22 responses to “How to Avoid Letting Television Control Your Marriage”

  1. We don’t watch much TV together, but with quarantine, we have started listening to old radio dramas. Those can be fun. One show we like to watch is Escape to the Country, which is about couples looking at property to buy in the countryside of England.

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    1. Where do you find those radio dramas, Theresa? And I’ll have to see if I can find the show you mentioned about the countryside of England. I love anything to do with the UK. Many of the shows my husband and I watch are set in England. My only problem sometimes is understanding them, especially if they have a Scottish accent. 😉 Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. Beth,
    While reading this, I felt guilt creep up. It’s been so easy to take the path of least resistance and just turn on the tv. We are trying to limit our time by doing other things like reading or going out and making s’mores by the firepit. One tv show we’ve been wathing is reruns of “Everybody Loves Raymond.” It is providing some comedic relief in our otherwise tense and stressful world. Great post, as always!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

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    1. My husband and I find TV to be relaxing and a good activity we can do together too, Bev. It’s just that sometimes all of us can let it get out of balance. I probably should have added a disclaimer here! Lol! It’s all about BALANCE! 😉

      Yes! I love Everybody Loves Raymond. It’s kind of reflective of a lot of family situations in my life! Lol! Thanks for your encouragement, my friend! So happy to be featured over at your place this week!

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  3. There is such wisdom here in this post (and in your blog). My husband and I don’t have a television in our bedroom for this very reason. Without the television distracting us, we are able to have more deep conversations and time for intimacy. Thank you for always speaking truth.

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    1. Thank you, Natalie! That’s a great boundary to have. And one that I’m so glad you mentioned! It certainly can take away from those meaningful moments of connection with our spouses. Thank you for stopping by and joining the conversation, my friend!

      Like

  4. Television sparks and glows,
    hypnotic centre of the home,
    familiar arms to hold you close,
    the panacea of the known
    that offers faux reality
    with no participation
    to make of life banality,
    a dull incarceration
    that clips our broad God-given wings
    and cages our free souls;
    we mould our lives to smaller things,
    the close and safer goals
    of being home, just in time,
    for the start of “What’s My Line”.

    Like

    1. As usual, your wit and wisdom are unfurled here, on the fly, I might add! You amaze me, Andrew! And yes, it can be something that cages our souls and marriages. What a beautiful way to say it! Thank you for stopping by, my friend!

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  5. Great post, tackling an often overlooked but important issue in these days of 24/7 TV! Good to switch off and talk ☺

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    1. Thanks for saying, Hazel! I feel like it’s a post that’s long overdue here at MM. And yes! It is so important to switch it off and focus on our spouses. If we gave our spouses as much time as we do the TV, we’d probably drastically reduce the divorce rate around the world!

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  6. Thank you for this advice, Beth! I don’t watch much TV myself, but it is always wise to be on guard. And I think this same advice can be applied to cell phone usage which many of us do struggle with. I ‘m grateful for your perspective and speaking out about this topic!

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    1. Yes, I actually wrote on the cell phone and how it can dominate our lives last week, Tabatha! Funny you should mention! I’m glad you are already watching how much you watch TV. Thanks for your encouragement and for joining the conversation, my friend!

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  7. Interesting to read as we just paid for a TV license which is what we need to be able to watch the telly here. It was something that we talked about and decided that this was the season to do that. In our 17 plus years of marriage this is the first time we have done it.

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    1. Yes, I’d say that with all the quarantines, now is the time to watch TV in moderation, anyway. That’s really what I wanted to say. That we need to balance how much we watch–not necessarily ban it altogether. I hope it brings you and your husband closer together, Beth. And I can tell you’re not from my neck of the woods. I hope you enjoy your time in front of the “telly!” Thanks for stopping by and joining the conversation, my friend!

      Like

  8. Beth, this is such a good post. And this here: ” consider what kinds of content Christ would want you to view or not view” applies to television and other things in our lives, doesn’t it? This will probably sound radical, but my husband and I don’t watch television, except for the occasional sporting event. I know, crazy, right? However, it’s still important for the two of us to be aware of what other forms of media we’re ingesting (YouTube, movies) and make sure that what we’re watching will be something we’re not ashamed to admit to Jesus, or to have the sense of Him sitting there with us, if that makes sense.

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    1. Thank you, Jeanne! It’s so easy as Christ-followers to separate out parts of lives from Christ, not considering what He would say and do.

      I think that’s great–that you and your husband already keep this practice to a minimum. I don’t think watching TV is a bad thing, just that it can be a dangerous thing when we watch it blindly and without any boundaries. Thanks for adding to the conversation, my friend! Good to see you here again!

      Like

  9. I’m not surprised people are watching more TV these days. Between Covid and so many new show on streaming services, it can be tempting to binge watch. I love how well you unpacked this topic that does impact us more than we realize!

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    1. Me either, Ginger! It’s something my husband and I are doing more together in lieu of going to the theater or out to eat. It can have a very healthy and bonding impact on marriage, when done in moderation and with “togetherness” as the goal. But so often we let this practice overtake times of conversation and other things (wink, wink) that we should be doing! Thanks for your kind words! Means a lot!

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  10. Dear Beth – congrats on your book! Certainly for such a time as this. You have been gifted in so many ways … the number of lives impacted by your ministry are more than you’ll ever know …

    ‘Til heaven.

    Meanwhile, yes, the TV has become the focal point more nights than not. For lots of reasons. I’m keeping this post in mind as we move into the winter months and the evenings are long.

    Thanks.

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  11. Another great way to evaulate an important area of our marriage, Beth. I’m not a big television person. But, I can get pulled into a good Hallmark movie, especially on an emotional level. I have to guard my heart in this area to not compare romantic areas in our marriage with non-reality films.

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  12. […] This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Messy Marriage […]

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